As if 61 / 2 innings were not enough of an endurance test, Wilson’s girls ran wind sprints before they could celebrate their D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association softball tournament championship.
The Tigers surrendered two leads and claimed three in a 9-7 win over two-time defending champion School Without Walls, which knocked Wilson out of the tournament the past two years.
Using a new ritual under first-year Coach Karina Bond, the Tigers (18-3) capped off the victory with gassers up and down the artificial turf at Alice Deal Middle School in Northwest before receiving a plaque.
“Win or lose, we still have to run.” Bond said. “I’m big on conditioning. That’s what kept us in this game.”
Trailing the Penguins (13-3) by two runs in the bottom of the fourth, the Tigers maintained their patience. Emma Keyes singled to open the inning, and three of her teammates walked to force her home.
Freshman Helen Malhotra scored on a passed ball to tie the game at seven and answer a four-run spurt by the Penguins in the top half of the inning.
After both teams tightened down their defenses in the fifth, freshman Eva Schulman smacked a leadoff single in the sixth. Sophomore Hannah Thompson doubled to put her in scoring positions and third baseman Nina Wiramidjaja knocked in the winning run when she grounded out to first.
Although disappointed she didn’t reach base, Wiramidjaja was happy to end the game with a different result than last year.
In the 2012 DCIAA tournament final, the Tigers agreed to play through rain and let the sloppy weather affect their play. Wilson surrendered a 8-0 lead in the first inning before the game was temporarily halted.
“We really got to prove ourselves that it’s not the weather that can determine how good we are,” Wiramidjaja said. The sophomore started the scoring with a two-out home run to left field in the first before scoring runners on two sacrifice hits later in the game.
School Without Walls was led by Gaby Lahti, who went 3 for 3 with two doubles.
Wilson pitcher Sophia Cordes allowed seven hits in the first four innings, but settled down to shut out School Without Walls in the final three innings and end the game in the top of the seventh.
The Tigers’ postseason sprint is still incomplete. They play Georgetown Day School in the first round of the inaugural D.C. State Athletic Association tournament Tuesday.