The 2008 season of the George Mason High School varsity baseball team, a campaign that at times bore a likeness to a roller coaster ride, finally came to a close Monday night with a 3-2 loss to Luray in the quarterfinals of the Region B Tournament.
Tied at two in the bottom of the fifth inning, Luray plated the game-winning run on a flare over the right side of the infield that just tipped off the outstretched mitt of second baseman Mike Ward. The run was the first by Luray since the first inning, when the team broke ahead 2-0 on a two-run opposite field double by Jeremy Leake. After the first, Mason senior starting pitcher Mike Straub settled down into a dominant outing, striking out 12 and only yielding three more hits for the remainder of the game. However, with two outs in the fifth, Straub and the Mustangs experienced the sour side of the “game of inches,” as the eventual winning run trotted home when the flare fell to the ground.
The Mustangs knotted the contest at two in the top of the second against Luray starting pitcher Richard Galindez, a southpaw who has yet to drop a decision this year. After a double by senior Peter Campanelli moved Ward to third base, sophomore Brian Lubnow brought him home on a single up the middle. Campanelli crossed the plate shortly thereafter, taking advantage of a Luray miscue when Lubnow stole second base.
The loss ends a 2008 season with widely varying results for Mason (10-13-1 overall, 5-5 Bull Run). After being shut out in consecutive games by Strasburg and Madison County, the Mustangs responded by scoring 30 runs in their next game, a victory over Manassas Park. Mason then rattled off 14 runs, mainly through taking walks, in their district tournament opening round game against Rappahannock County.
The regional berth, earned by upsetting Bull Run District regular season runner-up Madison County in the semifinals of the district tournament, was the product of a young team’s willingness to scrap for every run and minimize mistakes in the field.
With the loss, the careers of seniors Straub, Campanelli, Alex Prewitt, Lonnie Millard and Ted Peetz come to a close.
Last week the Bull Run District title eluded the Mustangs, as Mason fell to Strasburg, 9-3, on Friday. Mason jumped on Strasburg early, scoring a pair of runs in the top of the first, however the Rams replied with five of their own in the bottom half of the frame to regain a lead they would never again relinquish.