Mason Falls to Strasburg, Seeded #2 in Conference Playoffs

By Steve Selby
Special to the Falls Church Times
May 20, 2014

Meeting on the moundAnother strong pitching performance by the Strasburg Rams led to a victory over the George Mason Mustangs on Monday night’s game played in Strasburg. In leading the Rams to a 6-4 victory, senior Tyler Doman went five and a third innings, allowing one hit and one earned run, while striking out six and walking six.

Although Strasburg threatened in the bottom of the first inning, catcher Marsden Davis cut down a runner attempting to steal, helping Mason get out of the inning without allowing a run. Strasburg would get on the board in the second inning, with Josh Pritchett’s double helping put the Rams up 2-0. Strasburg added another run in the fourth to take a 3-0 lead.

Mason pushed back in the fifth inning. With two outs, Sam Selby and Chris Meador walked. Delivering Mason’s first hit of the night, Marsden Davis singled sharply to left, driving in a run. But, Strasburg quickly added two more runs in the bottom of the inning, taking a 5-1 lead into sixth inning.

With one out in the top of the sixth, Mason would rally. Grant Hagler hit a rocket toward first that proved too hot to handle. Gabe Terry followed with a walk. After a wild pitch advanced both runners, pinch hitter Connor Rhodes walked to load the bases. Selby’s infield hit made it 5-2. Meador then hit a sharp grounder toward third, resulting in the Ram’s second error of the inning and two more runs scoring to bring the Mustangs within one. Strasburg added an insurance run in the bottom of the inning, when Evan Snapp’s triple and a sacrifice fly made it 6-4. Strasburg retired the Mustangs in order in the seventh, holding on for the victory.

In spite of generating just two hits against the Rams, Mason was in the game until the very end. Evan Davis, Jake Abruzzi and Gabe Terry handled the pitching responsibilities for Mason.

The Rams take a 17-1 record (14-1 in district play) into their final regular season game against Clarke County. Strasburg will enter the Conference 35 playoffs as the #1 seed, earning a bye in the first round. Mason faces William Monroe in its final regular season game at home on Wednesday. With a record of 13-6 (11-4), Mason will enter the tournament as the #2 seed, facing the #7 seed in the first round.

Little League Bats Heat Up With Warmer Weather

May 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

By Neal Comstock
Falls Church Times Staff
May 19, 2014

As late Spring temperatures firmly set in, many Little Leaguers are hitting the ball more regularly and farther causing scores to rise across the League.Game reports are prepared by Falls Church Kiwanis Little League (FCKLL) Managers, Coaches and parents. Complete scores and standings can be found at

50/70 (age 12)

FCKLL offers 12 year olds an opportunity to play on a somewhat larger field to help them transition to playing on a full size baseball field after Little League. The FC Red team plays on a field that is 50’ from the mound to the plate and 70’ between the bases (Little League fields are 46’ from the mound to the plate and 60’ between bases whereas full size fields are 60’ 6” from the mound to the plate and 90’ between the bases). So far this season, the FC Red which is composed of FCKLL 12 year olds, has played three games against the Mason District Mustangs with each team wining one before this past Sunday.

On Sunday, May 11, Mothers’ Day, at Dowden Terrace Park in Alexandria, the teams squared off on a hot afternoon with the FC Red winning 5-1. Ian Thompson and Mark Comstock each had two big hits, four stolen bases and scored twice. Thompson also pitched the first and second innings striking out three Mustangs. Owen Ossman blew the game open with a two RBI hit in the fifth inning. Corey Lauer closed the game out with a strong pitching performance and a diving catch in the sixth inning.

