The Rundown: Ottariano’s Walk-Off Gives Paul VI Upset of Nationally-Ranked Benedictine

April 30 - An inning after freshman Aidan McDonald’s two-run double tied the game, J.P. Ottariano ensured his Senior Night would be a memorable one as his opposite-field walk-off single gave Paul VI Catholic a 5-4 win last night over Richmond’s Benedictine, the No. 7-ranked team in USA Today’s Super 25 national poll.

After losing in walk-off fashion four times earlier this season, the Panthers (12-13) were finally able to return the favor. And they did it against one of the country’s top teams and with over two dozen Major League scouts in attendance to see Cadets shortstop Jamari Baylor.

“We’ve been doing that all year, we’ve just been on the other side of it,” Paul VI coach Billy Emerson said. “I think we exorcised some ghosts tonight. It was kind of a relief to do that, and to do that against them was very cool.”

The Panthers, who have won five of seven entering their WCAC quarterfinal on Saturday at Bishop O’Connell (14-8), struck first when McDonald came in on a first-inning groundout by Patrick Ashby. Benedictine (21-2) responded with four runs in the top of the fourth against Ashby, who earned a no-decision after allowing seven hits over four innings.

Paul VI got a run back in the bottom half when Riley Cox squeezed home Daniel Quintana, and two innings later, McDonald’s double tied the game. The freshman leadoff man finished 2-for-3, while Ottariano was 4-for-4. The Cadets were paced by Brett Allen, who was 3-for-3 with a triple and an RBI.

“The best thing I can say about this team - there are so many things we’ve gone through this season, so many times they could have laid down and gave up and quit - but they didn’t,” Emerson said. “It was very, very gratifying to see them cut loose and celebrate tonight.”

Here is a recap of games involving teams from the Northern Virginia Top 10 Poll:

No. 3 Patriot 6, No. 4 Battlefield 0 - Riley Eikhoff carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, finishing with six strikeouts over 6.1 scoreless innings to beat the Bobcats for a second time in a week as the Pioneers solidified their hold on first place in the Cedar Run District. Eli Serrano and Jaden Minnick each had two hits and drove in a run for Patriot. Battlefield’s Chris Cwieka broke Eikhoff’s no-hit bid up with a one-out single to left in the seventh. The Bobcats have lost three straight.

No. 5 Stafford 11, Mountain View 6 - Gunther Braendel tossed five scoreless innings after the Wildcats took a 6-1 lead on Indians starter Robbie Baker, and Tristan McAlister, Caleb McAlister and Jimmy Baker each had two hits and two RBI as Stafford rallied for the victory. The Indians have won 10 of their past 11 games.

No. 6 Potomac 2, Colonial Forge 1 - Braden Mack’s walk-off single scored Josue Cumba in the bottom of the eighth inning as the Panthers won for the fourth time in five games. Brody Mack pitched five scoreless innings and went 2-for-3 to become the ninth player in program history to reach 100 career hits. Eagles starter Josh Daas allowed one run on five hits in 4.1 innings.

No. 7 Westfield 12, Centreville 0 - Nick Lottchea went 3-for-3 with two doubles, a home run and four RBI, Jake Hockett added two doubles and three RBI and Joe Clancy struck out nine and scattered two hits in five scoreless innings before the game was called due to the 10-run mercy rule. Justin Ritz and Travis Blee added a combined five hits and four RBI. The shutout was the Bulldogs’ 11th of the season.

No. 10 McLean 5, South Lakes 3 - Griffin Stieg had a two-run double and Jackson Kantor later followed with an RBI single as the Highlanders broke a tie with a three-run fifth and Teddy Merritt scattered four hits and allowed three runs (one earned) in six innings to earn the win. Stieg and Kantor, who pitched a perfect seventh to earn the save, each had two hits and two RBI for McLean, which has won 10 of 11. Braden Huebsch and Kyle Nobles drove in runs for the Seahawks.

Top 10 Today: No. 1 Madison at No. 7 Westfield; No. 2 Lake Braddock at Fairfax; No. 3 Patriot at Osbourn; Stonewall Jackson at No. 4 Battlefield; North Stafford at No. 5 Stafford; Freedom-Woodbridge at No. 6 Potomac; No. 8 Brentsville District at James Monroe; Washington-Lee at No. 9 Yorktown; Herndon at No. 10 McLean

Other Games: Justin Nelson hit a walk-off single and finished 3-for-5 with three RBI while Jason Stine and Patrick Bellinger had three hits apiece in West Springfield’s 10-9 win over South County. Tre Williams was 3-for-3 with two RBI to pace the Stallions … Bryce Edwards scored on a bases-loaded wild pitch to give Dominion a 1-0 walk-off win over Loudoun County. Joe Simonetta struck out seven in a four-hit shutout, while the Raiders’ Joe Alexander took a hard-luck loss after scattering seven hits in 6.2 innings … Tyler Woody was 2-for-3 with four RBI, Nick Famiglietti was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Ian Smith drove in three runs to lead Briar Woods to a 10-5 win over Champe. The Falcons have won six straight … Todd Hartman struck out 11 and didn’t allow a hit in five scoreless innings before the game was called due to the 10-run mercy rule in a 10-0 win over Falls Church. Maxwell Lee had four RBI to pace the Colonials … Gunner Canary had 10 strikeouts and allowed two unearned runs while scattering four hits in a complete game effort as Riverside beat Loudoun Valley, 3-2, for its fifth straight win.

Photo of Paul VI Catholic’s J.P. Ottariano by Fred Ingham