A grueling, 13-inning duel between the varsity baseball teams of Manassas Park and George Mason High School dragged on for nearly three-hours, ending with a final heart-pounding flourish and, of all things, a tie.
With the umpires declaring that the 13th would be the final inning of play, Mason’s Jimmy Piscopo reached base on an error to start the inning, then advanced to second on a passed ball and, with one out, stole third. That brought No. 3 hitter Alex Prewitt to the plate for the Mustangs. Ever the risk takers, Mason put on the suicide squeeze with two strikes in an attempt to end the game with a win. But when Manassas pitcher Nate Hoffa left his pitch well outside, it was all Prewitt could do to dive into the left handed batters’ box to try to make contact. Failing to do so, Cougar catcher Mike Mehus received the ball and chased a committed Piscopo back up the line for the game’s final out.
“[I] was trying to get the win with our best bunter at the plate,” Mason Head Coach Adam Amerine said. “[Hoffa] just threw it in a spot [Prewitt] could not get a piece of it. It was good execution on their part.”
It was an exciting ending to a game that was largely bereft of action, as both teams’ starters cruised through the first 10 innings, allowing just one run each. Mason’s Byron Mendenhall allowed just one hit after the second inning, but that runner would ultimately score after a misplayed fly ball with two outs resulted in an RBI triple.
For their part, the Mustangs scraped a few hits off of Cougar starter Gipper Breeden, but could seldom string any together to produce a run. In the bottom of the second, the Mustangs got three-consecutive singles from Matt Dorr, Mike Straub and Derek Blodgett to load the bases with no outs. All they could manage, however, was one run on an error by the Manassas shortstop before a miscue on the base paths and a pair of strikeouts ended the inning.
Though the tie doesn’t help them as much as they would have liked, the Mustangs are still in contention for a first-round bye pending the outcome of Mason’s game with Strasburg on Wednesday, May 16. The results of that contest were not available at press time. Should Mason lose, it would be the team’s first loss since April 26 and their first home loss of the season.
The Mustangs have turned things around of late, after a very slow start to their district season. With weather and field maintenance issues playing a role, Mason finished the first half of its district schedule with a mark of 2-3 and the team didn’t play its first home game until May 8. Since a 6-0 loss to Madison County on April 20, however, Mason has been unbeaten in the Bull Run District, including a pair of slaughter-rule victories against Rappahannock and Clarke County.
The most recent of those (a 10-0 five-inning victory over Clarke on May 11) featured a 3-for-4, four RBI day from Prewitt and a one-hit, nine strikeout performance on the mound by Straub.