Majors (ages 10-12)

Scorekeepers were busy at Westgate Park on Wednesday, May 14 as the Tigers and the Marlins combined for 23 runs. The Tigers eventually won the offensive battle 12-11 in six innings. There were twelve hits, including four extra base hits in the game with six lead changes. The Tigers were sparked by Marty Casserly and Spencer Zamagni who teamed up for three hits and three RBIs. The Marlins jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Brian Murphy got things going for the Marlins with a double. It didn’t take long for the Tigers to respond as they scored seven runs of their own in the second on a walk by Jack Villa, a wild pitch, an error, a two-run single by Spenser and a groundout by Gaarison Holran. In the third inning Murphy hit a grand slam home run for the jubilant Marlins. However, the Tigers had a third-inning rally that gave them the lead for good.  Our neighboring league, Mason District Little League [Annandale, Alexandria, Falls Church (in Fairfax County)] has three teams at the Majors level and this year each FCKLL Majors teams each plays a Mason District team once. On Saturday, Mat 17, at Westgate Park, the Mason District Nationals were not able to overcome the big hole they dug themselves into against the Tigers, and the Nationals lost 6-4 to the Tigers after falling behind by three runs in the fifth inning.  The Mason District Nationals scored one in the In the fifth inning when Tyler James hit one of the longest home runs ever hit in a Little League game at Westgate Park far above and beyond the right field fence.  Bobby Asel racked up three RBIs on two hits for Tigers with two doubles. The Tigers stayed on top until the final out after taking the lead in the fifth, scoring three runs on Asel’s two-run double.

AAA (ages 9-11)

The Giants and Angels faced off for an exciting contest on Tuesday, May 6 that came down to the wire and ended in an 11-11 tie. Some notable performers for the Angels included Nick Bradford (double, two walks and two runs scored), Garrett Benson (two hits) and Ru Orobaton (two hits, pitching a scoreless fifth inning). Highlights for the Giants came from Ronan Kelly (two doubles, RBI), George Lewis (double, RBI, pitching a scoreless second inning), Jack Biggs (striking out three Angels in a scoreless third inning), Tapi Goredema (two hits, RBI), Charlie Rowe (two hits, RBI, six stolen bases), Jonathan Oppenheimer (two hits, RBI) and John Cascella (double, two RBI). Ben Petty was also impressive in his pitching debut for the Giants, recording his first strikeout while giving up only one run in the fourth.

The Giants next squared off against the Dodgers on Thursday, May 8, and this time 11 runs were enough to win, as the Giants pitchers were able to keep the Dodgers offense contained and bring home the 11-5 victory. Hard throwing Dodger Nate Jackson was able to keep the game close, striking out seven Giants over three strong innings, but the Giants busted it open with five runs in the fourth and cruised to a convincing triumph. Pitching was the key for the Giants. Michael Hammond dominated on the mound, striking out six Dodgers while giving up only one run over three impressive innings, and Ronan Kelly closed out the game with a remarkable outing of his own, striking out two more while holding the Dodgers scoreless in the final inning. Four different Giants reached base all three times they came to bat: John Cascella (HBP and two hits); Tapi Goredema (three walks); Ben Petty (single, two walks); and George Lewis (single, two walks). Other offensive contributions came from Jonathan Oppenheimer (two hits, RBI) and Chandler Petty (single, walk, RBI).

The Giants and Blue Jays faced off for the second time on Tuesday, May 13, and for the second time the Giants fell prey to some excellent pitching in a 10-7 loss to the Jays at Larry Graves Field. After falling behind 4-1 after the first inning, Jays pitchers Qais Sarsour and Nate Jaramillo quieted the Giants bats the rest of the way, giving up only three runs over the final five frames. Some of the few bright spots in the Giants’ offense were George Lewis’ RBI double in the third and two solid hits each for Jonathan Oppenheimer and Ronan Kelly. The Giants were happy to have George Papadopoulos back after being on the disabled list for two weeks and he contributed right away, striking out four Jays in two strong innings on the mound. Lewis was also sharp, posting three strikeouts while allowing only one run in his two innings of relief. Good defense helped the Giants keep the game close as well. Baker Reid assisted on a key putout in the sixth and catcher John Cascella teamed up with Papadopoulos and Michael Hammond to throw out two would-be base stealers in the fourth.

