George Mason’s High School’s boys varsity baseball team brought a 10-game winning streak into a crucial game in Strasburg on Thursday, May 13. After Mason dropped that contest by a 4-0 score, the Mustangs and Strasburg have identical 8-1 records in district play.
Both teams concluded their regular season on Wednesday, May 19, after this newspaper’s deadline. If Mason and Strasburg remained deadlocked, they’re set to play a one-game playoff for the regular season title before heading into district tournament action next week.
Mason’s stellar senior pitcher Brian Lubnow and his defense held Strasburg scoreless for three innings. But in the fourth, the Rams got three men on via two walks and an infield bunt single, and then their No. 9 batter, right fielder Tyler Himelright, hit a double which scored them all. The Rams added a fourth run later in the inning when their pitcher, Zach Cover, placed a flare down the right field line that eluded three Mason defenders and scored Himelright.
Against Mustangs relief pitcher Max Kaplow, Strasburg would score no more for the rest of the game. But they didn’t need to, because Mason could not get anything going against Cover, who threw a complete-game, three-hit shutout.
After its winning streak was halted, George Mason’s baseball team got back on track the very next afternoon, scoring a resounding 11-1 win over visiting Rappahannock.
Mason recognized its six seniors — Lubnow, P.J. Anderson, Quinn Casteel, Evans Mandes, Tyler Roth, and Michael Wolfe — before the game, and the seniors amassed hits and runs in abundance against the Panthers, putting the Mustangs up 10-0 after four innings, as Roth pitched a no-hitter. The good times were interrupted by a torrential downpour in the fifth inning that forced Roth to work fast on an increasingly slippery pitcher’s mound: conditions that ultimately led to a half-hour rain delay.
When play resumed, Roth quickly retired the Panthers to keep the no-hitter intact. And in the bottom of the fifth, Mason scored again to regain a 10-run advantage, bringing the game to an end due to the “mercy rule.”
The win lifts Mason’s overall record to 13-6. The Web site HighSchoolSports.net ranks the Mustangs No. 7 among all of Virginia’s 86 single A baseball teams, two notches below No. 5 Strasburg.