With a high-school state championship to their credit that was won June 26, starting tonight head coach Mark Gjormand and player Miguel Echazarreta have an opportunity to win another significant baseball title at a different level of play.
Gjormand is the head coach of the top-seed Chili Dogs (10-6) of the summer’s month-long Northern Virginia College League, with Echazarreta a player for the team. After receiving a first-round bye, the Chili Dogs play the Bunt Cakes in a tournament semifinal today at 4 p.m. at Waters Field in Vienna. A victory will put the team into the noontime July 31 championship game at Waters against the winner of the other semifinal (tonight at 7 p.m. at Waters) between the Yard Dogs and Gators.
When the 2021 high-school season concluded just about a month ago, Echazarreta was the starting third baseman/shortstop and Gjormand the coach of the Class 6 state champion Madison Warhawks.
The head coach of the Yard Dogs is T.J. Ehrsam, a top assistant coach for Madison during the prep campaign.
“The Chili Dogs are hot and are playing great baseball right now,” Gjormand said. “We are ready to go.”
The team takes a three-game winning streak into the summer college playoffs, victorious by close 11-7, 8-7 and 7-4 scores, and has won four of its last five.
Former Madison players also playing for the Chili Dogs are Josh Gjormand, Pete Nielsen, Cooper Hoffman (2021 graduate) and Fitz Halloran.
Former Vienna Post 180 standout Avery Neaves also plays for the team along with McLean High graduates Grant Williams and Drew Stieg.
Josh Gjormand, Halloran and Neaves play for the University of Lynchburg, helping the team win an Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship this past season and earning a Division III NCAA tournament berth. So that trio also can win a second title in a matter of weeks. A Few other Lynchburg players also play for the Chili Dogs.
Williams plays at Randolph-Macon College.
“We have a good mix of some very good players,” Mark Gjormand said.
The Bunt Cakes roster includes Oakton High graduate and former Post 180 standout Eric Lingebach, now playing at Christopher Newport University, and Marshall High grad Robert Guenther, a player at Eastern Mennonite University.
Nielsen and Stieg each were members of the Division I George Mason University team this past college season. Neither will return in 2022. Nielsen is transferring to Division I Old Dominion University and Stieg to the first year two-year Richard Bland College program.
For the Chili Dogs through the regular season, Nielsen had a 3-0 pitching record with a 1.72 earned run average with 27 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings. With the bat, Nielson was hitting .267 with two homers, two doubles, with 11 RBI and six stolen bases.
Over two seasons, Nielsen played in 18 games for George Mason, with four homers, six doubles and 12 RBI.
Leadoff batter Stieg was hitting .272 with three homers, a double, 10 RBI and four steals entering the playoffs for the Chili Dogs.
“Those are good places for Pete and Drew to end up,” Gjormand said.
Davis Snyder, a left-hander pitcher and centerfield for Madison in the 2021 season, also will play at Richard Bland.