High School Sports Notebook: Top 8 Playoff Storylines
Bullis lacrosse wins first IAC championship; Blair softball heads to state semifinals
1. Bullis boys lacrosse wins first Interstate Athletic Conference title
Alex Trippi, Steven Shollenberger and Nicky Petkevich scored three goals apiece to lead the Bulldogs to a 9-5 win over St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes in Sunday’s IAC championship game. The victory marked the Bulldogs’ (21-2) first-ever IAC tournament title. Trippi, who also assisted on three goals Sunday, paced Bullis in points with 56 goals and 50 assists this spring; Petkevich finished with 62 goals and Shollenberger with 52. The Bulldogs were ranked No. 4 in the most recent Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse Top 25 High School Power Rankings.
“[The championship] is great for the school, great for the alumni,” Bullis coach Jeff Bellistri said. “There were a lot of alumni there, they’ve been waiting since the 1980s [for this] and we finally did it. [It’s a result] of all the work they put in, in years past. …Our attack scored every goal. They were so good on a day they’ll never forget.”
Bullis lacrosse players celebrate their IAC title Sunday, via Glynis Kazanjian
2. Comeback victory lifts Landon baseball over Bullis in IAC final
The Bears overcame a 4-2, third-inning deficit to defeat Bullis, 5-4, in eight innings Friday for their 17th IAC title. The teams split their two regular-season meetings. Senior closer and Marist College commit Patrick Lightner picked up the win; he struck out three batters in 4 and 2/3 shutout innings. He finished the season 3-0 with three saves and a 0.00 earned-run average.
Matthew Brady, who went 2 for 4 at the plate and drove in two runs, scored the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth inning. He led off with a single to right field and scored on error.
University of Maryland commit Randy Bednar Jr. was walked twice and drove in a run. The junior pitcher/center fielder finished the season with a team-high .318 batting average, 20 runs scored and 15 stolen bases. Scott Prutting, who also recorded a hit Friday, batted .300 in 2016 with 12 runs scored and only five strikeouts all season.
3. The Heights baseball captures first conference title in five years
The Cavaliers defeated Saint Maria Goretti High School (Hagerstown), 7-1, May 16 for their first Old Line Baseball Conference championship since 2011, second overall.
Senior pitcher Vincent Buono improved his season record to 4-1, allowing just one unearned run (scored in the first inning) and three hits. Buono boasts a 1.77 earned-run average.
The Cavaliers (18-8) took a 2-1 lead in the second inning off two walks, to Nathan Gadiano and Dominic Abela, a well-placed sacrifice bunt by Van Schuler and hits from Jack Kuzma and Henry Crooks. The Heights blew the game open with a five-run, fourth inning that featured hits from Kuzma, Guy DeSanctis, Charles Tsintolas (two-run double) and Chris Houlihan.
Houlihan is batting a team-high .409. DeSanctis, who has been The Heights’ ace on the mound (1.29 ERA), was at first base in the championship game and led the Cavaliers’ strong defensive performance.
“Nothing came easy for this team, I’m proud of the way they battled through adversity,” coach Jonathan Fritts said. “This championship is three years in the making and I couldn’t be happier for this group of seniors.”
4. Blair softball wins second regional title in three years
The Blazers saved their best softball of the season for Friday’s Class 4A West Region final, where they avenged a regular season loss to Clarksburg by defeating the Coyotes, 3-0, for their second regional title in three years.
Blair (16-4), which made its first state tournament appearance in 2011, will face St. Mary’s County’s Chopticon in Tuesday’s state semifinals scheduled for 7 p.m. at Bachman Sports Complex in Glen Burnie. The Blazers are seeking their first-ever trip to the state final, where they would likely meet Montgomery County rival and four-time defending state champion, Sherwood.
Blair took a 1-0 lead in the third inning Friday when Cassia Williams-Rogers singled and then crossed the plate on a double to right field by senior Mildred Devereux. The Blazers added two insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth inning off senior pitcher Karylena Cruz’s two-run home run over the fence in left field that also scored Anna Reachmack. Cruz also struck out nine batters in a four-hitter.
