FLS Varsity brings you the scores, stats and stories from Fredericksburg-area high school sports.
HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL NOTEPAD: Graves powering Drifters’ offense
Junior shortstop Nick Graves did his best to help Colonial Beach build momentum before spring break arrived.
The three-year starter powered coach Brent Steffey’s squad to four straight victories recently, blasting three home runs and collecting 14 RBIs as Colonial Beach improved to 6–2 before embarking on its upcoming Conference 43 schedule.
Last week, Graves fueled victories over two longtime Northern Neck District rivals. On Wednesday, he belted a two-run blast to beat Lancaster, 2–1, and was also the winning pitcher with 10 strikeouts. On Thursday, his grand slam and six RBIs highlighted a 17–0 rout of Washington & Lee.
On Monday, Graves continued his power surge, collecting six more RBIs in a doubleheader sweep over Amelia County.
Steffey hopes Graves’ recent hot streak and the Drifters’ success are signs of things to come. After the break, they’ll face familiar Northern Neck District foes like Essex, Rappahannock and Northumberland in their push to make the playoffs.
“I’ve really liked the way [Graves] has been swinging the bat,” said Steffey, who succeeded longtime coach Steve Swope after last season. “He and Kameron [Smith] are two of the big keys for us to be successful.”
Graves and Smith are two of several juniors who have been contributing lately for the Drifters. Smith is 3–1 record and has yet to give up an earned run. Pitcher Nick White and second baseman Ryan Thomas have also been standouts, especially on defense.
But for pure impact, Graves has been a major catalyst with his power hitting and run production. He also has five doubles and, according to Steffey, could easily have a few more home runs on balls that just missed clearing the center-field fence.
Last year, Graves followed up a strong freshman season with an all-district performance, hitting .438 in Swope’s final season.
“[Graves] is made to hit for power,” Swope said. “He’s a lot like his coach, Brent. He’s all about baseball and he has big aspirations for what he wants to do at the next level.”
So did Steffey, who went on to excel for the University of Mary Washington after setting single-season records for home runs (12) and RBIs (43) when he was an all-state shortstop for Swope and the Drifters in 2008. Colonial Beach won the Tidewater District championship that year.
With a tough Conference 43 schedule still in front of them, this year’s Drifters have a ways to go. But if Graves and Smith can continue to produce and the other underclassmen continue to contribute, Steffey’s first season as coach could be a memorable one.
KNIGHTS’ ALUMNI NIGHT
Spotsylvania will host an alumni night before this Friday’s home game against Orange. The Knights will announce the recipient of the captain’s No. 2 jersey in memory of former standout Spencer Hockaday.
The ceremony begins at 7:15 p.m.. Alumni are asked to notify the team if they will attend. Information is available at spotsybaseball.com, Spotsylvania Knights Baseball on Facebook or Spotsy Baseball on Twitter.