Arts & Entertainment

AAU Colts Bolt to Fast Summer Start

Mason High Offshoot Team Begins Season 4-1-1

After disbanding for one year, the 18U Falls Church Colts have experienced a revival of sorts this summer, as the AAU team under the direction of George Mason High School varsity baseball coach Adam Amerine has gone undefeated in their first five games, compiling a 4-1-1 record.

Sporting new uniforms and flashy new hats, the Colts are comprised of players from Falls Church area high schools, and compete in the Northern Virginia Travel Baseball League, where they take on other varsity franchise teams from across the region. The majority of the Colts were members of the Mason varsity team, which finished the season 10-13-1, earning a Region B birth in the spring.

According to Amerine, the young Colts players have shown remarkable flashes of brilliance thus far. Using a platoon of pitchers on the mound, the Colts have built up a steady rotation, keeping the opposing hitters off balance.{highslide}816/COLTSLieberFinal.jpg{/highslide}

On the offensive end, Brian Lubnow, a rising junior and two-year varsity starter at Mason, has jumpstarted the Colts’ play with his timely hitting, something that he notes was absent from his spring season as a Mustang. In a game last weekend, Lubnow went 6-6 to lead his team.

“I just stopped thinking so much about hitting the ball,” said Lubnow about his recent performance. “After that, everything has come easy.”

Quinn Casteel, a regular outfielder and designated hitter for Mason, has turned in some quality innings on the mound. While he did not pitch much in the spring, the southpaw has been a “pleasant surprise” for Amerine.

Relying on one or two big innings on offense, as well as consistent pitching, the Colts have found themselves able to cruise to victory in the scorching summer heat against teams seemingly more interested in finding shade than mounting comebacks.

On Tuesday, the Colts dropped their first game of the season, 7-6, to the Thomas Jefferson High School varsity team in eight innings. Thirteen walks doomed the Falls Church team, as well as late defensive miscues down the stretch.

Lubnow, the number two starter for Mason in the spring, started on the bump for the Colts and promptly gave up three runs in the first inning. His squad battled back against the Nationals, taking a 5-3 lead entering the sixth inning.

In the bottom half of the frame, walks doomed Casteel, as the southpaw allowed two runs, squaring the score up at five apiece while in extra innings, the Colts once again lost a lead, as rising junior Tyler Roth allowed the Nationals to score a pair in the eighth, pushing the final to 7-6.

Despite the loss, numerous Colts players are seeing positives in playing summer ball with their spring teammates. Casteel noted that “the team is coming together pretty well, and we’re definitely building chemistry for next year.”

Saturday morning, the team will take on Langley High in a doubleheader beginning at 10 a.m. at George Mason High School. It will be an interesting matchup for Carl Hollinger, a spark for the Colts at the plate and on the mound, as the rising junior plays for the Saxons in the spring.