2021 Preview: Charlottesville

Organizational Details

  • Last VBL Title: The most recent one- 2019- and two of the last three
  • President: Mike Paduano
  • Recruiting Coordinator: Jeff Burton
  • Head Coach: Kory Koehler: Koehler is yet another coach who was hired to coach in 2020, but has had to wait a year. An assistant at San Jacinto, he is in his 22nd year with the program. (I connected with both Burton and Koehler for this preview.)
  • Key Alumni: Michael Wielansky (league MVP in 2017), Kyle Nicolas (2018), Vinnie Pasquantino (2017)

2019 Season Recap

CharlottesvilleCharlottesville finished the 2019 season in second place in the South at 25-17, six games behind the Waynesboro Generals. In the first round of the playoffs, Charlottesville won a deciding game three against Covington, 10-5. After a rather stunning 3-1 game one defeat to Staunton in the semi-finals, the club settled down and won the next two games by a combined score of 19-9. Back in the finals for the third year in a row, Charlottesville swept Strasburg, 11-8 and 4-1. And then the skies opened with a thunderstorm of biblical proportions. The team MVP was East Carolina’s Thomas Francisco, Cy Young was Elon’s Joseph Sprake, and team “Glue Guy” was Liberty’s Trey McDyre.

Returners

Key Hitters

These players have pretty huge upside: (Stats are through Saturday, May 15)

Key Pitchers

  • Houston Harding (Mississippi State)- 5-2, 3.03, 45 K’s in 38 2/3 innings pitched
  • Blake Money (LSU)- 94-97, averaging one strikeout per inning
  • Will Hellmers (LSU)- 6-1, 3.34 in 35 innings, with 31 K’s in 35 innings
  • Trace Bright (Auburn)- 94-97 mph, has appeared in 17 games this spring
  • Thomas Burbank (San Jacinto)- Potentially the JUCO pitcher of the year, as he’s 12-0, 1.35, with 74 K’s in 66 2/3 innings
  • Alex Ayala (Florida Southwestern)- 93-95 mph from the left side, is 8-3, 3.53, with 84 strikeouts 63 2/3 innings pitched
  • McMillan will likely close- He has eight saves and 45 K’s in 30 innings

Other Notes

  • Jonathan Jones (San Jacinto) has been drafted twice already- the last time in the 31st round in 2019.
  • The team has two local players coming- Andrew Ward (VCU), from Troy, VA, and Garrett Payne (NC State), from Charlottesville, who went to high school at Miller School.
  • C-Ville has seven of the top 20 players from Virginia in the class of 2020 according to Perfect Game, led by #2 Trey Carter (Liberty) and #3 Eddie Eisert (NC State)
  • Country-wide, the team has 11 players from the top 499 of the class of 2020, including Money (114), Carter (122), Wyatt Langford (Florida, 144), Eisert (153), Garrett Spikes (Georgia, 155), and Cole Foster (Auburn, 169).
  • Koehler said of his bunch, “We have a lot of depth with kids from big programs… we’ll be really strong on the mound… the team has been put together very well.”

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