The No. 2 Lake Braddock baseball team ran into the one type of opponent they could not defeat in its unexpected 1999 campaign.
Facing a pitcher that effectively mixed speeds and a team that manufactured rallies with speed and clutch hitting, the Burke school left Old Dominion University with a 6-0 loss to Central Region champion Mills Godwin in the Virginia AAA state tournament semifinals today.
"We were never comfortable at the plate today," Lake Braddock Coach Dan Griel said. "We can sit on the fastball of a pitcher that you know will bring it. And we can wait for the good ones with a breaking ball pitcher. But this type of pitcher at the high school level is tough."
Senior right-hander Doug McCray allowed only one runner as far as third base. He yielded seven hits, struck out four and got two double plays from his infield, including a high school rarity, a 3-6-3 double play.
Mills Godwin will play GW-Danville, a 4-1 winner tonight over First Colonial, for the state championship Saturday at Old Dominion at 2 p.m.
As McCray sailed along, Mills Godwin (23-4) took advantage of its scoring opportunities. Lake Braddock starter Bobby Bump gave up leadoff walks to Fletcher Lane in the first and third innings. Lane stole second base both times and Tripp Vint drove him in each time with a triple. That was the only offense the Richmond school needed.
Lake Braddock, which finished 19-7, entered the '99 season with only four starting seniors. But the Bruins were undefeated in Patriot District play and captured the Northern Region championship.
"We did a lot this season with not much depth and just three pitchers," said Griel, The Post's coach of the year. "This team did overachieve. They had a lot of heart."
Lake Braddock (19-7) 000 000 0 -- 0 5 0 Mills Godwin (23-4) 202 110 x -- 6 7 1 Bump, Prouty (3), Lare (5) and DiBari. McCray and Abbate. 3B: MG -- Vint 2. 2B: LB -- Ferguson; MG -- McCray. RBI: MG -- Vint 2, Matthews, Gragnani, Whitlow.