2024-06-22 8:44 AM

Mustang Rally: George Mason Baseball Gets Hot

The George Mason Mustangs collected two wins last week, slugging Dominion and Madison County high schools. The victories put the team at 3-0 in league play and 5-5 overall.

The George Mason Mustangs collected two wins last week, slugging Dominion and Madison County high schools. The victories put the team at 3-0 in league play and 5-5 overall.

In the April 14 game against Dominion, Tyler Duncan got the Mustangs’ offense started in the second inning with a single. He advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Evans Mandes and scored Mason’s first run on a bunt single by Michael Wolfe. Then Tyler Roth singled, Stephen Lubnow’s double drove in Wolfe and Roth, Lubnow scored on a Dominion error, and Mason was up 4-0 at the inning’s end.

Mason pitcher Max Kaplow sat the Titans down 1-2-3 in the third, just as he had in the first two innings. In the bottom of the third, six of the Mustangs’ first seven batters reached base: Quinn Casteel (single), P.J. Anderson (walk), Duncan (single), Mandes (walk), Roth (double) and Lubnow (single). Dominion finally brought in pitching relief, but by then Mason had scored five more runs for a 9-0 lead.

In the bottom of the fourth, Kaplow led off with a single and later scored on Duncan’s single. That made it 10-0, and when Dominion failed to score in the 5th, the slaughter rule was invoked, ending the game.

Lubnow and Duncan were both three-for-three at the plate, and Lubnow had four RBIs. Roth was two-for-two with two RBIs, and Kaplow batted two-for-three to go along with his shutout pitching; he threw a three-hitter, striking out six.

On April 16, Mason took its 2-0 Bull Run District mark down to Madison County for a league game against Madison County High at the Mountaineers’ field north of Charlottesville.

GM trailed 5-0 after two, but started showing fight in the third, when Roth smashed a ball to the fence and legged it all the way around for a score, aided by the Madison fielder who threw the ball wildly into the Mountaineers’ dugout.

In the fourth inning, the middle of the Mason order put together a string of solid at-bats: Kaplow led off with a double; a catcher’s interference call put Casteel on base; Duncan singled; Anderson hit a bases-loaded “suicide squeeze” bunt single for an RBI; and Mandes got a sacrifice fly. That all yielded two runs, trimming Madison’s lead to 5-3.

In the fifth inning, Mason went quietly 1-2-3, and when the sixth inning started with the first Mustang grounding out, a Mason rally seemed unlikely.

Then seven of the next eight Mason batters scored. Casteel was hit by a pitch and Duncan singled him in. Mandes doubled, scoring Duncan, and tieing the game at 5-5. Wolfe singled in Mandes, Wolfe scored on another smash to the outfield by Roth, Roth scored on a Lubnow single, and Lubnow scored on a hit by his brother Brian, who scored when Kaplow hit a ball that a Madison infielder booted.

Madison changed pitchers in the midst of the Mason outburst, but the Mustangs batted all the way around plus three and ran up to a 10-5 lead.

In the bottom of the sixth, Madison’s leadoff batter homered, but that would be his team’s last tally.

In the top of the seventh, the Mustangs’ first four batters reached base — Anderson doubled, Mandes singled, Wolfe walked, Roth singled — and all ultimately came in to score, boosting Mason’s lead to 14-6, its final margin of victory.

Mason used four pitchers — Roth started, and John Freeman, Casteel, and Brian Lubnow each pitched in relief.

The Mustangs’ week ahead includes two non-district contests against larger schools.

Tonight, April 22, they’ll play at George Marshall High, and Friday, April 24, they’ll host Broad Run High at high noon.





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