The stands were filled with only Giants fans on Saturday, May 17, as the Falls Church Giants did battle with the Mason District Giants at Walnut Hill West. The visiting Mason District team fell behind early and Falls Church cruised to a 19-9 victory. John Cascella set the tone early by striking out the side in the top of the first and that performance seemed to ignite the home team’s bats for the remainder of the contest. The offensive highlights were many: Michael Hammond and George Lewis each blasted two-run homers; Charlie Rowe nearly hit for the cycle, smashing a triple, a single and an RBI double in three times up; and Ronan Kelly and Chandler Petty each had two hits and two RBI. Other contributions came from George Papadopoulos (two hits, walk, RBI), Tapi Goredema (three walks), Ben Petty (two RBI), Baker Reid (two walks), and Jonathan Oppenheimer (single, walk, RBI).

Single A (ages 6-9)

It was perfect weather for a good old evening ballgame on Friday, May 9, as the Sea Dogs and Raptors battled it out in an offensive back and forth battle, mixed with some timely defense. The Sea Dogs ultimately won the battle with a strong day at the plate and six players hitting safely every opportunity. Nathanael Clock and Nathan Lake both went five for five and scored five runs each. Sammy Findler, who ripped a double, also went five for five scoring four runs, Jonah Maco crushed a triple on his way to going four for four, scoring four runs, and Colt Dixon went four for four hitting in key situations he focused and drove in three runs as well as scoring one run himself. Anthony Viola had a great day at plate going four for five and scored three runs. The Raptors also had a good day swinging the bat. Nick Zochowski, Ryan Green, Jaden Shin, and Jeffrey Toko all went four for four and scored runs. John Doebel was also perfect at the plate going three for three and scoring a run. George Sarmiento showed off his base running skills scoring three runs while going three for four at the plate. Both teams were swinging the bats well and running hard on the bases with several close plays.  Defensively the Sea Dogs also had a solid day. Gunner Dixon had a great catch, hustling in from first base to field the pop up. Jonah Maco and Anthony Viola executed a text book play with Maco fielding a grounder and making a perfect throw to Viola who was presenting a great target stretched out with his foot on the bag. Sam Varner showed his defensive prowess by being baseball ready for every play. Nathan Lake made a nice play catching a great throw from Jonah Maco to complete a force out at home. The Raptors made some great plays in the field as well. Jaden Shin had a great catch staying with a well-hit ball to the outfield in the third inning. At third base, John Alverson showed good hustle to record an unassisted force out. All in all the defensive play was good and everyone put out a great effort. The well-played game ended with a final score of Sea Dogs 25, Raptors, 15. A great way to spend a Friday evening watching these two teams battle it out. Both teams showcased some great glove work and well executed defensive plays.

The Bees had a great day in field stifling the usually strong hitting Sea Dogs 14-6. Christopher Popelier had another great game in the field recording put outs at first base. Alexandra Nassif also played a strong game defensively, on the mound making a catch of a hard hit line drive. Dominic Angulo also was a key to the Bees defense recording key outs to close out innings. The Sea Dogs played well on defense and had several defensive standouts. Jonah Maco was all over the field making plays, Maco made an incredible diving catch to go with his highlight reel game. He caught several balls and made a great throw to Tommy Davies on Second, Davies made a great catch to record the out. Gunner Dixon had another spectacular game, snatching several balls out of thin air. Colt Dixon made a great play from the mound by throwing to Nathanael Clock who charged in to cover second. Sam Varner was awesome working the hot corner with several great plays and an unassisted tag out. Offense was tough to come by with all of the defensive stars patrolling the ballpark. The Bees ripped some great hits and had four players have perfect days at the plate. Isaac Krasner, and Owen McCarton went four for four and scored two runs. Pierce Tarutani went four for four and scored a run, while Nicolas Lemma went three for three and scored. The Sea Dogs were swinging the bat well but just could get the ball past the stout Bees defense. Jonah Maco went three for three and scored two runs. Tommy Davies hit very well going three for three, also scoring a run. Christian Henry continued to swing the bat well also going three for three.




