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Baseball: Centreville searches for first district title

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You’ll find the Centreville baseball team, winner of 11 of its first 12 games this season, squarely entrenched between bitterly disappointed and itching to make program history.

The Wildcats are still irked they did not qualify for the 16-team Virginia AAA Northern Region tournament last season. At the same time, they are eager to snag the 22-year-old school’s first district baseball championship.

Their not having done so is one of those Really? They’ve never won one? Northern Region sports anomalies. Four of the other five Concorde District teams have won the title in the past five years.

“I thought as a team we underachieved a little bit last year,” said Centreville Coach Morgan Spencer, whose Wildcats were the district runner-up in 2010 but last season got knocked out by Chantilly in the first round of the Concorde tournament.

“We have a really strong group of seniors with good leadership and guys who are really focused. Not making regionals has definitely been something kind of burning their fires a little bit this year for sure.”

But if this is to be the year for Centreville, it won’t be easy. The six Concorde District teams enter the week a combined 44-18, with six of those losses to other district teams. And of the six Concorde games played so far, five have been decided by one run, and the other was a 3-1 game. In those six victories, the winning team scored as many as five runs only one time.

That packed nature is why earlier this season, even before any of the Concorde teams had played each other, Westfield Coach Chuck Welch referred to it as “the district from hell.”

On Friday, Centreville handed No. 7 Herndon its first loss, a 4-3 home win in which the final two outs were recorded at home plate after the Hornets had rallied for two runs in the seventh.

For the second out, Centreville senior shortstop Kevin LaChance, a UMBC signee, backhanded a ball and threw out a runner at home. To end the game, senior reliever Mitch Ferrick threw to senior catcher Bobby San Martin (James Madison) to rub out a runner who left third early trying to score while a teammate got in a rundown.

Junior Carson Bach, senior Mitch Mahoney and Ferrick have led the pitching staff; Ferrick quarterbacked Centreville to a Division 6 runner-up finish last fall. Senior first baseman Ryan Henson and LaChance are each batting about .400.

Centreville hosts Westfield (6-4, 0-2) on Tuesday and plays at No. 9 Oakton (6-4, 0-2) on Thursday.

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