Cuadros’ Big Night Helps Bruins Bounce Back in D.C. Baseball Classic

April 16 - Ryan Cuadros was 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBI last night to lead No. 3 Lake Braddock to an 11-5 win over visiting Gonzaga (D.C.), bouncing back after dropping a 2-0 decision earlier in the day to Centreville in the D.C. Baseball Classic.

After the Bruins erased an early 2-0 deficit to the Purple Eagles with a seven-run second inning, Cuadros put the game away with his three-run homer to left field. Jay Cassady, right fielder Lyle Miller-Green and first baseman Andrew Schaeb had RBI singles and designated hitter Mike Weidinger capped the big frame with a three-run double during the second-inning rally.

“Coach set an approach for us to stay back and keep our hands inside the ball,” Cuadros said of his team’s response to the shutout loss earlier in the day. “It worked out for me and for us, and got us going.”

Added Lake Braddock coach John Thomas: “I definitely liked the response. I do think we have a roster full of tough kids.”

Cassady settled down after allowing solo homers to freshman third baseman Nicholas Morabito and first baseman Christian Ficca in the first and two more runs in the third. The junior left-hander retired 10 of 11 batters before Thomas removed him after right fielder Colin McKenzie led off the top of the seventh with a single. He was charged for a fifth run when McKenzie came around to score on reliever Will Hellier.

“In a normal circumstance we probably wouldn’t have sent him back out for the sixth [inning],” Thomas said of Cassady, who was then given the opportunity to try and complete the game after a 1-2-3 frame in the sixth. “Part of that was that our staff is pretty taxed, I think this is the sixth game in seven or eight days … I thought there would be some value to let him try and finish that game.”

Cassady finished with 99 pitches, striking out four and walking two while allowing five hits.

Shortstop Bobby Leitzel added two hits for the Bruins, while left fielder Lucas Leclair paced Gonzaga with two hits. Noah Potholm, the Purple Eagles’ freshman right-hander, took the loss after allowing seven runs (one earned) in two innings.

Lake Braddock’s offensive output was in stark contrast to their 2-0 loss earlier in the day to the Wildcats, when they managed just two hits and were unable to score despite loading the bases twice on Centreville starter Hunter Bell and reliever Eric Bohenek. Bell earned the win after striking out nine in 6.2 innings.

Notable: In today’s 6-1 win over Narbonne (CA), Miller-Green went 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI and he has six RBI over four games in the tournament out of the leadoff spot … Leitzel had a hit in today’s game to extend his hitting streak to 11 games … The loss was the second straight for Gonzaga, which had won 12 of its first 14 games under first-year coach Chad Carroll, a former standout at Oakton.

Quotable: “The bolt was great to see because it was middle-in, and he just reacted. He wasn’t around that. So, yeah, he’s had a rough couple of weeks, but he’s a 15-year-old sophomore and I’m super proud of how he’s handled it. This is probably the first time in his life he’s really struggled much. We had him out of the lineup for a game or two to kind of let him reset, and he’s really responded well to that. For us to be the team we want to be, we need him and it’s just good to see him mature over the past couple of weeks.” - Lake Braddock coach John Thomas, on Ryan Cuadros breaking out of a recent slump

Media: Pregame interviews with Gonzaga coach Chad Carroll and Lake Braddock coach John Thomas and postgame Player of the Game interview with Lake Braddock’s Ryan Cuadros.

Next: Both teams conclude play in the tournament tomorrow, when Lake Braddock (12-2) meets Washington-Lee at 11:30 a.m. at Westfield and Gonzaga (13-4) plays at Westfield at 2:30 p.m.

Photo of Ryan Cuadros courtesy of Lake Braddock Baseball