Mustangs Pitch In to Support Cancer Research

By Steve Selby
Special to the Falls Church Times
May 19, 2014

On a picture perfect day for baseball, the George Mason Mustangs battled the Strasburg Rams in a home game played on Saturday afternoon. Entering the game with only one loss on the season, the Rams prevailed 7-4.  The teams meet again at Strasburg this evening.

The warm, comfortable weather drew the season’s largest crowd.  Fans, supporters and players joined together in cheering on cancer survivor and aspiring baseball player, Carson King, a student at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, who threw out the traditional first ball as part this “Diamond Dreams” game. Judging by Carson’s toss, the Mason coaching staff will want to keep an eye on the youngster. Read more

Mason Raps Rappahannock on the Diamond

By Steve Selby
Special to the Falls Church Times
May 14, 2014

The Mustangs improved their record to 11-2 in district play with a 14-1 win over Rappahannock County, in game played on Tuesday night on Mason’s home field. Sophomore Jake Abruzzi went five innings on the mound, giving up only three hits and one walk, while striking out seven.  Mason’s 14 runs came on thirteen hits, and the Mustangs played error-free ball in the field.

After Dylan Midkiff singled for Rappahannock in the top of the first, he was thrown out by Mustang’s catcher Marsden Davis. Abruzzi struck out the next two batters to retire the side.  In the bottom of the first, left fielder Sam Selby singled to center, stole second, advanced to third on a single by shortstop Chris Meador, and scored on a fielder’s choice.  A sacrifice fly by Daniel Butler gave Mason its second run, and a Rappahannock error made it 3-0 Mason heading into the second. Read more

GM’s Evan Davis Delivers Complete Game and “W” Against Clarke

By Steve Selby
Special to the Falls Church Times
May 13, 2014

Junior pitcher Evan Davis went the distance as George Mason defeated Clarke County 8-2 on a Monday night home game. The win left Mason with a 10-2 record in Bull Run District play, with four games remaining in the regular season.

The Falcons jumped out to a quick lead in the first inning. Jordon Turner drew a walk, advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt by Connor Liggett, and to third on an infield single by Jarrett Sowder. Turner would score on a grounder to first, making it 1-0 Clarke.

In the Mustang half of the inning, Chris Meador was aboard on a fielder’s choice and Marsden Davis was then hit by a pitch. After both runners advanced on a passed ball, Evan Davis singled them home, advancing to second on the throw. Davis would come around to score when Daniel Butler blasted a drive to deep left center field, giving the Mustangs a 3-1 lead heading into the second inning. Read more

Rain Delays Games as Second Half of Little League Season Begins

May 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

By Neal Comstock
Falls Church Times Staff
May 11, 2014


Blue Claw William Sutton takes a cut while Rockhound catcher  Kenzo Valentin is ready for action.

Blue Claw William Sutton takes a cut while Rockhound catcher
Kenzo Valentin is ready for action.

Rain continued to cause the postponement of games this week as the second half of the season began.  Game reports are prepared by FCKLL Managers, Coaches and parents.  Complete scores and standings can be found at 



Majors (ages 10-12)

The A’s beat the Orioles 6-4 on Monday, May 5 at Westgate Park behind both the bat and the arm of Timmy Bradley.  Bradley had two extra-base hits for A’s.  He doubled in the first inning, tripled in the second inning and singled in the fourth inning.  Bradley handled the Orioles’ lineup with ease, racking up seven strikeouts and allowing only one earned run on four hits and four walks over four innings.  In the top of the first inning, A’s grabbed the early lead, 1-0.  The lead stayed with A’s after the second, when they scored three runs on an RBI double by Caleb Parnell and a two-run triple by Bradley.  One run in the bottom of the third helped the Orioles close their deficit to 4-2. An RBI single by Ian Thompson fueled the Orioles’ comeback.  The A’s increased their lead with two runs in the fourth. The inning looked promising, as Thomas Downs singled, bringing home Bradley to kick things off. That was followed up by Declan Quill’s single, plating Hollman Smith.  A’s would not relinquish the lead as the Orioles were unable to weather a four-run fourth inning deficit.  The Orioles scored two runs in the fifth on a two-run home run by Alex Pawlowski.  Rain ended the game after the fifth inning. 

