There’s more to Westfield High than guns and tragedy. The baseball program at the massive Chantilly school (its student body is Virginia’s largest) has been among the strongest in the D.C. area since its opening in 2000. The best known ex-Bulldog is Brandon Snyder, an All-Met and D.C.-area Player of the Year in 2005 who turned down hundreds of scholarship offers after the Baltimore Orioles drafted him as a catcher in the first round of that year’s draft and gave him a seven-figure contract. At the time, scouts pegged Snyder to be behind the plate for the big-league club by now. But injuries have kept him in the bushes and out of catcher’s gear: After missing much of last season with shoulder problems that required major surgery, he’s been shifted to first base with the DelMarva Shorebirds, the O’s single-A affiliate, and through Thursday, Snyder was hitting just .225 with 1 RBI. Those aren’t Bonus Baby numbers, especially at that level for a third-year slugger. But at least one diamond expert is still predicting Snyder will be in the O’s lineup—-by 2010.
As a reaction to the media crush at Westfield since the Virginia Tech shootings, media members have been banned from attending the school’s baseball games. Snyder’s younger twin brothers, Mike and Matt Snyder, are now juniors there and stars for this year’s varsity team.