Lake Braddock took control of its Virginia AAA state quarterfinal against Western Branch before most of the fans could find a parking spot last night, opening a 6-0 first-inning lead on the way to a 12-1 win.
"It's a lot easier to pitch when you're on top by so much," Lake Braddock starter Ethan Lare said.
Lare, Lake Braddock's third batter, nailed a two-run shot into the trees beyond left-center field, the easiest place to homer in the asymmetrical field at Fairfax High.
Two batters later, Garrick Evans hit a solo homer over the 371-foot sign in right-center. After watching Lare and Evans go deep, Kenny Rogers decided to take the easier route and homered to left-center. Rogers hit another homer to the same spot in the third.
Lake Braddock moved on to play Mills Godwin in a semifinal Friday in Norfolk.
Lare was perfect through three, but the first batter of the fourth inning, Carleton Bitgood, hit a home run to left-center field.
MILLS GODWIN 2, POTOMAC 0: Potomac junior center fielder Phil Arellano found the bright lights of the Virginia AAA state quarterfinals momentarily blinding.
That mistake and an effective performance by senior left-hander Tommy Edelblut was all Mills Godwin needed on its home field to pull out the victory over the fifth-ranked Panthers.
Arellano lost a ball off the bat of sophomore Derek Mitchell to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning, when the Eagles scored both their runs on RBI singles by sophomore Jay Murphy and junior Tripp Vint. He had committed only one error all season -- that on a bad hop -- and had two of his team's six hits last night.
HANDLEY 2, POQUOSON 1: In a Virginia AA quarterfinal in Winchester, Todd Lewis struck out 14, yielded four hits -- three of them in a one-run first inning -- and doubled in the go-ahead run as the Judges advanced to their first state semifinal game.
Handley (23-1) scored its first run on a squeeze play in the sixth and Lewis doubled to drive in Michael Leonard, making the score 2-1.
The Judges will play Lebanon, a 9-2 winner over Brookville, Friday at 2 p.m. in Salem.