Sports

Powerhouse: McLean Strong in Baseball, Softball, Soccer

Sports---McLean-Softball-McLean High School boys varsity soccer coach Mike Anderson, a 2000 graduate of the school, says that the Highlanders are having their best spring in more than a decade. McLean’s boys soccer, baseball and softball teams have all steamrolled their local opposition this season.

Sports---McLean-Softball-

McLean seniors (left to right) Carolyn Gilbertson, Brittany McCray, Megan Sullivan, Lauren McColgan and Lauren Sutherland. Their softball team is now 10-1 in district play. (Photo courtesy: Diana McColgan)

McLean High School boys varsity soccer coach Mike Anderson, a 2000 graduate of the school, says that the Highlanders are having their best spring in more than a decade.
McLean’s boys soccer, baseball and softball teams have all steamrolled their local opposition this season.
“The baseball coach, John Thomas has been here five or six years now,” Anderson said.
“The girls softball coach (Maurice Tawil)  is an absolutely brilliant guy, and he’s been here for a while. We have a bunch of really good coaches. Not to say that I’m a great coach, but I know the others are. And the coaches have been around long enough to teach their kids the way they want them to play, to implement systems. And now you’re seeing the results of that.”  
The McLean baseball team  is off to a 14-2 start to the season. The team’s only losses came in a pair of tournament games played in San Diego, California.    
The Highlanders have ripped their local opposition by a combined score of 102-18 this year, including a 15-6 threshing of Thomas Jefferson High on April 27, a 12-2 bulldozing of South Lakes High on April 30, and a 12-2 mauling of Madison High on May 4.
Senior pitcher Sean Fitzgerald has gone 5-0 with a 1.00 ERA for the Highlanders, coach John Thomas told the News-Press late last week, while senior Denis Buckley has gone 4-0 with a 4.27 ERA and sophomore Josh Sborz has gone 1-1 with a .64 ERA.
On offense, Fitzgerald, Buckley and senior outfielder Riley Beiro are leading the way.
Beiro is batting .543 with 19 RBIs, five homers and 12 stolen bases this year. 
Buckley is batting .362, and has three homers and 21 RBIs.
Fitzgerald is batting .413 and also has 21 RBIs.
McLean seniors Chris Russo and Jordan Ghannam are batting .432 and .357, respectively, and Sborz is also a threat for the team at the plate: Sborz is batting .310, has slugged two homers and has 11 RBIs. 
The News-Press bumped into members of the team at a local fast food establishment after their May 4 victory over Madison and asked about the win.
“We had 14 hits and no errors,” reported Buckley, who has committed to play ball at Charleston Southern University next year. “We came to play and got it done.”
McLean’s baseball team will host Fairfax High on May 7.
In boys soccer, the Highlanders  lost their first game of the year on April 22, when they were upended  3-0 by Madison High School.
The Highlanders are now 8-1-2 on the year, while the Madison Warhawks are currently 4-5-1.
After the loss to Madison, McLean tied Thomas Jefferson High 1-1 on April 28, beat Mount Vernon High 4-2 on April 30 and topped Fairfax High 6-3 on May 3. 
After the win over Fairfax, a plainly dissatisfied coach Anderson said that his team, for all its strengths, has a worrisome propensity for defensive lapses and uneven efforts.
Fairfax had the score tied in the second half, but Anderson said “I’m going to be cocky and say they didn’t put a scare into me. I was more concerned about my team. If they don’t play stupid, the result’s not in doubt. They made so many mental mistakes: We’re just not marking well. It’s as simple as that. That’s what’s going to kill us.
“The offense was fine,” Anderson continued. “Our possession, our movement, just about everything, tactically, is good, buy it depends which McLean team shows up. There’s a McLean team that was ranked nationally and can compete with any team in the country. And there’s a McLean team that can be very average. But the education, the training, the understanding is there.”
Looking back at his team’s sole defeat, Anderson said that McLean “scored two goals that were called back and then we mentally broke down. We got a red card, went to 10 men, then we let in a cheap goal, and we just lost our heads. We self-destructed.”
The Highlanders will finish the regular season with home games against Langley High on May 7 and against Stone Bridge on May 13.
The softball team, meanwhile, lost its first league game of the year on May 4, falling 4-2 to Madison. The team will finish its year with games at Stone Bridge High (May 14) and at home against Fairfax High (May 7) and Langley High (May 11).
The team features five seniors – Carolyn Gilbertson, Brittany McCray, Megan Sullivan, Lauren McColgan and Lauren Sutherland  –  who grew up playing Little League. Four of them made it to the Little League world series in 2004, and Gilbertson, Sullivan and McColgan all plan on continuing their stellar careers in college.