By Owen Gotimer
Fairfax (June 16, 2015) – Before the top half of the seventh inning in the VHSL 5A state championship on June 13 in Fairfax, Stone Bridge High School starting pitcher Dave Mocabee had a simple message for Bulldog head coach Sam Plank: “Don’t come out to the mound. I’m finishing this game.”
Plank held off on defying Mocabee – even after a leadoff home run by Marshall High School senior Will Brooke in the seventh – and let his junior settle in to finish up his complete game win, earning Stone Bridge their first baseball state championship in school history.
“I’m just so happy for the kids. I was telling them on the bus before the game, this is your moment. You’re going to come back 20 years from now and have that reunion and these friendships,” Plank said. “No one will ever be able to take that away from you: being the first team in Stone Bridge baseball history to win a state championship.”
Brooke made Mocabee’s life difficult throughout the game hitting a two-run home run in the top of the second inning before his solo shot in the seventh, but even with the big hits, Mocabee was able to hold the Statesmen to four runs.
“[Mocabee]’s been tough all year. Marshall swings the bat so well and you can’t make any mistakes against them,” Plank said. “He gave up that home run and came in the dugout and refocused. That’s what he does every day.”
Taking a one-run lead into the sixth, Mocabee got two big defensive plays from junior third baseman Dylan Beck including the front end of an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play. In the home half of that inning, Stone Bridge got the insurance they needed to all but seal the deal and win the state championship.
With one out and runners on second and third, Columbia-commit Michael Kuzbel slashed a single up the middle to score two runs, then stole two bases and eventually scored on a ground ball.
“I wasn’t trying to do too much, I was just trying to hit a ball hard somewhere,” Kuzbel said. “I’m lucky I got a hold of it right up the middle. I just wanted to score runs and come up clutch for my teammates.”
Stone Bridge – who finished the season 22-5 – lost their final regular season game before rattling off seven straight wins en route to the VHSL 5A state title.
“This is a fairytale storybook ending,” Plank said. “From day one, we set goals and they showed up every day and took all of our toughness as coaches; we pushed them so hard, and they never wavered. They showed up every day working their tail ends off.”
Plank – who will be leaving Stone Bridge to start the Riverside High School program next spring – along with six seniors played their final game in navy and Columbia blue on June 13, and it’s one they’ll never forget.
“It’s surreal right now,” Kuzbel said. “It hasn’t really fully sunk in, but it feels amazing.”
Callahan 2-5, 2B, 2 R
Johnson 0-1, sac bunt, 2 BB
Mocabee 1-3, 2B, sac fly, 2 RBI, R
Quiceno 3-3, 2B, BB, RBI, 2 R
Kuzbel 2-3, BB, 3 RBI, R, 2 SB
Karafa 1-2, 2 BB, R, 2 SB
Kreyer 0-1, BB
Greenberg 1-3, BB, RBI, 2 R, SB
Beck 2-3, sac bunt, RBI
Han 0-3, ROE
Guenther 1-3, 2B
Blackstone 2-3, 2B, R
Borowski 2-3, 2B
Russell 1-2, sac fly, RBI, R
Brooke 2-3, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R
Mocabee W 7 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 8 H, 0 BB, 1 K
Leduc L 2 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 1 K
Morrison 2+ IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 H, 4 BB, 0 K
Handley 1.1+ IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 H, 3 BB, 0 K
Kerns .2 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 K