School Without Walls won the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association softball championship this week by forgetting recent history.
The Penguins overcame regular-season losses to both Wilson and Anacostia to beat both in the semifinals and finals, respectively. Their 17-14 victory over the Indians in Thursday’s championship game figured to be a stepping stone to a bigger stage.
But Friday, school officials told organizers of Saturday’s Congressional Bank Softball Classic that the Penguins will not have enough players to compete in the annual contest pitting the DCIAA champ against a D.C. private school power (Georgetown Visitation, this year) due to injuries and several players committed to taking an SAT prep course that day.
“We would like to play,” School Without Walls Coach Art Klawender said, “but people have commitments. We just don’t have enough players.”
Fortunately, though, the Penguins had players come through against Wilson and Anacostia – the DCIAA’s past two representatives in the Classic.
After losing to Wilson, 17-1, in the regular season, the Penguins rebounded to beat the Tigers, 11-4, last Tuesday. Junior pitcher Tai Schroeder threw a complete-game three-hitter and struck out 11. Freshman second baseman Jordan Fingerhut and sophomore shortstop Julia Mitchell each scored three runs for the Penguins.
The Penguins came into Thursday’s final having lost to Anacostia, 17-13, in the regular season. School Without Walls, though, took a 17-11 lead into the bottom of the seventh. Starting catcher Michelle Sloss had injured her back and had to come out, forcing first baseman Ellie Edgell to move behind the plate.
After Anacostia scored three times, the tying run came to the plate with runners on second and third and two outs. On a wild pitch, Edgell chased the ball to the backstop and made a perfect throw to Schroeder covering home for the final out.
Schroeder went 4 for 5 with four runs scored, while Daley Burns also scored four runs, while notching three hits for the Penguins.