After capping a complete-game win against Centreville on June 4, Lake Braddock right-hander Lyle Miller-Green turned to his left on his home field’s mound, pumped his right fist and let out a yell. At that moment, Bruins catcher Connor O’Grady-Walsh performed the same celebration from behind home plate.
Miller-Green has been so in sync with his catchers this season, even their postgame exuberance is identical.
On Friday afternoon, Miller-Green, the All-Met Player of the Year, will lead the No. 4 Bruins into the Virginia Class 6 semifinals at Deep Run High in Glen Allen against James River-Midlothian.
No. 2 Westfield, playing in the Virginia Class 6 semifinals Friday morning, also will lean on one of the area’s top arms, Joe Clancy, in search of its first state championship.
“It’s the best overall season I’ve ever seen a high school kid have,” Lake Braddock Coach John Thomas said about Miller-Green.
The Virginia Class 6 semifinals were originally scheduled for June 7. Westfield jumped out to a 7-0 lead over Ocean Lakes in its semifinal game and played 1½ innings before the semifinal games were postponed until Thursday because of rain. Thursday’s games were postponed, too.
The semifinal games are now at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Friday before the championship game at 5 p.m. at RF&P Park in Glen Allen.
Pitchers are allowed 110 pitches in one day, so Thomas plans to use Miller-Green in the semifinals and possibly preserve him if the Bruins reach the state championship game.
Miller-Green has spearheaded Lake Braddock’s success after it returned two starters from last season’s team that fell in the state semifinals. The senior is 6-0 with 0.94 ERA and 84 strikeouts. At the plate, he’s hitting .429 with an area-best 11 home runs.
Miller-Green began the season as Lake Braddock’s closer before becoming a starter.
“We’ve had some really good pitchers,” Thomas said. “But we haven’t had anybody tougher than him.”
Westfield will take a different approach with Clancy. The Bulldogs plan to start left-hander Nick Lottchea in their semifinal game against Ocean Lakes and hope to save Clancy if they qualify for the final.
Clancy pitched Westfield to its first state tournament berth since 2004. The Maryland Baltimore County commit is 9-0 with a 0.58 ERA and 112 strikeouts for a staff that has recorded an area-high 16 shutouts.
“Joe has exceeded expectations,” Westfield Coach Rob Hahne said. “His velocity increases from last year to this year have made him a different pitcher.”
After dropping its first five games, Riverside will play in the Virginia Class 4 championship game after beating Great Bridge, 3-0, in the state semifinals at Salem Memorial Stadium.
Infielder Carson Swank gave the Rams a 1-0 edge in the third inning with an RBI single. Swank then scored on a balk in the sixth inning before infielder Ryan Murray’s sacrifice fly in the seventh. Right-hander Gunner Canary threw a complete game.
Riverside (18-7) is making its second state championship game appearance in its four-year history. Two years ago, the Rams fell to Turner Ashby in the Virginia Class 3 title game.
Riverside, which is riding a 15-game winning streak, will play Lafayette on Friday morning at Salem Memorial Stadium in the title game.
Brentsville lost to Fluvanna County, 5-4, on a walk-off home run in the Virginia Class 3 baseball semifinals at Kiwanis Field in Salem.