Once again, both the Broad Run and Potomac Falls High baseball teams are representing the eight-team Dulles District at the Region II playoffs.
Broad Run, coached by Pat Cassidy, automatically clinched a region seeding by capturing the regular season title. Meanwhile, Potomac Falls (17-5), coached by Joe Terango, earned a region berth by reaching the district tournament finals last week.
The Panthers, the No. 2 seed in the district tourney, won games over No. 7 Loudoun County and No. 3 Park View to make it to the championship game against Broad Run. Meanwhile, the Spartans, the tournament’s top seed, won games over No. 8 Freedom and No. 4 Dominion to reach the title game.
A year ago, Potomac Falls defeated Heritage in the district finals, then defeated Louisa County in a first round region playoff game before seeing its season end with a loss to Waynesboro.
Now, once again, Potomac Falls has qualified for regionals. The Panthers made that official with their win over Park View, 4-2, in the nigh-cap game of a district semifinals double-header at Broad Run High School on May 21. (On a night where rain caused temporary delays in both games, Broad Run opened the evening with a come-from-behind 7-4 win over Dominion).
Potomac Falls defeated the Patriots in dramatic fashion. With the scored tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning, junior right handed hitter Chad McMichael socked a two-out home run over the left field fence to make the score 4-2. Park View then went down 1-2-3 in its final at-bats in the seventh to end the game.
"The home run definitely lifted a lot off of my shoulders and the teams’ shoulders," said Potomac Falls pitcher Jacob Kline, who earned the complete game win. "It was a great hit by Chad."
The towering homer looked initially as if it might be caught, but it kept sailing and went well over the fence.
"I knew it was hit hard," said coach Terango. "I thought there was a possibility of it being caught."
Kline (7-2), a junior right hander, pitched a solid game, scattering seven singles over seven innings to earn the decision. He fanned 11 and walked none.
"Jake always pitches a great game," said teammate McMichael. "He’s a great pitcher."
Added Terango, "He’s a well-conditioned kid. His mind frame is to pitch in [big] games."
Kline said it was a thrill to qualify for regionals again.
"We were dying to go back," he said. "We really wanted this win [over Park View]."
Terango said his team did not rest on its accomplishments from last year.
"The kids really worked hard," he said. "I’m very proud of them. They put the time and effort in last fall and summer."
Several Potomac Falls players, along with Kline and McMichael, had good games. Leadoff hitter Rob Malan (2 hits, 2 runs) belted a solo homer to left center field to lead off the bottom of the first inning. And No. 3 hitter Aaron Sweger hit an RBI single in the bottom of the third to give his team a 2-1 lead.
Park View pitcher Jonathan Mason allowed just six hits and struck out two in a solid six inning effort. But the two home runs allowed hurt him.
Good games for the Patriots came from senior Adam Foltz (2 hits), Drew Mason (RBI groundout) and Ben Rosado (game-tying RBI single in the fourth). Billy Bradley and Dylan Smith, the district player of the year, had singles.
<b>IN THE NIGHT’S</b> first game, Broad Run fell behind early, 4-0, before coming back and defeating Dominion. A six-run bottom of the third, aided by several Titan errors, aided Broad Run in the comeback.
Spartans starting left-handed pitcher Cole Shain, who had allowed just three walks all season long, struggled with his command early on as he walked five batters over the first three innings. But he continued battling and ended up going five innings (5 runs, 5 hits, 2 first inning pickoffs) to earn the win.
Dominion went ahead in the top of the first inning on an RBI single from Chris Taylor.
Then, in the third, the Titans scored three more runs to go ahead 4-0. Jonathan Noro and Ryan Doyle had RBI singles in the inning, and Anthony Bartolotti had an RBI walk.
But Broad Run came back in the bottom of the fourth inning behind four singles, four stolen bases and five Dominion errors. Andrew Mann had an RBI single in the breakout inning, but the other three runs were the result of Titan errors.
Broad Run scored another run in the fourth on a solo home run by Mann over the left field fence.
Dominion, following its three runs in the third, did not score again as Shain held them scoreless in both the fourth and fifth stanzas before reliever Shane Vlasic tossed shutout ball over the sixth and seventh innings.
Broad Run had multi-hit games from Mann (2 runs, 2 RBIs), Trey Brocke (2 singles) and JP Devlin (double, single).
Good games at the plate for Dominion came from Matt Sherrill (2 walks, 2 runs), Chris Taylor (2 hits), Bartolotti (double, 2 walks), Noro (RBI single) and Doyle (RBI single, walk). Taylor, a junior, took the loss on the mound in six innings of work. He struck out five.
Broad Run is headed for regionals for the second straight year. Last year, the Spartans won a first round region playoff game over Monticello High of Charlottesville before losing to Turner-Ashby of Bridgewater.