The chilly fans at George Mason High School’s baseball home opener Tuesday were warmed by a third-inning rally that helped lift the Mustangs to a 7-4 win over Middleburg Academy.
Throughout the game, the top of the batting order led the charge for Mason: junior Max Kaplow (batting third) was perfect at the plate, going 3-for 3 with two singles, a double, three RBIs and two runs. Leadoff man, senior Paul Weber, went 3 for 4, with two singles, a triple, an RBI and two runs.
Junior Jack Trainor (batting second) got a single and scored twice. Junior Stephen Lubnow, at cleanup, hit two singles and got an RBI.
Junior Jon Freeman pitched five innings and earned the win. After a sharp first inning, he was roughed up in the second, when the Dragons scored three runs on four hits. But then Freeman settled down, giving up only one more hit. He finished with five strikeouts and two walks, and he also contributed on offense, hitting a single in the fifth that brought in Mason’s seventh run. Lubnow pitched the final two innings, allowing four singles but only one run.
The victory over Middleburg eased the hurt of a close Mason loss the night before, 5-3 at Robinson, a AAA Fairfax County school with almost four times the enrollment of Mason’s. The Mustangs hung tough with the Rams, tying the contest at 3-3 midway through the fifth inning on runs scored by Weber and senior Tyler Duncan (who had drawn walks) and Freeman (who had singled).
But in the bottom of the fifth, jitters on defense were Mason’s downfall. The Rams scored a pair and blanked the Mustangs in the final two innings. Pitching for the Mustangs was Kaplow, and while he took the loss, he had a solid outing, scattering five hits and striking out eight in six innings of work.
Mason’s record in the young season stands at 2-1, with Bull Run District opponent Manassas Park coming to Falls Church Monday for a 5 p.m. contest.
The Mason junior varsity split two home games, losing on Friday to Wilson 13-10, but defeating O’Connell, 9-8, on Monday.