5. Churchill lacrosse sweeps region
The Bulldog girls defeated Frederick County power Urbana, 17-10 Wednesday in Potomac for their first Class 4A/3A West Region title since 2012, third overall. Churchill’s boys capped off the evening by beating the Hawk boys, 14-5, for their fourth regional title in five years.
Zoe Byington led the girls with six goals and two assists Wednesday; Lizzie Hsu tallied four goals and Bethany Dubick added three. Hannah Hansen won 15 of 19 draws and Nina Hazra was 7 for 10.
Seven players scored for Churchill’s boys in the regional final. Chris Higgins led the way with five goals. Other scorers included Brady Altobello (three), Reed Moshyedi (two), Spencer Knife (one), Ryan Sorkin (one), Ryan Leonard (one) and Jimmy Rubino (one). Markus Hurd scooped up nine saves.
The Bulldog boys ultimately fell to five-time state champion and four-time runner-up Severna Park, 10-5, in Saturday’s state semifinal; Churchill’s girls lost 11-6 to Leonardtown.
6. Montgomery County tennis players look to continue state dominance
After struggling with a back injury for most of the season, Thomas S. Wootton No. 1 singles player Joseph Brailovsky followed up his county title with a win in Friday’s All-Montgomery County Region II tournament final over Bethesda-Chevy Chase’s Lee Pascal. Both qualified to play in the state championship, scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Olney Manor Park.
The winner and runner-up in each of five brackets—boys and girls singles, boys and girls doubles and mixed doubles—advance to states. The girls regional tournament was played in the fall.
Other winners in Friday’s regional finals were Whitman’s Jack Welch and Andrew Leung in boys doubles, over Churchill’s Bennet Yang and Austin Yang. Walter Johnson’s top singles players, Ethan Kowalski and Jessica Fatemi, defeated Wootton’s Jake Gordon and Ruchi Nanda in the mixed doubles doubles final. Gordon won the mixed title a year ago; Nanda was a finalist.
7. Richard Montgomery wins boys volleyball county title
The Rockets capped off their undefeated season with a three-set win over perennial power Sherwood in last week's season-ending Montgomery County boys volleyball championship.
Richard Montgomery, which hadn’t won a county title in at least five years, only dropped one individual set all spring—to Wootton during the regular season.
Jeffrey Chang tallied six aces against Sherwood; Jack English racked up 12 kills and Oliver Hu added nine. Chang led the team in aces this spring with 43 and English finished with 171 kills.
8. Regional track meet sets up teams, athletes for states
The top four finishers in each event at Thursday’s Class 4A West Region Outdoor Track and Field Championship, plus any additional athletes who achieved predetermined qualification standards, advanced to the season-ending state competition Friday and Saturday hosted by Morgan State University.
While the Northwest boys and Clarksburg girls prevailed and are favored to win team championships, several individual athletes set themselves up to contend for state titles.
Thursday’s regional winners included Walter Johnson’s Abigail Green and Richard Montgomery’s Rohan Asfaw in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs, Bethesda-Chevy Chase’s Lily O’Dowd and Montgomery Blair’s Thierry Siewe Yanga in the 800 run and Churchill’s Ethan Liu in the triple jump. B-CC’s girls and Blair’s boys won the 3,200 relay.
Games to watch this week
Blair vs. Chopticon, at Bachman Sports Complex, 7 p.m. Tuesday: Making third state semifinal appearance, Blazers seek first trip to championship game.
State tournament at Olney Manor Park, 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday: All-Montgomery County Region II typically dominates.
Outdoor Track and Field
Class 4A State Championship at Morgan State University, 3 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday: Northwest boys and Clarksburg girls are favored to win but many individual titles up for grabs.
Photos via Mary Ponomarenko, Suzanne Tsintolas, Brendan Daly and Draga Dubick