SUFFOLK (WAVY) – A school from Suffolk has never won a state baseball championship. The closest a team has come when Nansemond River in 1996 when the Warriors were in the state semifinals.
Fast forward 20 years later, and Nansemond River is back with a chance to win it all.
“We have senior laden team, we have 11 seniors,” coach Mark Stuffel said. “Going into the season of course the goal of the team was to win states and they’ve played good baseball and they’ve put us in a situation where we still have a shot.”
Nansemond River won the 5A South region title, an impressive feat on its own, but even more impressive when you consider that the Warriors are the only area team from either 5A or 6A to make it to states.
“You really feel like if you can make it out of this are you have a chance of winning states,” Stuffel said. “There’s good teams out there, but we have really good baseball here.”
“The 5A region was real tough,” senior pitcher Matt Hold said. “We had to get through a tough Hickory team who threw a great pitcher in Hunter Gregory, and the same thing with Indian River and in order to win the region we had to beat Mils Godwin which is a very talented team also.”
The 11 seniors have been playing together since they were in 8th grade. They lost in the regionals the last two seasons, so the upper class man are hoping to go out on top.
“This team is like my family,” senior catcher Reid Williams said. “To spend every day, practicing, playing, doing whatever, playing as a team.”
If Nansemond River defeats Potomac tomorrow in the state semifinals, it would play for the 5A state championship on Saturday in Fairfax — the same day as Nansemond River’s graduation.
“The players themselves I don’t think they have a problem with it,” coach Stuffel said. “A couple of parents may have little problems with it but I think they would probably play in the state championship game if that opportunity arises.”