Langley Baseball (9-8):
Langley baseball grabbed the attention of its Liberty District opponents last year. Throughout the season, the Saxons showed flashes of promise. But at times, those optimistic moments were marred by cofounding losses. Langley even slugged its way through a late-season, five-game losing streak.
But as with most sports, timing is everything. And as the regular season wound down, Langley caught fire and rode the hot streak all the way into the Liberty District championship and the Northern Region tournament. The Saxons came within two runs of winning the 2011 Liberty District baseball championship, losing 7-6 to Madison last May. The Saxons were rewarded with an appearance in the prestigious Northern Region tournament and suffered a first-round loss to Lake Braddock.
One year removed from its magical season, Langley finds itself the owner of a 9-8 overall, 7-4 Liberty District record. The Saxons needed eight innings to defeat Fairfax 5-4 on Tuesday, grabbing yet another Liberty District win.
Senior Michael Byrne has been a formidable player, as the pitcher has been dominant on the mound and a power bat in the Saxons’ lineup.
Three of Langley’s losses this season have come against first and second place Liberty District foes Stone Bridge and McLean. Stone Bridge defeated Langley 2-0 and 12-4 in the teams' two regular meetings, while McLean defeated Langley 9-3 earlier this month. Langley will get another shot against the Highlanders May 11 and the outcome will likely affect the late-season Liberty District standings.
Up next: Madison on May 4.
McLean Baseball (11-5):
McLean’s baseball team has been the model of consistency this year. The Highlanders began the season with a four-game win streak and have held a firm grip on their second-place Liberty District standing, trailing district leader Stone Bridge by two games.
McLean won 14 games in 2011 before being dispatched by Madison in the Liberty District semifinals, and by South County in the Northern Region tournament. While several key members from last year’s success run have graduated, 12 seniors are listed on the 2012 roster, giving McLean a great deal of depth and veteran leadership.
One of this year’s biggest surprises for McLean has been its pitching and stingy defense. In 15 games this season, the Highlanders have held opposing teams to three or less runs nine times and have pitched three shutouts. McLean’s offense has scored 10 or more runs three times and scored a season-high 19 points in the team’s 19-0 victory over West Springfield in April’s Spring Break Tournament.
Three games remain on McLean’s regular season schedule and the Highlanders have a May 11 bout with crosstown rival Langley that will likely carry Liberty District implications. McLean is 1-2 in its last three games against Langley.
Up next: Thomas Jefferson on May 4.