Swinging for the Fence

Varsity baseball team eyes district championship


Batter Up — Senior designated hitter R.J. Carmenates winds up for a big swing against Langley on April 24 | Photo by Ty Goss

Coming off the heels of a successful 2022 season, McLean’s varsity baseball team has their hopes for the season high. With their eyes set on a district championship after a crushing playoff loss to Herndon last year, the Highlanders are looking to reload their talent for another title run.

“I think we are a better team [than last year],” senior first baseman A.J. Poole said. “We’re more well rounded as a whole, [and] we play more as a unit and [rely] on everybody.”

After suffering from inconsistent hitting last year that limited the lineup’s scoring potential, McLean’s batting lineup displays an even split of talent that provides stability to the team. 

 “Our lineup [is] a lot more consistent this year,” senior second baseman Chris Morabito said. “We have good hitters and everyone is able to get their job done in a lineup which is really improved from last year.”

Along with sporting an incredibly balanced hitting order, McLean opts for a high-flying style of offense, complete with plenty of steals and extra base hits.

“[A strength] of our offense is we are all super fast,” Poole said. “It’s pretty much automatic [that] we’re on second base or third base within 10 pitches.”

With that speed, the Highlanders present a scoring threat every time they get on base. Their offense highlights their explosive baserunners, with senior infielder Jakob Luu and sophomore outfielder Gabriel Pegues leading off the order as the team’s best baserunners.

“We have a ton of team speed [and] we’re very aggressive,” head coach John Dowling said. “Jakob Luu and Gabriel Pegues are probably the two most disruptive base runners I’ve ever seen. It is wild how the game comes to a screeching halt when they reach base.”

The intensity that McLean’s offense brings to the plate also provides the Highlanders with a trust in one another, allowing them to take pressure off of each other.

“It’s so much easier to just be able to put trust in your lineup to get the job done in case you get out or something like that,” Morabito said. “It’s easy to have faith in the lineup to really score runs.”

Defined by their hot bats, McLean completed their season sweep against Langley on April 24th, winning in a 16-15 shootout. If the batting order can remain deadly at the plate, the Highlanders may be favorites to slug their way into a district title.