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Win Over Stone Bridge Worth Wait for Chargers

Chantilly pitcher Bashaw holds down Bulldogs in baseball win.

Chantilly High senior baseball pitcher Will Bashaw, in his longest outing of the 2011 season, tossed five effective innings of relief to lead the Chargers to a 6-2 win over Stone Bridge High this past Monday evening, May 2 in Ashburn.

The non-district game had originally started way back on March 21. But rain forced the game to be halted after two innings. The suspended game was resumed again in pleasant weather conditions on Monday, with the five remaining innings being completed in less than 90 minutes.

Chantilly, which went on to lose the following day at Concorde District opponent and front-runner Oakton, 5-3, stands at 11-5 overall and 4-3 in the district going into this Friday night's 6:30 home game versus district and local rival Centreville.

In the suspended game win over Stone Bridge, Chantilly senior Dan Lawler was the starting pitcher over the game's first two innings on March 21. When the game got stopped, Chantilly held a 4-1 lead, thanks to a four-run, five-hit first inning. First inning highlights included singles by Jamie Danehower and Brian Morrow, RBI singles from Kevin Johnston and Tom Wood, and an RBI double by Collin Ryan.

In Monday's continuation of play, Bashaw, a right-hander, took the mound and gave the Chargers a strong showing, earning the win. Over his five innings of relief work, Bashaw allowed one run and two hits (both singles) while walking two and striking out one.

"That's the most he's pitched all year," said Chantilly coach Kevin Ford. "He threw a lot for us last year. That's the best he's thrown this year. He threw three pitches for strikes and his breaking pitch was real good."

Chantilly made several key defensive plays to help keep the Bulldogs at bay. The first came in the bottom of the third inning when Danehower, the Chantilly shortstop, made a diving catch to his left on a line drive off the bat of Brady Orrison. That was Stone Bridge's first at-bat of the resumed game and the first of six straight retired by Bashaw.

A second defensive gem came in the bottom of the sixth inning when, with two outs, Chantilly executed a fundamentally sound defensive play on a slow ground ball off the bat of the Bulldogs' Sid Harvey.

Chantilly second baseman Jake Acosta aggressively approached and fielded the ball before tossing to first base where Bashaw was covering, barely beating Harvey's bid for an infield single. Earlier that same inning, Chantilly catcher Kevin Johnston had thrown out a Stone Bridge runner attempting to steal second.

Stone Bridge scored its only run off Bashaw in the fifth inning, the stanza in which the pitcher gave up his only two hits. He allowed a leadoff single to center field by Ryan Johnston, who ultimately scored on a looping, two-out single into center by Spenser Rositano. But at the end of Rositano's run-scoring base hit, another Stone Bridge base runner was thrown out at third base for the final out of the inning.

<b>CHANTILLY</b>, at the start of Monday's resumed game, made a statement right away with a run in the top of the third inning to increase its lead to 5-1. Sonny Romine singled to left field with one out. Two batters later, he scored on a groundball off the bat of Acosta which resulted in an error. The Chargers scored again in the fourth inning. Collin Ryan grounded a single into left field and, two outs later, was perched on third base with two outs and Morrow at the plate. Ryan then scored on a wild pitch, giving his team a 6-1 lead.

Chantilly knocked around five more hits, singles by Romine, Danehower, Ben Langford, Sam Zimmerman, and Sam Hellman, over the final three innings but did not score. But it didn't matter much because Bashaw and the Chantilly defense had things well in control.

"He used the cutter and got a lot of ground balls," said Lawler, of his teammates' mound outing.

Chantilly is hoping to continue on what has been a successful winning season.

"I think we've had a really good season," said Lawler, of a Chargers' team which was 5-4 through nine games before reeling off six straight wins. "We started slow but have really heated up. It's about momentum and confidence. Our hitters are doing good going to the opposite field now. Pitching wise, were getting more and more confidence."

The win over the Bulldogs, a heralded program in recent years, was a nice one for the Chargers.

"Stone Bridge is a good team," said Langford, Chantilly's third baseman and No. 3 hitter in the batting order. "We want to show everyone we're a team to beat. I feel we're a little underestimated. We just need to stay focused and concentrate on finishing games out strong."

Ford, the Chantilly coach, said he and Stone Bridge coach Sam Plank were not certain the game between their two teams would ever be continued following the stoppage of play on March 21.

"I didn't know," said Ford. "There's been a lot of rain lately. We both said let's get through spring break and see where we are."