AAA (ages 9-11)

The Giants faced off against the Diamondbacks at Walnut Hill West on Saturday, May 3 in a well-played, exciting contest that ended in a 13-9 victory for the Giants.  In the top of the first, the DBacks capitalized on five walks, a hit batsman and some heads-up base running to push across five runs without the benefit of a single hit.  Then in the bottom of the inning, Davis Kendrick blanked the Giants, allowing no runs and only two base runners, while striking out three batters in the process.  At this point, things were looking bleak for the Giants, but Michael Hammond came in to pitch at the start of the second and completely shut down the DBacks for the next two innings, allowing only two hits and no runs while striking out five.  In all, Hammond went three innings, giving up only two runs and chalking up six Ks.  Hammond’s performance on the mound inspired the Giants bats to come alive as well, as they scored 13 runs over the next three innings, with key hits coming from Hammond (two singles, two RBI) and Tapi Goredema (single, RBI).  Ronan Kelly came in to close out the last inning in fine fashion, striking out two more DBacks to earn the save. The Giants pitchers were also aided by their defense, in particular Chandler Petty, John Cascella, George Lewis and Ronan Kelly, who together combined to throw out three different runners on the base paths.

AA (ages 7-10)

On a fine May 3 Saturday afternoon at Larry Graves Field, the Blue Claws defeated the Rockhounds, winning by a score of 12 to 3.  William Sutton pitched one and one third innings with three strikeouts, no runs and one hit.  He also went 3 for 3 at the plate with two RBI and two runs.   John Zarek went 2 for 2 with an RBI and two runs.  Jack Flanagan went 2 for 2 with a hit by pitch, two RBIs and two runs.  The Blue Claws also had great pitching from Gavin Donnelly, Dylan  Miller, and Brandon Werbel.  The Blue Claws made the Rockhounds pitching staff really work for their outs.  Six Rockhounds pitched over the course of the four inning game:  Nathan Madden, Wyatt Scheinbaum, Scott Shields, Harris Lechtman, Daniel Miller, and Joel Haas.  Joel Haas hit two singles, driving in a run in the first inning (Scheinbaum, who doubled) and a run in the fourth inning (Lechtman, who had a single himself).  Rockhound Kenzo Valentin’s deep sacrifice fly in the third inning brought home Patrick Short (who had singled to get on  base).  In one of the more exciting moments of the game, Rockhound Shields tried to turn his long single in the second inning into a double and was caught in a rundown between first and second base.  After a few tosses back and forth, Shields finally emerged safe at second.

On a well-conditioned Larry Graves Field on Wednesday, May 7, the Blue Claws defeated the Sand Gnats 13-2 in five innings (as a result of construction at Westgate Elementary and the subsequent loss of three fields used by the League, Fairfax County allowed the League to use Graves 2 and facilitated improvements to the field this season).  The lone umpire, Ben Sharrer, called a great game.  There were some great fielding and hitting performances on both teams, but the Blue Claws had more firepower on this day, getting 16 hits (with three doubles – Gavin Donnelly, Brandon Werbel and John Zarek).  Gavin Donnelly also threw out a Sand Gnat trying to steal third (Jack Flanagan made the tag) for a strike out/throw out double play.  The Sand Gnats game ball went to Dean Wisemiller thanks to two solid hits and alert play in the field throughout the game.  Switch-hitter Max Vitt added two hits for the Sand Gnats, and Michael Craig pitched well, keeping the Sand Gnats in the game.

