Baseball: Lake Braddock finally wins state title with 4-0 win over Kellam

Lake Braddock junior left-hander Thomas Rogers was throwing so well in the Virginia AAA championship Saturday afternoon at Westfield that he attracted some unlikely spectators — Kellam hitters.

Rogers, a University of Georgia commit, struck out 10 batters, including seven who watched called third strikes, in a 4-0 victory that gave the Bruins their first state baseball title after championship losses in 1988, 1993 and 1997.

(Richard A. Lipski/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST) - Junior left-hander Thomas Rogers led the Bruins to the state championship victory.

In addition to tossing a four-hitter and not allowing a runner past second base, Rogers hit a solo homer with one out in the third inning to give his team a 1-0 lead and provided the fourth run with a sacrifice fly in the two-run seventh.

“Everything and better than I expected,” Rogers said of the sensation of the Bruins winning the title after their fifth state berth in seven years. By wearing the No. 1 jersey, Rogers got his championship medal before any of his teammates, an appropriate hierarchy after such a dominant game.

The plan was to pitch inside fastballs to Kellam batters. Rogers’s curveball was equally effective, and it was that ability to throw all his pitches in any count that flummoxed the Knights (26-3), who were making their first state championship appearance.

After Rogers homered in the second inning, junior Garett Driscoll doubled in freshman pinch runner Evan Eschenburg, who had replaced sophomore Joe Darcy after Darcy had walked. The Bruins added two runs in the seventh, when junior Mitch Spille walked and another pinch runner, senior Nathan Parker, scored from first on a hit-and-run single by senior Dylan O’Connor. Rogers later drove him in with a sacrifice fly.

Kellam, the alma mater of Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, got runners on in the first, third and fourth innings before Rogers retired seven consecutive batters. Senior Mitch Moynihan, the losing pitcher, singled to lead off the bottom of the seventh, and senior Christian Vylonis reached on an error. The next three batters flied out, and after the third, purple Lake Braddock caps jubilantly took flight.

Before the Bruins (26-3) left school to bus to Westfield for the game, Lake Braddock Coach Jody Rutherford reminded them that they had the opportunity to do what no baseball team from their school had done. They were already thinking that way.

“Every year the goal is to be the best team in the state of Virginia,” Driscoll said, clutching the trophy. “And this year, we can finally say we did it.”

 
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