GLEN ALLEN, Va. — Before running around the bases and jumping with his teammates at home plate, Lake Braddock outfielder Lyle Miller-Green took a moment to enjoy his final high school home run.
Miller-Green strolled down the first base line Friday evening and watched the ball sail toward left field and into the woods behind RF&P Park’s fence. When the ball hit the ground, the senior flipped his bat toward his team’s dugout and began celebrating.
Miller-Green’s homer in the sixth inning of the Virginia Class 6 championship game put the finishing touches on No. 4 Lake Braddock’s 6-2 win over No. 2 Westfield and helped the Bruins claim their first state title since 2012.
“I tried to admire my last high school hit,” said Miller-Green, the All-Met Player of the Year. “It’s really been a surreal ride. Everyone’s worked their tails off for about a year to get back here and win.”
Last year, Lake Braddock lost to eventual champion West Springfield in the state semifinals. Then the Bruins endured turnover.
John Thomas, who was an assistant for four years, took over as head coach in July. The Bruins returned just two starters.
Thomas felt Lake Braddock could have beaten West Springfield with more aggressiveness. Beginning in summer workouts, players went through a cycle of pushups, pullups and situps to build strength.
“We kept [last year’s loss] fresh the whole offseason,” Thomas said. “That theme of toughness all year long — the kids embraced it. To come out and see us do it this way, it’s a great feeling.”
Lake Braddock’s lineup has been one of the area’s most consistent this season, and it showed against Westfield (24-4). With the score tied at 2, Miller-Green opened the fifth by reaching base on a line drive. Then, the Bruins (26-3) scored three runs.
The next inning, Miller-Green belted his area-high 12th home run this season off a change-up.
Because of weather-related postponements, the Class 6 semifinals and championship were played on the same day. The Bruins beat James River-Midlothian, 9-6, on Friday afternoon in the semifinals.
Pitchers are allowed 110 pitches per day. Lake Braddock left-hander Jay Cassady tossed 33 pitches in the semifinal game before throwing 4⅔ scoreless innings in the championship.
“I wanted to be tough and focus on throwing strikes,” Cassady said. “It’s just awesome to be in this position. We’ve [won] once this year with regionals, but it’s nothing like states.”
Miller-Green, who propelled the Bruins to this stage, got his hands on the state championship trophy first. After posing for photos, the George Mason signee relished the moment, kissing the trophy and handing it to Thomas.
“This is ours,” Miller-Green told Thomas, still wrapping his head around his team’s milestone.