Varsity Baseball Spring 2021-2022 Program History.
Oakton Program History
The Oakton High School baseball program enters the 2021 season having claimed 11 league champion- ships, five region titles and one state crown, compiling 685 wins over its 51-year history.
The Cougars took the field for the first time in the spring of 1968 under Tom Hall, who would oversee the pro- gram for 32 seasons, retiring after the 1999 season with 385 victories at the school. Hall ranks second all-time among Northern Virginia coaches with 437 career wins, trailing only current Loudoun Valley coach Wayne Todd. He is one of just five area coaches to eclipse 400 career victories, a list that also includes former West Spring- field coach Ron Tugwell (431), former Washington-Lee coach Del Norwood (420) and current Potomac coach Mike Covington (419). Oakton’s field was named after him after his retirement.
Under Hall, who also served as the head coach at St. John’s in Washington, D.C. for four seasons from 1961- 64 and at crosstown rival James Madison High School for one season in 1966 before being named as Oakton’s first coach, the Cougars claimed Great Falls District titles in 1972 and 1978, a Northern District title in 1991 and a Concorde District championship in his final sea- son in 1999. Four of his teams advanced to the region championship game, and his 1982 team won the region and advanced to the state championship game before falling to J.R. Tucker.
Scott Rowland, who served as an assistant under Hall for two seasons before stints as the head coach at Flint Hill School in Vienna and South Lakes High School in Reston, was hired as Hall’s replacement in 2000. Row- land wasted little time putting his stamp on the program, leading his first team to a sweep of the Concorde Dis- trict, Northern Region and Group AAA state champion- ships and finishing with a 22-6 record. That 2000 team battled back from seventh-inning deficits in four of its nine postseason victories and defeated a Chantilly team in the district final that it had lost to three times during the regular season. The Cougars got big performances from standouts such as Matt Prendergast, who won 12 games, as well as Stacen Gant, who won eight games and hit 10 home runs, and Scott Byers and Kent Stok- ley. After defeating Lake Braddock, 4-0, in the regional final, Stokley hit a walk-off home run in a 4-3 win over Mills Godwin in the state quarterfinals. Then, after a 12-1 victory over Albemarle in the semifinals, Byers and Prendergast combined to shut out Patrick Henry, 1-0, to claim the lone state crown.
A year later, in 2001, the Cougars recovered after losing five of seven games entering the region tournament to repeat as regional champions. Oakton defeated South County Secondary School in the region champion-
ship game before falling in the state quarterfinals and finishing the season with a 17-7 record. In 2003, Oakton
After helping the Cougars to the 2000 state title, Stacen Gant went on to set the wins record at George Mason.
went 22-3 and won the Concorde District championship, and in 2005 the Cougars went 19-5 en route to another district championship, the third under Rowland.
In 2006, Oakton went 19-8, advancing to the region final before falling to Lake Braddock. The Cougars then made a run to the state final, where a controversial call by an umpire negated what would have been the tying run in the top of the seventh inning, resulting in a game-ending double play and a 9-8 victory for Monacan. The follow- ing year, in 2007, the Cougars went 23-4 and defeated South County in the region final before falling to Forest Park in the state quarterfinals. Rowland would step down as head coach after his 2008 team went 19-5 and lost to Lake Braddock in the region semifinals. he walked away with a 173-54 record in nine seasons.
Justin Janis, a 1997 graduate of Oakton who had served as an assistant under Rowland since 2003, was named as his successor. Janis has since led the program to regional berths in seven of his first ten seasons at the helm, as well as Concorde District championships in 2011 and 2013 and 6A Conference 5 championships in 2014 and 2017. He has guided the program to two state tournament berths, and in 2017 led the Cougars to a regional championship.
In 2013, the Cougars finished 21-8 and defeated Chan- tilly in the district championship game on a walk-off double by catcher Kyle Burger. Oakton would then advance to the region final before falling to Lake Brad- dock, and to the state semifinals before having its season end with a 9-8 loss to Hanover. Oakton’s 2014 team would finish 14-8, again de- feating Chantilly in the inaugural 6A Conference 5 championship game before falling to McLean, 1-0, in the first round of the regional tourna- ment. The 2015 team then went 17- 6, winning the Bulldog/Titan Classic over Spring Break and advancing to the conference final before falling to Chantilly and then losing to Battle- field in the first round of regionals.
In 2016, senior shortstop Joe Rizzo, a two-time All-Met and All-State selection and the 2015 6A State Player of the Year, became the highest-drafted player in the pro- gram’s history when he was taken in the second round by the Seattle Mariners. He joins Luke Willis and Alfredo Rodriguez, who played with the Kansas City and Milwaukee organizations, as recent Cougars
to play at the professional level. Additionally, Keith Werman, an All- Met at Oakton and starter on two College World Series teams at the University of Virginia, is coaching in the San Diego Padres organization.
In 2017, the Cougars made a dra- matic run to the 6A North Region title, winning in walk-off fashion in the semifinals against Madison and in the championship game against Patriot before having their postsea- son run end with a state semifinal loss to eventual champion Western Branch. Oakton went 19-8 and two players - pitcher Owen Lamon and catcher Ryan Davis - were chosen as all-state selections and as All- Met picks by The Washington Post. In 2018, the Cougars went 9-13-1, and had two 1st Team All-District players, Eric Lingebach and Jared Kimble. Eric was also a 1st team All-Region player.