Single A (ages 6-9)

Idylwood Park was filled with excitement on Saturday morning May 3 for what turned out to a great defensive battle between two unbeaten teams.  The Hot Rods battled to victory 11-8 over the Sea Dogs with some timely hitting and great defense.  The Sea Dogs’ Sluggers Gunner Dixon, and Christian Henry both had another super day at the plate going 4 for 4.  Sammy Findler also had a perfect day at the plate going 3 for 3, Colt Dixon and Jonah Maco each went 3 for 4 and scored runs.  The Hot Rods saw William Hladky and Marcus Kummer  both go 4 for 4 with a run scored; Alex Way went 3 for 3 with 2 runs scored, all had incredible days.  Other standouts for the Hot Rods were Jarrett Jardine, and Owen Kummer who each scored 2 runs, along with Lila Morris, Grace Kummer who also had great games. Both teams were hitting well but defense ruled the day.  The Sea Dogs were very focused in field and ready for every play.  The tandem of Gunner Dixon and Nathanael Clock recorded a text book out with Dixon making a great grab off the mound and executing a quick throw to Clock at first base who kept his foot on bag while making a great catch.  Nathan Lake made a great grab on a grounder to short and was able to throw to Gunner Dixon at third for the out.  The entire Sea Dogs lineup really played well in the field; other standouts included Christian Henry, Anthony Viola and Colt Dixon.  The Hot Rods were on fire in field, with Chris Jaramillo, Preston Lieu, and Matthew Janicki all coming up with big plays. The game ended on an incredible triple play, with a great grab of a well hit liner by William Hladky at shortstop, who then tagged a runner and threw to Alex Way at first to get the third out and end the game.

A Friday night thriller at Westgate Park featuring the Muck Dogs and Sea Dogs was won by the Sea Dogs 18-17 in a battle that came down to the wire.  Both teams played well having a mix of explosive offensive innings and then stifling defense. Offensively the Muck Dogs had a great day at plate.  The Muck Dogs had seven players go 4 for 4 at the plate Maloni Karageorgos, Ryan McDonald, Kai Freeman, Trent Bolinger, Julius Schmidt, Colton Harvey, and Jason Gagnon.  Kai Freeman and Jason Gagnon both scored 3 runs.  The Sea Dogs offense saw Nathan Lake go 5 for 5 and score three runs.  Gunner Dixon the team’s power hitter, Nathanael Clock, Jonah Maco and Sam Varner also recorded perfect days at plate going 4 for 4.  Tommy Davies went 3 for 4 scoring three runs.  In the field the Muck Dogs played solid defense.  Jason Gagnon had a great performance in the field recording several outs.  Ryan McDonald and Trent Bolinger each made great catches on fly balls for the Muck Dogs. The Sea Dogs showed grit on defense with Anthony Viola and Sam Varner showing off stellar glove work staying with some tough grounders, Nathanael Clock seemed to be in on every play showing his usual hustle and instincts to get to the ball.  The defensive MVP has to go to Sammy Findler who single handedly recorded the final two outs at third base to preserve the one run victory for the Sea Dogs. 

The Muckdogs and Mudcats played battled to an 8-8 tie during the first 80+ degree day of the baseball season on Thursday, May 8 at Walnut Hills Field.  The bats and gloves shared hot and cold spells for both teams with the Muckdogs jumping out to a big lead in the early innings, only to be caught by a Mudcat surge in the final two. 

The Muckdogs ran out to an early 7-1 lead at the end of the second off key hits from Jason Gagnon, Kai Freeman, Trent Bolinger and Maloni Karageorgos.  While they put five runs across the plate in the first inning, the Mudcats were able to hold them to two runs in the second due to the exceptional defense of Ethan Bomersheim who caught a line drive for an out and fielded a grounder and tagged a runner heading home for the final out of the inning.  The Mudcat bats were relatively silent in the first three innings as they managed to push just a single run across the plate in the first inning off hits from Graham Ingalls, Noah Winters, and Dominic Zacharias Martin.  These early innings saw some nice defensive plays on the part of the Muckdogs by Jason Gagnon, Ryan McDonald and Paul Meade to keep the Mudcats at bay. 

