Ashburn, Va. (March 31, 2015) — The Stone Bridge Bulldogs absorbed their first setback of this baseball season with a 15-5, six-inning shellacking at the hands of Oakton on a sunny, windy, chilly afternoon.
The matchup was the championship tilt of the Bulldog/Titan Baseball Classic, a six-team spring break tournament hosted jointly by Stone Bridge and Dominion high schools.
The Bulldogs beat Woodson 5-1 and Chantilly 5-3 on March 30 to earn the next day’s title berth. Oakton had defeated Dominion and Lake Braddock.
Stone Bridge’s 15-year head coach Sam Plank took the blowout loss in stride, focusing on the season his Bulldogs (4-1) have begun and the potential they hold, coming off last year’s first-ever regional championship.
“Overall I’ve been pretty pleased,” said Plank, whose team also owns wins over McLean and Westfield. “We just need to tighten some things up. We haven’t been on the field much [due to weather] so now we’re seeing the hitters get a little better swinging in.
“I like the makeup we have.”
Oakton (4-0) looked pretty good that day. Big right-hander Connor Jones permitted one hit through four innings, and lefty-swinging shortstop Joe Rizzo – committed to the University of South Carolina – blasted a mammoth grand slam over the scoreboard in dead center.
With Stone Bridge weighed down by a 13-0 deficit after four frames, the contest could have been halted by the 10-run-difference-after-5-innings rule. But the Bulldogs showed some mettle in their half of the fifth.
Matt Fialdini singled to bring home Gary Fuller, then John Callahan singled to score Fialdini. Two batters hence, Eli Quiceno laced a ringing line drive to left-center, plating three teammates.
The Cougars pushed across two runs in the sixth, regaining their 10-run lead. The Bulldogs tried to keep the game going, loading the bases with one out, but a first-to-home double play brought it to an end.
Michael Kuzbel had a pair of base knocks on behalf of Stone Bridge, as did Fialdini.
For Plank, the strength of this year’s Bulldog club will usually be found standing on a hill 60 feet away from home plate.
Right-handers David Mocabee, Justin Zaferakis and Lawton Riggs, along with crafty lefty Brett Kreyer, comprise a formidable four-man rotation. Kreyer defeated McLean, Riggs beat Woodson and Mocabee – a key third baseman when not on the mound – pitched the Bulldogs past Chantilly.
Fuller – the sole sophomore on the Stone Bridge roster – and Pete Quinn can also be called upon for hurling duties.
Concerning the lopsided loss to Oakton, veteran baseball man Plank appeared to care not a whit.
“Games like today happen,” the coach said. “Just got to move forward…. It matters how you’re playing in May and June, that’s what matters.”
The Bulldogs next take the field April 7 with a home date against Fairfax.