Prep Baseball Report

Western Branch Rallies to Win 6A Crown

Click to edit entry

Follow @PBRVirginiaDC 
+ Periscope

By John Nolan
Virginia Assistant Director and Content Manager

Fairfax-A warm Saturday afternoon in June saw Robinson Secondary School host the 6A State Championship game. The game was a rematch of the 6A South Region championship game between Frank Cox and Western Branch. Cox won that meeting 4-3 on a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning a week earlier. Both teams played and won their semifinal matchups courtesy of a pair of dominant pitching performances from senior aces. In the championship game, Western Branch sent sophomore Antonio Velasquez (Old Dominion) to the mound for the start and Cox went with senior Peyton Porter.

Things got started quickly in the top of the first for Western Branch as a one-out error allowed Conner Butler to reach base. Singles by Tucker Shaver and Rufus Hurdle (Old Dominion) loaded the bases. Another error allowed Butler to score the first run of the game and kept the bases loaded. Porter was able to escape with no further damage courtesy of a pop up to shallow right and a comebacker. In the bottom of the first, Cox leadoff man Hogan Brown (VCU) was able to reach base on a bunt, but the Falcons couldn’t muster anything else and after one complete inning the Bruins led, 1-0.

The second inning went quickly as did the top of the third. In the bottom half of the third, Velazquez got two quick outs and appeared to have a third one when Brown skied a fly ball into right. The Bruin rightfielder lost the ball in the sun and it fell in safely for a double. Andrew Teixeira (Randolph-Macon) was up next and punched a ball through the middle of the infield and drove in Brown to tie the game up at 1.

Porter worked a perfect top of the fourth and Cox got the bats going again in the bottom half of the inning. Austin Cabone (George Mason) led the inning off with a single to center and Shane Stinard also singled to put two on with no outs. After a popped up bunt attempt, Cabone and Stinard successfully executed a double steal to put themselves in scoring position. Velasquez got his second out on a strikeout, but centerfielder Colton Harris delivered a two out single, driving in both runs and giving Cox a 3-1 lead after four innings.

In the top of the fifth, Western Branch got two with no outs after a pair of singles, but a line drive double play off of Shaver’s bat ended the inning with no runs scoring. In the bottom of the fifth, Brown reached base on a bunt single and stole second to put himself in scoring position. He would score when Cabone delivered a two-out double, extending the Falcon lead to 4-1 after the fifth.

In the top of the sixth, Hurlde led off for Western Branch and drew a walk. Junior catcher Ethan Alexander mashed a double to deep left-center and Connor Epley drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. The Bruins picked up a run on groundout to third, which moved the tying runs into scoring position. Trent Jones (Gardner-Webb) then hit a ball that just fell in for hit, scoring one run, and he hustled out of the box to end up on second. With the score now 4-3 and with one out in the inning, Western Branch had the tying run on third and the go-ahead run in scoring position. Cox brought the infield in when Porter got ahead of Jay Patto (King) and left it in as he battled to a full count. After an extended at-bat, Porter was able to strike out Patto for the second out of the inning. That turned the lineup over to leadoff man and senior shortstop Connor Rhem. Rhem came through with a single up the middle, driving in both runs, and taking second base on the throw home. He then scored an insurance run when Butler singled to center. Cox went to the pen and reliever Kole Register was able to get the last out, but Western Branch now led, 6-4.

The Bruins also went to the pen to start the sixth inning, bringing in lefty Bryce Sommerfeldt to relieve Velazquez. Sommerfeldt worked around a one-out hit by pitch to put up a scoreless inning and the game went to the seventh with the Bruins ahead 6-4.

Register worked a perfect top of the seventh and Cox came to the plate chasing two runs with 9-1-2 due up. Sommerfeldt got a strikeout to open the inning, the Brown picked up his third hit of the day, reaching on a single in the 3.5 hole and moving to second when the throw got away at first. Teixeira lined out softly to second base for the second out and Cabone skied a fly ball to right that was caught, ending the game and giving Western Branch the 6A State Championship with a final score of 6-4.

Western Branch
Rhem 3-4, 2 RBI, R
Butler 1-4, RBI, R
Shaver 1-4
Hurdle 1-3, R, BB
Alexander 1-4, R, 2B
Epley 0-3, BB, R
Gottlieb 0-3, RBI
Jones 1-3, 2B, RBI, R
Patto 1-3 

Velasquez 5 IP, 4 R, 6 H, 0 BB, 3 K
Sommerfeldt 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 HBP, 1 K 

Brown 3-4, 2 R, SB
Teixeira 1-4, RBI
Cabone 2-4, R, RBI, 2B
Stinard 1-3, R, SB
Hawley 0-3
A. Hudgins 0-2, HBP
Harris 1-3, 2 RBI
Z. Hudgins 0-3
Reid 0-2
Matteo 0-1 

Porter 5.2 IP, 6 R, 9 H, 2 BB, 1 K
Register 1.1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K


Check the VA/DC Scout Blog later this week for scouting reports on players from this game.