The Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax baseball team advanced to the 2006 WCAC semifinal round with a solid 10-1 victory versus archrival Bishop O'Connell High School of Arlington. The quarterfinal contest was played May 8 in Fairfax.
"Our pitching did a real good job tonight," said fourth-year Panther Head Coach Billy Emerson.
Neither team scored in the first or the second inning. In the top of the third, PVI starting sophomore pitcher Drew Shaw once again retired the Knights without allowing a run.
In the bottom of the third, on a brisk May evening, the Paul VI bats warmed up.
Paul VI senior Zach Miller drew a walk and proceeded to steal second base. Sophomore Peter Verdin recorded an RBI single to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
Verdin stole second and then junior John Ralston's sacrifice bunt advanced him to third. Senior Brett Moore's sacrifice fly to right scored Verdin for the "decisive" run of the contest (PVI 2-0).
Senior Rob Lamas tagged a "tape measure" home run to left to give the Panthers a 3-0 advantage. After three innings, PVI led 3-0.
Shaw recorded another scoreless inning in the top of the fourth. In the bottom of the fourth, the Panthers scored seven runs on only three hits, thanks in large part to four O'Connell errors.
The key Panther hit in the bottom of the fourth was another home run by Rob Lamas (his second of the game and only his third of the entire season).
A late O'Connell run made the score 10-1.
Emerson took out Shaw after one out in the fifth. Senior J.D. Polcari recorded the final two outs of the fifth inning. Sophomore Reed Bromley recorded all six outs in the combined sixth/seventh innings.
Prior to the WCAC quarterfinal contest, PVI had pounded O'Connell 21-1 on May 2. The Panthers squeaked by Gonzaga College High School in Washington 3-2 on May 3 and soundly defeated Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria 11-1 on May 5.
In other quarterfinal action, DeMatha Catholic High School defeated Ireton 6-1. In semifinal action on May 10, PVI defeated DeMatha while Good Counsel upset defending champion St. John's.
PVI advanced to last year’s WCAC championship game as well, but dropped the contest to St. John’s en route to a successful 26-5 season.
"Our goal this season is to win both the WCAC and the VIS titles," said Moore. His sophomore sister, Julia, is the ace on the mound for the Paul VI girl’s softball team, coached by E.J. Thomas.
The Lady Panthers have been one of the hottest teams in the WCAC over the past couple of weeks. They were scheduled to play nationally ranked O’Connell on May 9 in Arlington.
"We have really bonded together and we're starting to play up to our potential," said Moore.
O’Connell Finishes Third in WCAC Tennis
The Bishop O'Connell High School in Arlington boys tennis team narrowly missed second place at the recent WCAC Tennis Championships held May 2-4 in College Park, Md. Gonzaga College High School in Washington rolled to the team title with 49 total points.
DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md., narrowly edged out O'Connell for the proverbial "silver medal" with 21 team points. The Knights finished with 19 team points. Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria and the other four schools were merely in "single digits").
O'Connell was coached by the dean of WCAC tennis, 79-year-old Bob Kluba, who has coached a variety of diocesan teams for three-plus decades.
"I expected us to do somewhat better than we actually did," said Kluba.
Singles runners-up for the Knights included junior Milo Barajas-Alexander (singles No. 1), junior Jordan Freeman (No. 4), sophomore Lawrence Franco (No. 5) and sophomore Chris Miller (No. 6).
Barajas-Alexander dropped a 10-6 finals match to DeMatha's Zach Nicholson and now has a 15-4 overall on the season.
Freeman dropped a 10-4 finals match to Gonzaga's Paul Debs and now weighs in at 17-2 on the season. Franco dropped a 10-8 finals match to Gonzaga's Pat Knise and now weighs in at 16-3 on the season. Miller dropped a 10-4 finals match to Gonzaga's Johann Wiese and now weighs in at 16-3 overall on the season.
The lone Knights "doubles team" to advance to the championship round was doubles No. 3 (Freeman and Franco). The junior and the sophomore dropped their match to Gonzaga.
"We will find out in the next couple of days whether or not we will qualify for the eight-team VIS Tournament,” said Kluba. “This will be the first season that the VIS has held a post-season tournament. We were pretty consistent all season long. We defeated Paul VI and Ireton twice each (in addition to Good Counsel, Bishop McNamara (High School in Forestville, Md.,) St. John’s (College High School in Washington) and St. Mary's Ryken (High School in Leonardtown, Md.,) twice each). We split with DeMatha and we also defeated St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes High School in Alexandria en route to an overall record of 14-4.”
The veteran coach said he plans on being back next season.
PVI Wins State Golf Title
Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax won the team title at the Virginia State Catholic School Golf Championships held May 8 at Royal New Kent Golf Course.
The Panthers, coached by Milt Papke, recorded a 312. Walsingham of Williamsburg recorded a 318 to finish second.
Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, coached by Ken Baskette, recorded a 329, and placed third. Bishop O'Connell High School in Arlington, coached by Darrell Snyder, recorded a 338 and placed fifth overall in the seven team event.
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