Tough Pitching Slows Highlanders Down Over Spring Break

Tough Pitching Slows Highlanders Down Over Spring Break

But McLean remains unbeaten in Liberty District softball play this spring.

The McLean High girls' softball team went up against some stiff competition at the Madison High Spring Break Tournament in Vienna over the last two weeks.

The recent poor weather conditions continued at the tournament. Nevertheless, the Highlanders were able to get in three of their scheduled five games. The other two are set to be made up later this week.

McLean went up against some pretty quality competition and pitching and as a result struggled to generate a lot of offense in its three games at the tournament. The Highlanders lost two close contests - 3-1 to Stonewall Jackson (Manassas) and 3-2 to Northern Region opponent Westfield High.

McLean pitcher Lauryn Hahne put together two quality outings in both losses. But along with the struggle to score runs in those two contests, McLean struggled defensively as well according to head coach Maurice Tawil.

"In both those loses, our defense did not support the outstanding pitching by sophomore Lauryn Hahne," said Tawil. "We also didn't hit well enough to make-up for our sub-par defense. But, we need to give credit to [the opposing] pitchers."

The loss versus Stonewall Jackson was the first of the entire season for McLean, the defending state AAA champions who started this season 7-0. The Highlanders, in the loss to Stonewall, managed six hits at the plate and the one run. Hahne allowed just four Raiders batters to get base hits in her stellar effort for McLean.

<b>MCLEAN</b>, despite its tournament losses to both Stonewall and Westfield, did get a nice victory over a tough C.D. Hylton High (Woodbridge) club, 2-0, on Monday, April 18, at Madison.

In that game, McLean's Grace Henry drove in the winning two runs with a double over the center fielder's head. Freshman Christi Geisler, meanwhile, went 3-for-3 at the plate, with two doubles. The winning pitcher for McLean was seasoned standout Jamie Bell, who remained unbeaten on the season.

McLean will conclude the tournament with games versus both West Potomac and Marshall High Schools this Saturday, April 30. Both opponents, like McLean, are members of the Northern Region. Marshall is also a fellow member with McLean of the Liberty District.

Going into this week, McLean was 9-2 overall. The team is a perfect 7-0 in Liberty District play.

The Highlanders have been led this season by seniors Bell and Jesse Straub, as well as junior Allison Wilhelm. Bell, who is unbeaten on the mound, is also contributing mightily at the plate with a batting average at around the .500 mark. Straub, meanwhile, has been outstanding defensively and is also hitting near .500 with good power numbers. And clean-up hitter Wilhelm is leading the team in home runs while also batting near .500.

This week, the Highlanders were scheduled to resume regular season play within their Liberty District. McLean was scheduled to play at home versus Fairfax High on Monday, April 26, before traveling to Jefferson High the following day (April 27) for a game versus the Colonials. This Thursday evening at 6:30, McLean will be at home versus South Lakes. Then, of course, the locals will conclude play in the Madison Tournament on Saturday.

Next Tuesday, May 3, McLean will be at home against district rival Madison for a 6:30 p.m. game. It will be the second meeting of the season between the two district foes. McLean won at Madison on April 1 by a 5-2 score. In that first meeting between the Highlanders and Warhawks, Highlander RBIs came from Straub, Bell, and Wilhelm. On the mound that evening, Bell allowed 11 base hits but held the hard-hitting Madison team to just the two runs.

Coach Tawil realizes the Highlanders have quite a challenge in all the games they are scheduled to play over the next several days, especially when it comes to the district games.

"We have several big games coming up and we will need to continue improving in order to stay atop a talented Liberty District," said Tawil.