Warhawks win first ti­tle since 2002


The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY JA­SON BUTT ja­son.butt@wash­post.com

Madi­son short­stop Pete Nielsen didn’t have a doubt.

He knew his cousin, ju­nior Matt Favero, would se­cure Madi­son’s first state cham­pi­onship in more than a decade. With the bases loaded in the bot­tom of the sev­enth against Chan­tilly in the Vir­ginia 6A state ti­tle game in Fair­fax, Favero stepped to the plate.

The ju­nior had been sit­ting on the bench since the fourth in­ning, but with no outs and a fly­ball to the out­field stand­ing be­tween the Warhawks and a walk-off win, he de­liv­ered.

Favero drilled a one-hop­per to the cen­ter field wall, driv­ing in the win­ning run from third and jump-start­ing Madi­son’s cel­e­bra­tion af­ter a 6-5 victory at Robin­son.

“I knew he was go­ing to do it,” Nielsen said. “He’s been swing­ing the bat re­ally well.”

For Nielsen and Favero, the game was the cul­mi­na­tion of their base­ball ca­reers. They’ve played to­gether dat­ing from their days with the Vi­enna Reds tee ball team when they were each 4 years old.

“I just wanted to get it to the out­field, find a fast­ball or some­thing,” Favero said. “Just drive it and score that guy from third.”

Favero was re­lieved af­ter 4 2/3 innings on the mound by Nielsen af­ter what was a dis­as­trous fourth in­ning for the Warhawks. Madi­son (24-5) to­taled five er­rors which led to five runs from the Charg­ers. Though Favero wasn’t pitch­ing poorly, Nielsen fig­ured a change could help his team and mo­tioned to Coach Mark “Pudge” Gjor­mand to put him on the mound. Nielsen forced a ground­out and held Chan­tilly with­out a run over the fi­nal three innings.

“I like to be in that spot, I’m kind of an adren­a­line junkie,” Nielsen said. “I wanted to punch out that bat­ter with two outs but our short­stop [Nick Con­forti] came up big with a play.”

Chan­tilly (21-7) fell in the state fi­nal for the sec­ond straight year.

“Our kids, you have to give a lot of credit to them,” Charg­ers Coach Kevin Ford said. “We were here last year and ba­si­cally lost our start­ing lineup. They bat­tled through a lot over the year. It’s tough.”

Down 5-3 in the bot­tom of the fifth, the Warhawks scored a run in each of the fi­nal three innings to com­plete the come­back and earn their first ti­tle since 2002.

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