After sneaking past Episcopal in the quarterfinals of the IAC conference playoffs, the St. Albans baseball team went into Thursday’s semifinal game feeling equally matched with its opponent— the Bullis Bulldogs —despite being a lower seed.
“I wouldn’t say we were underdogs going into the game. The team didn’t look at it that that way,” St. Albans head coach Jason Larocque said. “I always say to my players that the team who plays the best on game day is the best team. It’s not about records or what happened in the past.”
And with only the present in mind, No. 3 St. Albans blew past No. 2 Bullis in a 10-3 victory led by clutch hitting and sound defense behind the solid pitching of junior Lane Miles.
“Today we came out really lively. Lane pitched a heck of a game, we got timely hits and made the best of their errors,” senior first baseman Chris Bodurian said. “The team just fired on all cylinders, which allowed us to win the game.”
Following a scoreless first inning, St. Albans’ batters quickly got on base in the top of the second. With runners in scoring position, sophomore infielder Nico Boyajian singled to second base bringing in senior outfielder Desmond Dahlberg from third for the first run of the game. After hitting a batter with a pitch and loading the bases, Bullis' senior starting pitcher Aron Wegner walked senior shortstop Joe Dobbins, which added another run to the scoreboard for St. Albans as the runner from third was brought in.
However, Bullis did not back down at the sight of St. Albans’ early 2-0 lead.
After an RBI single from freshman infielder Nathan Calem in the bottom of the second inning, Bullis narrowed the score to 2-1. In the bottom of the third with one out and runners in scoring position, Bullis first baseman Jackson Stoner grounded out to second base bringing in junior shortstop Josh Foreman from third. And following an RBI bunt single from senior outfielder Alex Fishman, Bullis took a 3-2 lead over St. Albans— its first and last lead of the game.
In the final four innings, St. Albans scored eight runs off of eight hits while Bullis’ batters went three up, three down in the bottom of each frame as a result of Miles’ pitching and the conscious defense surrounding him.
With this 10-3 win, the St. Albans Bulldogs will face the top seeded Georgetown Prep Hoyas (20-9, 10-0 IAC) in Saturday’s IAC championship game.
Although the Bulldogs dropped two games to the Hoyas earlier this season in which they were outscored 12-4, Larocque believes that the key to upsetting the regular season champions is to stick to playing their own game.
“We want to focus on pitching, making routine plays, and putting some pressure on their defense through base running, bunting, and slashing,” he said. “Things like this are apart of our game and we’re hoping to do them on Saturday.”
Saturday’s game will mark the second time in three seasons that St. Albans has reached the IAC championship. And for a player like Bodurian, who represents one of the team’s nine seniors, this game means a lot as his time in a St. Albans uniform winds down.
“It’s a dream come true to be able to play in the championship game as a senior,” he said. “Seeing as Landon took us down in the championship when I was a sophomore and we missed out last year after losing to them again in the semifinals, it feels great to be back.”
|Georgetown Prep Baseball||20-9||185||109||10-0||85||12|
|St. Albans Baseball||13-16||163||172||6-4||56||29|
|St. Stephen's & St. Agnes Baseball||5-17||71||162||3-7||38||58|