McLean Hangs on to Beat Fairfax

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By John Nolan
Assistant Director of Scouting/Content Management 

Fairfax-On a cool Friday evening, the McLean Highlanders took on the Fairfax Rebels in a Liberty Conference 6 matchup. McLean entered the game 7-3 overall and 4-1 in conference play. The Rebels came in 4-5 overall and 2-3 in Conference 6. McLean sent senior lefty Jon Clines (VMI) to the mound and Fairfax countered with junior righty Thomas Bradley.

McLean got on the board quickly in the first as leadoff hitter and senior first baseman Tom Shue reached on error to start the game and moved down to second on an errant pickoff attempt. After a groundout to first, Shue scored as senior shortstop Conor Grammes (Xavier) hit a sacrifice fly to left.

In the bottom of the first, Clines allowed a one out single to senior centerfielder Samuel Walters, who ended up stranded at third. Over the next few innings the story of the game would quickly become how well Clines and Bradley threw as they matched zeroes in the second and third innings, with McLean maintaining its 1-0 lead through three complete innings. For velocities and scouting information on Clines and Bradley, check the Virginia/DC Scout Blog later this weekend. 

The McLean half of the fourth started with Grammes getting hit by a pitch and Clines grounding into a fielder’s choice. Senior centerfielder Matt Collins followed that up by ripping a double down the leftfield line to put runners on second and third. Another hit by pitch loaded the bases, bringing up sophomore catcher Grant Williams. Williams grounded a single through the middle, driving in two and increasing the Highlander lead to 3-0. Bradley was able to get a pair of groudouts to end the inning there.

Clines continued his dominance, working perfect fourth and fifth innings. Bradley had a clean fifth and McLean came to the plate in the top of the sixth still clinging to a three run lead. Collins started the inning off with a single to right center and was successfully bunted down to second base bringing up Williams again. Williams singled into the hole at short, but Fairfax junior shortstop Travis Huisman made a good play to keep the ball on the infield. Next up was junior Brendan Grammes, who drove in Collins with a fielder’s choice, extending the lead to 4-0.

The bottom of the sixth started as the entire game had gone to that point for the Fairfax offense as Clines notched his sixth strikeout to open the frame. Huisman then drilled a ball into the left-centerfield gap that he was able to stretch into a double. Walters got the Rebels on the board with a sharp single to center. With Bradley at the plate, Walters got thrown out attempting to steal second on a perfect throw from Grant Williams. Bradley then singled to right and took second after the ball was misplayed. He was driven in by senior Sam Ryan (VCU) to cut the Fairfax deficit to 4-2 at the end of six.

McLean tried to stretch their lead in the top of the seventh against Bradley as the Highlanders loaded the bases with two outs. Bradley was able to get a fly out to center to give the Rebels a chance in the bottom of the seventh trailing by just two. Clines got the first out in the bottom of the seventh on a comebacker and then senior catcher Ian Hawkins singled to center to bring the tying run to the plate and an end to Clines’ day. Conor Grammes entered the game from shortstop to try and close out the win for the Highlanders. He got his two outs quickly to end the game, with a final score of McLean 4, Fairfax 2. For scouting information on players in this game, check the Virginia/DC Scout Blog later this weekend.

Clines earned the win for McLean with a line of 6 1/3 IP, 2 R, 6 H, HBP, 6 K. Conor Grammes earned the save with 2/3 IP, 0 R, K, chipping a 1-1 day at the plate with a SAC Fly, RBI, BB, HBP, and SB. Collins finished 2-3 with a 2B, 2 R, and a BB. Williams went 2-3 with 2 RBI. The Highlanders are now 8-3 overall and 5-1 in Liberty Conference play with a matchup Tuesday night against James Madison looming.

For Fairfax, Bradley took the loss despite pitching very well, with a final line of 7 IP, 4 R, 5 H, 3 BB, 3 HBP, and a K while also going 1-3 with a run scored at the plate. Walters went 2-3 with a SB and an RBI. Huisman went 1-2 with a 2B and a R. The Rebels fell to 4-6 overall and 2-4 in Conference 6 play with matchups against Yorktown and Washington & Lee scheduled for next week.



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