The Mudcats were able to squeeze in another two runs in the fourth off back to back doubles by Jacob Sargent and Kai Ferro.  Going in to the bottom of the fifth, the Mudcats were trailing 8-3, needing the maximum per inning five runs to force the tie.  The entire Mudcats team gathered in the dugout to prepare for the task at hand – bouncing back from their slow start.  They loaded the bases early off consecutive hits from Ingalls, Zach Pierce, and Winters. Francesca Copley, Sargent and Ferro followed with hits to bring the score to 8-7 — with Sargent notching his second double of the game.  With two outs and the bases loaded, Sammy Fried came to the plate with the game on the line.  Taking the count to his final strike, Fried smacked a hard single to deep short sending Copley across the plate with the tying run. The clutch hit earned Fried the Mudcats game ball.  For the parents, friends and family there it was truly an exciting and memorable game, with both teams demonstrating their continued improvements on offense and defense. 

For the Mudcats it was their second consecutive tie, bringing their season record to 0-3-2, while the Muckdogs grabbed their first tie to bring their record to 0-4-1.

The Rockhound fielders are ready for action: Wyatt  Scheinbaum (#15) at first base, Daniel Miller at second  base, Patrick Short at shortstop, and  Marshall Bowie  in left center field.

The Rockhound fielders are ready for action: Wyatt
Scheinbaum (#15) at first base, Daniel Miller at second
base, Patrick Short at shortstop, and Marshall Bowie
in left center field.

Rockhound pitcher Wyatt Scheinbaum prepares to deliver.

Rockhound pitcher Wyatt Scheinbaum prepares to deliver.


Freshman Leads Mason to Victory in Extra Innings

By Steve Selby
Special to the Falls Church Times
May 10, 2014


Freshman Zach Lang on the mound for the Mustangs

On Friday night, freshman Zach Lang pitched a complete game victory, giving visiting George Mason a 7-3 win over Manassas Park.  Lang faced Manassas Park’s senior Chris Hoffa in a tense duel, with the game into extra innings before Mason would finally break it open in the top of eighth inning.

Although Manassas Park entered last night’s game without a win in the Bull Run District, they had played many close games, losing several by just one run.  In an earlier contest against Mason, the Cougars led most of the game until a late-inning comeback by Mustangs.  And, on their senior night, the determined Cougars came within a whisker of pulling off an upset.

Making his first start for the Mustangs, Lang demonstrated the poise of a veteran.  In a remarkable performance, Lang gave up eight hits, while striking out three, walking only one and allowing no earned runs. He was consistently around the plate, throwing 24 first-pitch strikes to the 33 batters he faced.  Lang benefited from strong defense, notably Chris Meador who seemed to end every inning with a sparkling play at shortstop.  Hoffa was equally formidable on the mound for the Cougars. Through the first seven innings he allowed only four hits by Mason, striking out nine Mustangs for the game.

Hoffa hit Mason’s lead-off hitter, Sam Selby, but quickly picked him off first base before striking out Meador and Marsden Davis.  With one out in the bottom of the first, Lang gave up a double to Hoffa, but retired the side on fly balls to center. Mason would take advantage of Cougar errors to build a 2-0 lead in the second.  With one out, Daniel Butler cracked a single. After Grant Hagler flew out, Gabe Terry singled to keep the inning alive.  When the ball was bobbled in left field, Butler advanced to third and Terry to second. Another infield error by the Cougars allowed both runners to score.

Manassas Park threatened in the third, when with one out, Robby Ratchford and Hoffa singled. But a slick 6-4-3 double play (Meador to Logan Davis to Terry) ended the inning.

