McBaseball swings for success

Talented team features multiple senior standouts

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Kent Arnold

Senior Griffin Stieg pitches his second inning of the day in a game against St. Albans. Stieg has had a dominant start to his senior season.

Led by seniors Griffin Stieg and Robbie Coates, the varsity baseball team hopes to rebound from a mediocre season in 2021. With a talented senior class, this year’s team is expected to be one of the best in recent memory.
Varsity head coach John Dowling utilized a large turnout of over 60 players at tryouts to help structure the roster for this upcoming season.
“We have had more kids try out every year that I’ve been at McLean, which has been nine years now,” Dowling said.
Dowling has high hopes for the upcoming season, especially since this year’s team is stacked with talented players.
“Our team has a lot of higher level talent, and this will be an asset for this season,” Dowling said.
Since these star players have been at McLean, they have won all four games against rival Langley. As the season progresses, they look to make it a perfect six for six.
“In my last year, I hope we can beat them both times so we can go out knowing we were the better team,” right fielder Coates said.
Stieg, who plays outfield and pitcher, has been an integral part of the varsity team since his freshman year.
“I’m most excited for the team to be together and to be on the field every day playing baseball,” Stieg said.
The baseball team practices together six days a week with games in between.
Off-season practices offer the perfect opportunity to improve, especially for those players looking to put in extra work before the upcoming season.
“In the off-season I’d go to my practice facility six times a week,” Stieg said.

Stieg has played in several showcases alongside some of the country’s best players. At these elite competitions, players have the opportunity to show off their talents in front of college and Major League Baseball scouts.
“Showcases and high school baseball are very different,” Stieg said. “In showcases you usually play for yourself and try to get seen by college and pro scouts. In high school you play as a team to win games.”
Stieg is no stranger to pressure. After being recruited for years and competing at the highest level, he has learned how to turn stress into a useful tool.
“When pressure is on us, we just have to breathe and play the game hard, and good things will happen,” Stieg said.
The recruitment process is different for all athletes. Stieg’s process began as a freshman, when he verbally committed to play at Virginia Tech. Coates decided to wait longer before making a commitment.
“My recruiting process was very hectic. I spent hours sending over a thousand emails to coaches and schools I was interested in,” Coates said. “I made highlight videos for every season just to send out to coaches I was talking to, with the hopes that they liked what they saw and wanted to see me play.”
Last summer, Coates finally got to play in a showcase in front of the coaches he had been talking to.
“At this point, it was August going into my senior year and time was running out,” Coates said. “Luckily, I played very well and got all of my offers from that one showcase. I finally decided to commit to Kenyon College in October of my senior year.”
Both Stieg and Coates have set goals for their final high school season.
“Now that my recruiting process is over, I can fully focus on making positive contributions to help the team win and go as deep into the postseason as possible,” Coates said.
Now the new faces of McBaseball, both players hope to see the team reach new heights.
“My goal for the season is to be the best leader,” Stieg said. “My goal for the team is for us to beat some good teams and win a lot of playoff games.”

McLean's baseball team livestreams its games against other schools, including its game on March 29 against Yorktown High School.