The Fairfax High baseball team was beginning to play better following a disheartening 0-4 start to the season. The Rebels, following the four straight losses out of the gate — all by one run — put together a nice stretch of ball, winning three of four games. But recent consecutive losses had Fairfax carrying a 3-6 record as the team competed at this week’s McLean/W.T. Woodson Spring Break Tournament.
The Rebels, under head coach Rich Freeman, had a tough outing on Monday in their first game at the spring break tournament, losing to non-district opponent West Potomac, 11-1. The non-district game between the two Northern Region teams took place at McLean High School, one of the two host sites — the other being W.T. Woodson— of the tournament.
Fairfax was scheduled to open the spring break tournament last Saturday with a game against Yorktown High, but rain wiped out that game and the other slate of tournament contests tabbed to be played at McLean and Woodson. The game with Yorktown will possibly be made up this week on Thursday, April 21. Fairfax was scheduled to play Kettle Run High (Fauquier County) in a tournament game on Wednesday afternoon, April 20 at Woodson.
With Monday’s spring break tournament loss to West Potomac, Fairfax slipped to 3-6 on the season. West Potomac, meanwhile, evened its record to 5-5. Fairfax, in the game shortened to six innings due to the 10-run mercy rule, could not get a handle on Wolverine starting left-handed pitcher Jayme Murray, who over his six innings and 80 pitches of work allowed just one run and five hits while striking out seven and walking one. It was his second win of the season.
Meanwhile, Fairfax could not hold down a potent West Potomac offense that broke through for 10 hits. The Wolverines took control of the game early with nine first inning runs. At one point during the signature inning, West Potomac hit seven consecutive singles.
"We were hitting the ball hard, no real bloop hits," said West Potomac coach Jim Sullivan, of his team. "There were some hard groundballs through the infield."
<b>FAIRFAX</b>, in its final game prior to spring break, struggled with the bats in a 5-2 Liberty District home loss to South Lakes last Thursday, April 14. That game, played on a warm evening in Fairfax, saw the visiting Seahawks benefit from a stellar outing from pitcher John Beck, who scattered seven hits while striking out four and walking just one in the complete game win. Beck, a right-hander, consistently stayed ahead in the count, throwing a first-pitch strike to 21 of the 29 Fairfax batters he faced.
South Lakes scored twice in the first inning and once in the fifth to carry a 3-0 lead into the late innings. Fairfax came back and scored a single run in the bottom of the fifth inning. But the Seahawks answered with two insurance runs in the sixth. Fairfax tallied a single run in the bottom of the sixth inning to get within 5-2. Following a scoreless Seahawk seventh, Beck yielded a pair of singles to start the bottom of the seventh before settling down. He coaxed an infield pop-up for the first out, than benefited from an infield double play to end the game.
Fairfax’s 3-6 record is not all that bad when one considers the Rebels were 0-4 at one time. The locals played defending state AAA champion West Springfield right to the final out in a 4-3 season-opening home loss on March 18. The following day, in a Saturday noontime game at Woodson, the Rebels lost another close game at 6-5.
The Rebels opened their Liberty District schedule on March 22 at Madison, annually one of the better teams in the Northern Region. In that game, Fairfax fell on the short-end of another one-run affair, 8-7. Three days later, the Rebels’ record went to 0-2 in district play with a 2-1 loss to home team Marshall.
But coach Freeman’s squad experienced its first win of the season in Fairfax’s next game, a 10-8 home win over district rival Langley on March 29. That was followed with an April 1 district home win over Stone Bridge, 3-1.
Fairfax saw its short two-game win streak stopped in a 6-1 district road loss at McLean on April 6. But the following week, in an April 11 make-up game at Jefferson, the Rebels broke out in a big time way offensively, winning the district affair 17-6, to improve their record to 3-5.
This week, Fairfax was looking to rebound from its spring break tournament game loss to West Potomac with a couple of tournament victories. Next week, the Rebels will resume their district schedule with a home game versus Marshall on Tuesday, April 26.
Fairfax’s team roster is made up of: junior Mitch Ardinger, junior Indiana Berman, sophomore Walker Carlson, junior James Chang, junior Kevin Feehan, sophomore Brandon Ginch, junior Alex Glaum, junior Zach Hoeth, senior Tyler Lescure, senior Dylan Lescure, junior Sean Ranson, sophomore Kyle Rohlfing, junior Carter Scheffler, junior Kody Sherlund, junior Jeff Southall, senior Harrison Stewart, senior Joe Vanderplas, junior Kyle Walsh and junior Sam Weaver.