- Last VBL title- None in Charles Town or Purcellville; the franchise last won in Luray in 2010
- President of Baseball Operations (includes General Manager and Recruiter)- Ridge Fuller (who gave the info for this preview)
- Head Coach- Brett Fuller
- Key alumni in pro baseball- Sheldon Reed (2017) is blowing batters away at Low-A Myrtle Beach (Chicago Cubs system), and Luke Berryhill (2018) is at Houston’s Double-A Corpus Christi. His bat has a chance to carry him to the major leagues.
2021 Season Recap
The ‘21 Cannons went 12-29, 7.5 games behind fourth place New Market, and 14 games behind North-winning Strasburg. The team had two outstanding pitchers last summer: Joe Vogatsky (JMU) and Matt Poston (Florence-Darlington, UNC commit). Vogatsky was one of the best starters in the league, and Poston was up to 97 mph in Purcellville (and finished his summer winning a title with Strasburg).
Purcellville’s 13 possible returners is astonishing; this is the most I’ve ever seen.
- Luke Stone, Motlow State (2021)
- Matt Poston (2021)
- Carson Bell, JMU (Front Royal 2019)
- Mikey Brinton, Western Oklahoma State (2021)
- Will Portera, Alabama (2021)
- Jordan Crawford, South Carolina Beaufort (New Market 2021)
- Brady Drawbaugh, Mt. St. Mary’s (2021)
- Wyatt Miles, Frederick CC (2021)
- Brook Byers, Wallace (2021)
- Dane Black, Nova Southeastern (2021)
- Brendan Roney, VCU (New Market 2021)
- Jose Aquino, Southeastern (2019)
- Joe Vogatsky (2021)
Hitters to Watch
(Stats are through Saturday, May 7)
- Joise Aquino- The best hitter in the Cannon lineup in ‘19, Aquino is hitting .302/.449/.528 in limited time this spring.
- Brett Ahalt, George Mason- Considered by some as the best all-around player at Mason, Ahalt is hitting .359/.422/.500 in 128 at-bats, with 10 doubles, a triple, two home runs, and 12 stolen bases.
- Carson Bell- He’s hit seven doubles and eight home runs for the Dukes this spring.
- Ryne Guida, Indian River State (Florida International commit)- .341/.437/.605 in 129 at-bats, with seven doubles and nine home runs.
- Cullen (Bear) Horowicz, West Point- won a showcase home run derby in high school, and has homered once in 23 at-bats this spring.
- Jose Torres, San Jacinto- A tremendous defensive catcher, Fuller said, “One of the best this team has ever had.” He’s also hitting .271/.385/.329 in 85 spring at-bats.
Pitchers to Watch
- Brooks Byers, Wallace- Pitched for the Cannons as a rising college freshman in 2021. He’s struck out 28 batters in 23 spring innings.
- Agyei Quinichett, Kennesaw State commit- A high school senior, he throws in the low-90’s with a good slider
- Matt Poston- Electric stuff
- DJ Burke, San Jacinto- Up to 95 mph, 2-1, 1.71 with 23 K’s in 21 innings
- Luke Jackson, Virginia Tech- Reaches low-to-mid-90’s, is redshirting this spring
- Joe Vogatsky- He’s struck out 25 batters in 23 innings
- Ahalt’s father, Dell, played for NC State in college and for the Baltimore Orioles in the minors in 1988 and 1989.
- Most teams would love to have one player nicknamed “Bear;” this one has two. Bear Horowicz is nicknamed thus because he is a large man (6-foot-4, 230), while Bear Madliak (Georgia) was nicknamed because he was, reportedly, a hairy baby, which led to the nickname “Teddy Bear,” later shortened to “Bear.” He does not use his given name Garrett.
- The team has quite a number of local players suiting up: Stephen Vazquez, Tyler Kaltreider, Isaac Van Meter, Horowicz, Ryan Dooley, Ahalt, Drawbaugh, Miles, Tyler Muscar, Jackson, and Vogatsky.
- If you’ve never been to Purcellville, it’s worth the trip. The team averages between 700 and 1,000 fans every night, and often has music and special vendors at the park. I was very impressed when I visited last summer.