Behind a complete-game pitching performance by senior right-hander R.J. Gaines, the top-seed Oakton Cougars (13-7,) defeated the Westfield Bulldogs, 4-1, May 23 in a semifinal game of the Concorde Conference 5 Tournament.
Gaines threw 86 pitches, allowing five hits while striking out six.
Oakton scored two runs in the third inning and another in the fourth to take a 3-0 lead off Bulldogs’ starter Kenny Barry. However, Westfield opened the top of the fifth with three straight hits, scoring a run.
Gaines then settled down and got a fly out, picked off a runner, and ended the inning with a strikeout. He did not allow another hit the rest of the way.
Oakton scored an insurance run off of Brady Ingham in the fifth.
Offensively for the Cougars, Brandon Brodsky had a single and an RBI double, and Kyle Christy had an RBI single. Jagger James, Tommy Lopez, Dale Good, Cooper Mitchell and Ryan Davis had the other hits.
On the pick-off play, the Chantilly runner slid into Oakton third baseman James, who had to leave the game with what appeared to be a season-ending injury. James batted .341 as the Oakton cleanup hitter, and was a second-team all-conference selection.
Next, Oakton plays the Chantilly Chargers (13-6) in the championship game at Oakton at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, May 26. Chantilly defeated Oakton twice during the regular season by 7-3 and 2-1 scores.
A year ago, Oakton nipped Chantilly, 5-4, in the championship game of the old Concorde District tournament, then went on to finish second in the Northern Region tourney and advance to the state tournament semifinals.
NOTES: Oakton was 3-0 against Westfield this season, winning regular-season games by 6-0 and 3-0 scores . . . Since having a 5-6 record, the Cougars have won eight of nine games with two shutouts. In those nine games, Oakton is allowing just 2.1 runs per contest.