McLean Highlanders stumble in playoff clash, fall 7-2 to Westfield

Hard-fought battle ends the Highlanders’ season on defiant note

In a fierce playoff game between two teams full of talent and determination, the Highlanders were faced by a formidable opponent from the Westfield Varsity Baseball team. Despite their valiant effort and unwavering determination, the Highlanders fell short in their quest for victory, ultimately losing with a final score of 7-2 and bringing their season to a close. 

“Even though our season has unfortunately come to an end, this was probably the best year of baseball I have ever played, and I am extremely grateful for my coaches and teammates,” senior catcher R.J. Carmenates said.

The game began with the Highlanders coming out swinging, with McLean batters orchestrating an impressive performance in the first inning, building suspense. 

“We were looking super strong in the first inning and our batters were going all out,”  Carmenates said.“We had a lot of well-timed hits and strategic base running.”

Even with the great hits and strategic base running, Westfield began to swiftly counter, showcasing their resilience with a run of their own. 

“Westfield’s offense began to pick up and they were capitalizing on mistakes that we were making, especially during the middle innings,” sophomore pitcher Christian Dray said.

Costly errors in the middle innings proved detrimental. Westfield’s offense began to accumulate and they began scoring twos and threes during the middle innings that put them at a greater lead than the Highlanders.

“Westfield had us 7-1 but eventually we were able to quiet their offense and the game started to go a little back and forth on defense” Dray said, “However, the run difference was too much for us to overcome.”

Despite McLean’s undeterred defense finding their footing with senior pitcher Quinn Evans taking over pitching duties from Dray, the team struggled to reignite their offensive spark.

“Our defense settled in as [Evans] came in relief for Dray, but the offense was still quiet,” senior infielder Luke Dettleff said. “As we got to the final inning, we were able to score one more run to make it 7-2, but it wasn’t enough as the game ended on a fly out and our season had come to an end.”

Despite their best efforts, McLean faced a considerable deficit as they entered the final inning. Undeterred, the Highlanders rallied for a late surge, their determination shining through as they managed to push across another run, narrowing the gap to 7-2. However, with time running out and the pressure mounting, the final outcome in the form of a fly out, left the Highlanders just shy of a remarkable comeback.

“Although we would have loved to win and we’re bummed out by the loss, we played our hardest and I’m proud of the season I had playing with my teammates,” Dettleff said.