Washington-Lee baseball has played in Yorktown’s shadow in recent years in Arlington. So when the Generals topped the Patriots, 2-0, on Monday night in the Virginia AAA National District championship at Yorktown, there was more to it than a third seed knocking off the team that had won all 16 of its district games this season.
“Our guys were ecstatic. It was as much emotion as I’ve ever seen from a team I’ve coached,” said W-L Coach Doug Grove, in his 19th season guiding the program. “Just a really, really special win.”
It marked W-L’s sixth National District title and first since 2005. Yorktown had won five of the previous six district crowns.
Junior Hunter Gray threw the shutout, his team’s seventh consecutive win. He struck out 10 and walked three. The Generals (13-10) scored a run in the third inning when senior Justin Snow reached on a two-out RBI infield single after senior Zach Perlman had doubled to lead off the inning.
The Patriots (17-5), who had won the past five games in the series, had runners on first and second, both via walks, with one out in the seventh. Gray then struck out senior Daniel Overbeek, the district co-player of the year, who was 2 for 2 and had been intentionally walked earlier in the game. Gray coaxed a groundout back to himself to end the game.
Grove counted W-L alumni in attendance from every decade since the 1970s. The Generals have been sneakily consistent, earning regional berths for the past 11 years. Only Robinson has a longer streak. But the district championships have been elusive in recent years.
“We had 25 to 30 former players in the stands and they were really, really happy for our guys,” said Grove, whose team won the first National District title in 1995 and now has won the last, with the postseason format changing for next season.
“Yorktown has been real good over the years,” Grove added. “It’s neat for Arlington baseball when we play a big game like that. For a W-L guy, beating Yorktown to win the district is as good as it gets.”