One by one, the Chargers walked toward the pitching mound at Robinson to receive their runner-up awards. And one by one, they returned to the group, not shaking hands or bumping fists, but hugging their way down the line.
This batch of players took Chantilly farther than it had ever been in the school’s 40-year-plus history, from its first region title to its first appearance in the state title game. And though the Chargers fell short of their ultimate goal, they will go down as the best team in Chantilly history.
“They have a lot to be proud of,” Coach Kevin Ford said, blinking into the sun. “That’s the best our school’s done. A region title. Just came up a little bit short.”
For some in the Chargers’ dugout, it was a familiar feeling. In 2009, a group of players — led by Sciorra and classmate Eason Recto — teamed up in Little League. The Chantilly American Majors all-stars reached the Southeast region final, which was televised live on ESPN, but fell one game shy of the Little League World Series.
“They’re my boys,” Sciorra said of the group. “I couldn’t ask for better teammates.”
Chantilly (18-8) beat Cosby in walk-off fashion Saturday to reach the state final, and its resolve was again put to the test Sunday. Western Branch (26-2) seized a 3-0 lead after four innings before the Chargers rallied in the fifth. A Bruins throwing error brought in one run, Colby Ryan smacked a two-run double to right field and Aaron Osborne’s RBI single put them ahead, 4-3.
The lead, however, was short-lived. Western Branch, which fielded five future Division I players and one Major League Baseball draft pick, strung three hits together and tacked on three more runs before the end of the inning.
“It took us a while to get into our approach,” Ford said. “We didn’t quite come with the approach we had last night. . . . Our kids battled out on the mound, but that’s a good team over there. They’re here for a reason, too.”
After the championship trophy was awarded, a handful of players grabbed sunglasses to mask their tears. Others sat on the bench, openly crying. Sciorra did neither, reflecting on everything this group has accomplished, from Little League to now.
“We’re the best in Chantilly history,” he said. “Can’t ask for more than that.”