Last December, Menchville baseball coach Phil Forbes was looking for someone to coach his junior varsity team. And it's not every day you get someone with varsity experience.
Forbes gave the gig to former Heritage coach Chuck Koval, and he's glad he did. The Monarchs' JV team finished 16-1-1, the only blemishes a loss and a tie to Gloucester. They won the Peninsula District for the sixth consecutive year, according to Forbes.
"Yeah, there was a little pressure coming in," Koval said. "There was nowhere to go but down, so luckily we stayed on top. We had four sophomores, four freshmen, and nine 8th-graders. The 8th-graders really stepped up and got some big hits for us."
No wonder the Monarchs have such a stable program. As for potential up-and-comers for Forbes' program next year and beyond, Koval mentioned a few. One was freshman Joe Tuzzolo, a left-handed pitcher and first baseman. Koval said he's "6-foot-3 and looks like a ball player."
Koval also said shortstop/pitcher Hunter Martin and catcher Erick Weinreich, both sophomores, had strong seasons. Combine that with returning players from the varsity team — juniors Evan Forrest, Hunter Webster, Alex Korecky, and Josh Moore — and the Monarchs should be loaded again next year.
"There's a lot of young talent," he said.
As good as Menchville baseball was, it was Kecoughtan softball that ran the table. The Warriors went 18-0 and 10-runned most of their opponents. And just think how good they'd have been had varsity coach Mark Christman not taken pitcher Allyson Babinsack for himself.
Then again, Kecoughtan hardly suffered on the mound. Freshman Maddy Morris was virtually untouchable, as was backup Megan Linkous.
"They're very dedicated players," Coach Hannah Hooker said. "They have the intensity and desire any coach would kill for."
Hooker had to take maternity leave for a bit (her daughter is 7 weeks old now). She relied on assistants Emily Bond and Kevin Linkous.
"I couldn't have done it without them," she said.
Dave Johnson covers the Peninsula District for the Daily Press. His blog is at hrvarsity.com/insidethepdCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times