Baseball: Forest Park advances to Northwest Region semifinals
By Preston Williams,
One of the overlooked benefits of advancing deep into the postseason is the ability to play a little oneupsmanship in the hallways in between playing opponents on the field.
Forest Park senior Conor McLaughlin takes pride in the fact that his baseball team is the last boys’ squad standing at his school.
“All my friends in lacrosse and soccer [are finished],” he said with sly satisfaction at practice Tuesday afternoon.
There are a lot of reasons why the Bruins were unlikely to be the sole survivor. They had to win a play-in game, a 4-0 victory over Potomac, just to reach the Cardinal District tournament. They knocked off higher-seeded teams Hylton and Osbourn Park to win the title and have beaten Patriot and Halifax in the first two rounds of the Northwest Region tournament.
“The play-in game was the turnaround game for us,” said Forest Park Coach Sonny Moss, whose team has given up two or fewer runs in 12 games.“They just finally clicked and they just finally realized that if we don’t do this, we’re going home, we’re done. I think that really resonated with them and they’ve been playing extremely well since then.”
Senior Charles Hall delivered a three-run homer in the 14-6 win at Halifax on Monday to help redeem the team’s three-and-a-half-hour bus ride. Sophomore Brian Mims hit a solo shot for the winning run in a 4-3 first-round victory over Patriot.
A win at Freedom-South Riding (17-6) at 6 p.m. Wednesday would give the Bruins (16-8) their first state tournament berth since 2007. Forest Park won the Cardinal title last year as a fourth seed but lost to Colonial Forge in the first round of regionals.
“We want to be better than the team we were last year,” Bruins senior Chris Colletti said. “In the beginning of the season we did not expect to get this far. Districts was probably our biggest goal. Regionals maybe if we’re lucky. But states would be a huge honor.”
“Plus, now, we can see how attainable it is,” McLaughlin said. “We just need that one more win.”