In a season with much potential and high expectations, the Madison Warhawks achieved another of their big goals – winning a region championship.
Madison dominated the 6D North Region Tournament with a 3-0 record in the high-school baseball competition, outscoring those opponents, 27-7, and averaging 10.7 hits per outing.
The host Warhawks (16-1) routed the Chantilly Chargers, 17-7, behind 14 hits and three home runs in the five-inning June 18 title game on Madison’s home field. A few days earlier, the Warhawks also downed the Chargers in the Concorde District tourney final.
Chantilly is the only team that defeated the Warhawks this spring, winning a 5-4 regular-season contest.
The region crown was Madison’s fourth in Mark Gjormand’s 20-plus years as the Warhawks’ head coach, and the first since 2015, when the team also won a state title.
“It’s crazy. We hit everywhere in the lineup from one to nine in the order,” said Madison No. 9 hitter Jaden Kritsky, who belted two home runs and had four RBI in the region final. “That’s what makes us so good. We hit and capitalize on other team’s mistakes.”
Gjormand admitted his team has faced the pressure and has lofty expectations.
“Early in the season, I think we were winning as individuals,” the coach said. “It’s been a grind, but what I like is we have really turned into a team and a good unit now.”
Added Kritsky: “Every season, our goal is to win our last game.”
With district- and region-tournament championships to their credit, the Warhawks now move on to the four-team Class 6 state competition.
Against Chantilly in the region final, sophomore right-hander Bryce Eldridge started and went three innings to get the win, allowing one hit and no earned runs.
The Warhawks scored two runs in the first inning, five in the second, three in the third and seven in the fourth.
Kritsky was one of five players with two hits each. The others were Eldridge (three-run homer, five RBI), Colin Tuft (double, one RBI), Bannon Brazell (double, three RBI) and Bo Kuhblank (one RBI). The homer was Eldridge’s ninth this season.
Other hits went to James Triantos (two steals), Miguel Echazarreta (one RBI), Cooper Huffman (double, RBI) and Tyler Schoeberlein. Every starter had a hit.
After a first-round bye, Madison defeated Herndon, 11-1, in the region semifinals, and downed Westfield, 9-1, in the quarterfinals.
Tuft homered and had two RBI in Madison’s 10-hit attack against Herndon. Echazarreta doubled, had two RBI and three steals; Brazell added two hits and three RBI; Eldridge had a hit and two RBI; Triantos doubled and drove in two runs; Hoffman and Kritsky each had a hit and an RBI; and Cole Heflin had a hit.
Ramsey Collins started on the mound, pitching five hitless innings with five strikeouts to get the win. The run was unearned. Mac Kopka worked the final two frames, allowing two hits.
In the five-inning, weather-shortened victory over Westfield, Madison had eight hits and the Bulldogs three. Triantos pitched five innings, allowing three hits and fanning seven with a walk and no earned runs allowed.
Triantos also homered. Tuft had two hits, with a double, and three RBI. Brazell, Hoffman and Echazarreta each had a hit and one RBI.
NOTES: Madison is 4-0 in region title games under Gjormand, and 2-0 in state finals . . . Gjormand pointed out that the 17 runs Madison scored in the region final worked out as a coincidental tribute to former Warhawks’ head baseball coach Don Roth, who died in recent months. Roth’s Madison uniform number was 17.