After Mason went down in order in the top of the fourth, the Cougars would get on the board in the bottom of the inning.  Corey Jenkins singled and advanced to second on a ground out to first, moving to third on a single by Felix Sheard.  A single to left by Michel Zurn scored Jenkins, but Sheard was cut down on a throw from Selby to Hagler in a close play at third base. A ground out to Meador closed the inning before more damage could be done.  With the score now 2-1, Hoffa set down the Mustangs in order in the top of the fifth.  Manassas Park would open up a lead in the bottom of the inning , when a walk, single and a Mason error led to two runs crossing the plate, giving the Cougars a 3-2 lead.

Mason would quickly tie the score at 3-3 in the sixth inning.  With two outs, Evan Davis reached base on an infield error, advancing to second base on the throw.  Butler promptly singled him home, tying the game and setting the stage for another dramatic finish for the Mustangs. Looking as strong as ever, Lang quickly retired the Cougars in the seventh, aided by a nice running catch by Justin Trainor in left and two good plays by Meador.

The sleepy Mason offense woke up with a bang in the eighth inning.  Leading off, Meador was quickly behind in the count, 0-2.  But, on a high heater from Hoffa, Meador ripped a shot to right center, racing all the way to third base.  Mardsen Davis grounded out, getting an RBI as Meador came home. Evan Davis promptly blasted a double, stole third and raced home on a passed ball, making it 5-3 Mason.  After a walk issued by Hoffa, pinch runner Davis Hagigh stole second and scored on a single by Hagler, who advanced to second on the throw.  Hagler moved to third on a passed ball and then scored on Gabe Terry’s sharp single to left, giving the Mustangs a 7-3 lead. Hoffa then got the last two batters on strikeouts, bringing up the Cougars for one more try against Lang.

All eyes were on the freshman Lang to see if he could close out the game.  The answer came quickly. With one out, Lang allowed a single to Corey Jenkins.  After a pop out to Hagler, another ground out to Meador closed out the Cougars, giving Mason its ninth win against only two losses in Bull Run District play.

On Monday at 7 p.m, Mason will battle Clarke County in the first of three home games in the week. After facing Rappahannock on Tuesday, Mason welcomes District power house Strasburg on Thursday.  The Mustangs will conclude the regular season at Strasburg on May 19 and at home against Monroe on May 21.

This spring’s wet weather caused a backlog of postponed games, resulting in the Bull Run District tournament not being played.  Instead, attention will be focused on the Conference Tournament scheduled to begin the week of May 26.  With the recent realignment of the state’s high school athletic conferences, Mason is now a 2A team playing in Conference 35.

Under that realignment, a number of teams from the Bull Run District move into different conferences for the playoffs.  So, for example, Mason would not see Monroe, Central, Manassas Park, Warren or Rappahannock. In addition to Mason, Conference 35 includes familiar foes Strasburg, Clarke and Madison, as well as Luray, Page County and Stonewall Jackson.

With its pitching depth, strong defense and scrappy offense, Mason is positioning itself well for the post season.  But, as Mustang fans know, the route will not be easy.

Mason Prevails in 13th Inning (!)

By Steve Selby
Special to the Falls Church Times
May 8, 2014

As the tired but happy George Mason fans trudged up the hill to the parking lot last night, one of them was heard to say, “It’s a good thing they started this game at 6:00.”  And, indeed it was, as Mason and Warren County waged an epic, 13-inning battle, lasting more than three hours, finally ending on a walk-off hit by Chris Meador to clinch the victory for the Mustangs.  Mason managed to tie the score at 3-3 in the seventh inning, sending the game into extra innings.  And, for the next five, tense innings, neither team could score.  It was an exciting game and a dramatic win for Mason, especially coming after the heart-breaking loss to Central the previous night.

After both teams went quietly in the first inning, Warren got on the board in the second on a double by Julian Bussells and an RBI single by Robert Rutherford. In the bottom of the second, the Wildcats’ Austin King quickly retired the side.  Through two innings, all six Mason hitters had grounded out.  But, Warren’s defense would falter in the third inning, with three errors leading to a Mason run, tying the score at 1-1. Read more

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