Potomac couldn't pull out a win last night in an 8-6 loss to George Washington-Danville in the Northwestern Region baseball championship, but in what has become the team's true fashion, the Panthers are down but not out.
Potomac (22-3) will travel to play Central Region champion Mills Godwin at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Virginia AAA state quarterfinals. GW-Danville (16-0), the state runner-up last season, will host Central runner-up Dinwiddie.
The Panthers showed glimpses of the kind of the comeback heroics they have exhibited of late, but they could overcome neither the Eagles' four-run first inning nor the virtually unhittable relief work of GW-Danville senior ace Whitt Farr, sharp despite hurling seven innings Wednesday in the region semifinal win over Albemarle.
Farr entered in the fifth and fanned the first five batters he faced before junior Phil Arellano led off the seventh by tripling to right field. Farr then whiffed senior Danny Lopaze on a full-count pitch before giving up a chop single to junior Steve Gonzalez that tightened the score at 8-6.
Freshman Mike Fravel fouled off two pitches with a 2-2 count before striking out, and sophomore Derrick Dent flied out to center field to end the game.
Potomac started senior Jose Pabon, who had pitched only 14 innings all season. He threw three wild pitches and recorded only one out before being replaced by seldom-used senior Oscar Arias.
"I felt comfortable, but they felt comfortable hitting me," said Pabon, who gave up five hits and a sacrifice fly to the six batters he faced.
Luis Portillo scored two second-half goals as top-ranked Hylton (19-1-1) rallied from a rare halftime deficit to defeat visiting Albemarle, 3-1, in the Northwestern Region boys championship game.
The only other time this season the Bulldogs trailed at the half was during a March 31 game against Oakton, a game Hylton eventually lost in penalty kicks, the Bulldogs only loss of the season.
In the Northwestern Region girls title game, Woodbridge beat Patrick Henry, 3-1, in Roanoke to set up a No. 1 vs. No. 2 state quarterfinal matchup. The second-ranked Vikings (18-0-2) will host West Springfield (17-1) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Spartans were upset by Robinson, 3-2, in the Northern Region final.
CAPTION: W-Danville catcher Earl Guilliams tags out Potomac's Danny Lopaze, who was trying to score on a hit by Steve Gonzalez, who was 3 for 3.
CAPTION: An angry Lopaze heads back to the dugout after being called out at home to end the second inning. The Panthers trailed, 6-4, at the time and lost the regional title game, 8-6.