St. John’s finishes atop Post baseball rankings after WCAC, DCSAA championships


AJ Lee paced St. John’s at the plate and was efficient on the mound during the Cadets’ run to WCAC and DCSAA titles. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

St. John’s buzzed through the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference with eight consecutive victories to open conference play en route to the regular-season title.

Then, in the the WCAC tournament gantlet, they took their game up a notch, outscoring opponents 33-7 with three shutouts. The Cadets (26-6) defeated O’Connell in the WCAC final, 16-0, for the school’s 16th conference title and capped their season with a D.C. State Athletic Association championship to earn the top spot in The Post’s final rankings. St. John’s last finished No. 1 in 2005.

“Playing at St. John’s comes with a lot of pressure. We always are expected to win it, and if we don’t, it’s a bad season or we failed,” senior center fielder Brodie Leftridge said. “It’s a lot of pressure, but we did a great job of putting it to the side and playing ball.”

Leftridge, a Tennesse signee, hit .320 with 22 RBI and 21 stolen bases to earn second team All-Met honors. Cadets junior first-team All-Met AJ Lee, a Maryland commit, held a team-high batting average of .471 to go along with a 1.14 ERA on the mound.

The Cadets have produced 56 Division I players in Coach Mark Gibbs’s eight years at the helm, but a WCAC title had eluded their grasps for the past two seasons. Before the team took the field in early March, the focus was on the team over the individual and finishing the job.

The season didn’t look so promising after a 1-3 performance at the Hall of Fame Spring Classic Tournament in Pompano Beach, Fla, in mid-March. But over the next two months, the Cadets lost just three games.

After claiming their first WCAC title since 2011, the Cadets then won the first D.C. State Athletic Association tournament, 6-3, over St. Albans.

“It feels great, especially with us never playing in the D.C. tournament and still winning it,” Leftridge said. “We had to regain all of our momentum after the WCAC tournament, and winning that puts the cherry on the top of the whole season.”

The Post Top 10

Led by North Carolina signee and All-Met player of the year JB Bukauskas, Stone Bridge ran off 22 straight wins and claimed its first Virginia 5A North region title. . . . All-Met Coach of the Year Terry Terrill guided Riverdale Baptist to its 29th consecutive season with 20 or more wins and a fourth NACA title. . . . Repeat All-Met Cody Morris threw a two-hit gem in the Maryland 3A title game to lead the Gators to their first state crown. . . . Chesapeake’s pitching staff reeled off 32 straight scoreless innings en route to the Maryland 4A championship. . . . Loudoun Valley (Virginia 3A) was lone area Virginia school to win a state title.

1. St. John’s (26-6) LW: 4

2. Stone Bridge (23-2) LW: 1

3. Riverdale Baptist (24-6) LW: 5

4. Reservoir (22-2) LW: NR

5. Chesapeake (23-2) LW: NR

6. Madison (20-2) LW: 2

7. Spalding (24-4) LW: 10

8. Poolesville (20-2) LW: 3

9. Flint Hill (21-7) LW: 9

10. Loudoun Valley (25-3) LW: NR

Also considered: Atholton (19-2), Chantilly (18-8), Gaithersburg (20-3)

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