Westfield 9, Lee 3

Two big innings and five home runs lifted Westfield to its first Virginia AAA Northern Region baseball championship yesterday, as the Bulldogs defeated Lee, 9-3, in the title game at Robinson.

After taking a 3-0 lead in the first inning, fifth-ranked Westfield (18-6) broke open the game with a five-run fifth, three runs coming on senior catcher Jason Bour's second home run of the day.

Senior Matt Campbell added a solo home run as the Bulldogs extended their lead. Junior shortstop Brandon Snyder ignited the inning with a leadoff double and scored on an RBI single by Adam McDermott.

Westfield's hitters "swung as good as any team I've seen all season," said Lee Coach David Gardziel, whose Lancers were making their first appearance in a regional baseball final.

"And when we made mistakes, they took advantage of them. That's what a good team will do."

Both teams will play in Tuesday's state quarterfinals, with Lee (14-11) visiting the winner of today's Northwestern Region final between Colonial Forge and Halifax. Westfield will host the loser of that game.

Westfield's first three runs came when Snyder launched a two-run home run to left field and Bour followed with a solo homer that sailed past the 351-foot mark in right field.

"We knew at the beginning of the season that our strength would be our ability to swing the bats," Snyder said.

"This was huge. We just want to continue this into states."

Lee got to Westfield senior pitcher Louis Ullrich in the top of the second inning, scoring twice on three hits and three errors. But Ullrich got out of a bases-loaded jam with a fly out and Westfield had little trouble from there.

Ullrich "is such a fighter," Snyder said. "I think that inning was the best thing that could have happened to him, because he overcame adversity. It hasn't always been like that. So now he knows he can fight back."

After Westfield's five-run fifth, Lee got one run back in the top of the sixth inning on junior Pat Fitzgerald's RBI single.

Westfield added another run in the bottom of the inning when Ullrich, who had been intentionally walked in two prior plate appearances, smacked a solo home run to left field for the final margin.

"It was just good hitting, and the fact that we were getting good hitting counts," Westfield Coach Chuck Welch said. "We were aggressive. [The players] just picked a great game in which to execute."

Westfield shortstop Brandon Snyder leaps, turns, throws over Lee's Jarad Koph. Snyder doubled, homered for Bulldogs. "This was huge," he said.