Prep Notebook: Bruins Start Thomas Era With Sweep of Concorde Favorites

March 21 - Lake Braddock’s first season under new coach John Thomas is off to a fast start, as the No. 5 Bruins unveiled their talented duo of sophomore left-handers in wins over Concorde District favorites Chantilly and Madison.

Last Friday, Andrew Schaeb struck out five and allowed one hit over four innings, with senior Lyle Miller-Green earning the win in relief thanks to senior shortstop Bobby Leitzel’s go-ahead single in the fifth inning in a 2-1 win over the then-No. 7 Chargers. On Tuesday, Lake Braddock put together an impressive 12-2 dismantling of No. 2 Madison on the Warhawks’ home field, benefitting from four errors that led to eight unearned runs but also getting multiple-hit nights from three players.

Mike Weidinger, the other half of Thomas’ second-year southpaw combo, scattered two hits and fanned four over four scoreless innings, with junior Noah Adcock-Howeth going the final three innings. Schaeb and Jay Cassady each had two hits and two RBI, and Leitzel also chipping in with two hits.

“We’re obviously happy to start the season with a couple of wins,” Thomas said. “But more importantly, it’s been great to see guys getting their first real opportunity at this level go out and assert themselves against quality competition early in the season.”

Miller-Green, the Patriot District’s Pitcher of the Year in 2017 and a second-team Class 6 all-state selection last year, will be deployed in a closer’s role assuming the likes of Schaeb, Weidinger and Cassady - a junior lefty - are able to get the Bruins through four or five innings each night.

The 6-foot-5, 225-pound slugger also has a different role offensively, batting lead off as Thomas attempts to dissuade teams from pitching around him. It’s worked so far, as Miller-Green is 3-for-7 with a walk and three runs through the first two games.

For 2nd Straight Year, North Tops Occoquan in Region Challenge

In the second Occoquan (6C) vs. Northern (6D) Region Challenge, organized by Chantilly coach Kevin Ford, the Northern teams won 14 of 20 games played between the two regions.

The participating teams were seeded in a vote by the coaches and pitted against teams of similar caliber, with each club getting one home game. The biggest winner during the Challenge was the Liberty District, which saw its teams win nine of 10 games - mostly in match-ups with Gunston District teams. The Gunston was 0-8.

The Concorde District (5-5) and Patriot District (6-6) spent most of the Challenge beating up on each other, though the Patriot took three of four in games featuring teams from the preseason Northern Virginia Top 10 Poll.

Paul VI’s Early Struggles Continue in WCAC Opener vs. McNamara

Paul VI Catholic is in danger of missing the VISAA Division I state tournament for the first time since 2003 and having its first losing season since 2002 after falling to Bishop McNamara, 6-2, in its Washington Catholic Athletic Conference opener yesterday.

The Panthers (1-5 overall, 0-1 WCAC) have struggled to produce runs and shaky defense has hurt them, in particular over the past two games. Coach Billy Emerson’s club is averaging just 2.8 runs per game and errors have led to 14 unearned runs, including nine over the past two days in a 5-1 loss to Flint Hill on Tuesday and in yesterday’s loss to the Mustangs.

Senior left-hander Nick Ortega worked around 10 hits to get through seven innings yesterday before McNamara scored twice in the top of the eighth on relievers Bryce Dolby and Aidan McDonald. An error and passed ball led to both of those runs being scored as unearned.

Under Emerson and former coach Jeff Nolan, Paul VI has made 15 consecutive state tournament berths, winning four state titles and eclipsing the 20-win mark seven times over that stretch.

Oakton’s Richards, Whipp Combine to No-Hit Woodson

Senior left-hander Seth Richards and reliever Jack Whipp combined on a no-hitter in Oakton’s 3-0 win over visiting W.T. Woodson last night.

Richards, who will pitch at Villanova next year, fanned seven while walking two over five innings to earn the win, with Whipp striking out four and walking one while earning a two-inning save. Richards retired nine of the first 11 batters he faced - the two runners reached on an error and dropped third strike - before he issued a walk to Roman Dominguez to begin the fourth.

Nick Morgan was 2-for-3 with two RBI to pace the Cougars (2-1), which gets a big test on Friday against No. 5 Lake Braddock. The Cavaliers (0-3) have been shutout in two of their three games.

Photo of Lake Braddock’s Mike Weidinger by Fred Ingham