That game has been a reference point all season for the Warhawks, who have not lost since.
“These guys put so much time in that [when the season opener rolls around], it’s almost like trying to run a 100-yard sprint in a 50-yard stadium,” Madison Coach Mark Gjormand said. “We learned that we can’t press, and we have to have fun.
“It sounds corny. But we knew this was a good team and that once we got that spark going it would take care of itself. We talk about the Fairfax game quite often.”
The Warhawks got caught up in the drama for awhile in the Langley game and veered back into pressing mode before a double that got lost in the lights to lead off the 13th inning helped key the win. Madison had taken a 4-0 lead in the first two innings and then Langley shut down the Warhawks until the 13th.
Madison (17-1, 11-1 in the Virginia AAA Liberty District), whose previous six wins had come by a combined 43-3 score, relied on its deep pitching staff that night. Sophomore left-hander Brian Eckert, in relief of junior starter Nick Brady, threw the fifth through eighth innings and senior closer Daniel Bayer hurled the final five.
In the top of the 13th, senior Dan Powers led off with the misplayed double. Senior Logan Claybrook reached on a bunt single. Senior Jake Hall, who had homered earlier in the game, hit a grounder to the shortstop, and the runner was safe on the throw home. Sophomore John DeFazio knocked in two more runs with a hit up the middle.
“We needed that kind of game, and there will be more of those games,” said Gjormand, whose team plays Wednesday at McLean, where the Warhawks lost 1-0 in 14 innings last season.
With a talented, young pitching staff, Forest Park (12-6, 8-3 in the Virginia AAA Cardinal District) has allowed only 49 runs and has given up more than four runs in a game only three times this season.
The most intriguing Bruin pitcher, however, might be 6-foot-10 sophomore Colin Goss.
“He looks 7-10 instead of 6-10 out there,” Forest Park Coach Sonny Moss said. “The beauty of him is when he throws the ball it’s coming almost straight down. Even the umpires sometimes I think are confused with his strikes because the angle is so different. That confuses the hitter as well.
“By the time he lets go of it, realistically he’s probably throwing 53, 52 feet instead of 60 feet. That’s a big difference. It looks like it’s coming so much faster, because when he lets go of it, it’s right on top of you.”
Goss averaged 11.6 points for the Forest Park boys’ basketball team this past season. He is receiving college interest in both sports, Moss said.
Heritage had lost 10 of the last 11 games in the Potomac Falls series, including six in a row, until junior Zack Hopeck three-hit the Panthers in a 1-0 win last week. Hopeck took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and for the season has struck out 60 batters and walked two.
“It’s what we’ve come to expect out of him,” Heritage Coach Ryan Price said. “Our team needed a big win. We hit a little stretch there where we weren’t playing really good ball but we knew we had potential. It gives us a little confidence headed into the last week of the season and into the playoffs.”
Heritage’s last two regular season games are against Loudoun Valley and Briar Woods, teams the Pride (11-7, 10-4) lost to the first time through the Virginia AA Dulles District schedule. Four of the seven losses have been by one run.
Since losing to Whitman, Gaithersburg has won 10 of its last 11 games to lock up the top seed in the Maryland 4A West playoff bracket. . . . Centreville has won 11 straight and has sewn up the regular season title in the Virginia AAA Concorde District. . . . Battlefield’s only losses are to No. 1 Madison and a 1-0 setback against western Prince William County rival Patriot. . . .
1. Madison (17-1) LW: 1
2. DeMatha (22-5) LW: 4
3. Lake Braddock (15-3) LW: 3
4. St. John’s (21-5) LW: 2
5. Georgetown Prep (21-7) LW: 7
6. Gaithersburg (15-2-1) LW: 8
7. Centreville (15-2) LW: NR
8. Battlefield (15-2) LW: NR
9. North County (15-4) LW: 6
10. Paul VI Catholic (18-9) LW: 5
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