Manassas Journal Messenger 04-26-01



hand Vikes their first district loss


Keith McMillan and Brian Hunsicker



Things finally fell together for Stonewall Jackson.

After a series of near-misses against some of the area’s best teams,

the Raiders broke through for a 10-4 win over Woodbridge on Tuesday night.

The win avenges a loss to the Vikings in the Eddie Hope Tournament at

Hylton. The Raiders had Woodbridge on the ropes, but a seventh-inning grand

slam by Joe McLain gave the win to the Vikings.

“We had great pitching, good defense and timely hitting for the

first time all year,” said Stonewall head coach Andy Devitt. “It

was a turning point as far as confidence.”

The loss in the Hope Tournament, along with the fact that Stonewall’s

seniors had never beaten Woodbridge, were intangible factors in the win.

“We were up to play them, considering how they beat us last time,”

Devitt added. “We came out and played hard, and everything went well.”

With all the competition in the Cardinal District, Devitt knows that

his team will need some more efforts like that to improve their standing.

“We don’t want to circle one day on the calendar and say we have

to have that one, because all the games we have to have,” Devitt explained.

“As competitive as the district is, we have to play almost perfect

every night.”



After Friday’s 5-3 win over Hylton put three games between Woodbridge

and two of its closest challengers for the Cardinal District title, the

Vikings did some simple math.

If Woodbridge, 6-0 in the district at the time, could keep winning, the

district title would be theirs.

“If you can stay undefeated,” said first-year head coach Frank

Chimento, “it puts pressure on the district, because they can’t do

anything about it if you keep winning.”

Potomac, in second place on Friday at 5-1 in the district, was feeling

that pressure. The Panthers, who hadn’t been beaten since late March, were

hoping for the Vikings to falter.

Woodbridge obliged with a district loss to Stonewall on Tuesday, but

Potomac could not gain any ground. The Panthers lost 4-3 to Osbourn Park.

The Vikings, who felt they hadn’t been playing to their potential, called

Friday’s win a confidence-builder.

“It’s a very big boost,” said Chimento, “because we were

playing an outstanding team (Hylton) with outstanding pitchers. To be able

to win a game after you don’t feel you’re playing as well as you could,

I can’t tell you what kind of confidence booster it is for the whole team.”


With Osbourn ahead of Hylton 2-0 early in their game on Tuesday night,

Bulldog senior Mike Helbringer had a chance to cut into the lead. He didn’t


With teammate Joel Miller standing on third, Helbringer hit a solid single

to rightfield, scoring Miller. The play not only cut into the Eagle lead,

but set up the strategy for later in the game.

In the ninth and the game tied 3-3, Helbringer faced a nearly identical

situation: Runners on the corners, one out. A hit wins the game; a soft

grounder has the potential of being a double play, getting Osbourn out of


Once again, Helbringer didn’t disappoint.

He made solid contact, driving the ball to Osbourn second baseman Ricky

Pasquariello. But it was enough to allow Adam Redd score the game-winning


“He wanted to hit, and he had gotten a hit earlier,” said Bulldogs

coach John Colantouni after the game. “I was thinking squeeze, but

he hit the ball hard. It’s good to see a senior step up.

“The double play scared me, but it was just a situation where I

was going to let him swing the bat.”

Helbringer also went 2 for 4 and had an RBI in the Bulldogs’ 3-0 win

over Stonewall on Wednesday.



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