Championship Friday: Bulldogs, Wildcats Look to End Championship Droughts Tonight

May 17 - Something will give tonight when crosstown rivals Westfield and Centreville meet in the Concorde District championship game.

The No. 2 Bulldogs (18-3), coming off their 13th shutout of the season in Tuesday’s 3-0 semifinal win over Chantilly, are seeking their first district championship since 2010. The Wildcats (15-6) are playing for the first championship of any kind in the program’s 31-year history after beating No. 4 Madison, 6-3, in the semifinals behind a complete-game outing and home run from ace Hunter Bell.

Centreville coach Scott Rowland, who led South Lakes to a share of the Concorde title in 1998 and Oakton to three district championships in 2000, 2003 and 2005, would like nothing better than to be the coach that gets the Wildcats over the hump. “Last year, I brought that up a lot,” Rowland said. “This year, I haven’t mentioned the word championship in the last two months, I just let that go. They know how I feel about it, but I’m not harping on it.”

The players are familiar with each other - most came up competing against each other in the Southwestern Youth Association - and the two head coaches, Rowland and Westfield’s Rob Hahne, are friends off the field. Tonight, those relationships will be cast aside as the two teams hope to end championship droughts and earn a top seed and the bye that comes with it in the Region 6D Tournament.

After sophomore Nick Lottchea tossed a two-hitter with six strikeouts against the Chargers, the Bulldogs’ deep staff is well-rested and Hahne will likely give the ball to senior Joe Clancy. Westfield’s ace is 6-0 with a 0.18 ERA and 76 strikeouts to 20 walks in 39 innings, and has allowed just one earned run this spring. He was dominant in his two outings against the Wildcats, striking out 24 and allowing just four hits in 12 innings as Westfield posted shutouts in both contests and swept the regular season series.

“He has literally just blown us away,” Rowland said of his team’s earlier encounters with Clancy. “I told the guys yesterday, ‘I always feel like I’ve got a way that we’re going to win a game. But tonight, it’s really going to be up to players getting it done, executing and having good at-bats’.”

The Wildcats are likely to counter with one of two junior right-handers, Colby Shriner or Eric Bohenek.

Also tonight, No. 1 Lake Braddock (19-2) hosts West Springfield (11-10) in the Patriot District championship game, No. 8 McLean (16-5) hosts No. 10 Yorktown (16-5) in the Liberty District final, No. 6 Potomac (18-3) hosts Forest Park (12-9) in the Cardinal District final, West Potomac (14-5) hosts T.C. Williams (8-13) in the Gunston District final, and Marshall (14-6) hosts Justice (15-6) in the National District final.

Photo of Centreville coach Scott Rowland, left, and of Westfield coach Rob Hahne, right, by Fred Ingham