Va. baseball

Woodbridge to wear camouflage jerseys in honor of military

By Preston Williams
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Given baseball superstitions, teams unbeaten this late in the season might be hesitant to make wholesale uniform changes, even in the short term.

No. 3 Woodbridge (17-0) will tempt that fate. In their two games this week, the Vikings will wear customized camouflage jerseys and caps in honor of the heavy military presence in the area.

The baseball program planned a military appreciation ceremony for prior to Tuesday's home game against Forest Park, which was rained out and rescheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday. The players also will wear the camo uniforms Friday at Gar-Field.

"We are superstitious, I guess, to a certain extent," Woodbridge Coach Jason Ritenour said of the temporary uniform switch. "But for the cause, we'll be just fine. Being in such close proximity to the Pentagon, Quantico and Fort Belvoir, it's something small we can do to honor the military."

Eight Vikings have parents who are either in the military or retired from it, and Ritenour estimates there are 20 faculty members at Woodbridge with military backgrounds. One of them, science teacher John Paulson, former commander of the submarine USS Philadelphia, was scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch Tuesday.

Paulson was featured last year in a Post story about former military members who work at schools through the Troops to Teachers program.

Eric Tatum, father of junior second baseman Kevin Tatum, was instrumental in organizing the military event. Another son, Kyle Tatum, played baseball at Woodbridge and is now attending the Air Force Academy.

The Vikings will be back in their regular uniforms for what could be a key game May 18 at home against Osbourn Park (15-3, 9-1). So far, the Yellow Jackets' only loss in the Virginia AAA Cardinal District has been to Woodbridge.

If Osbourn Park wins out and hands Woodbridge its only district loss, a playback game would determine the regular season champion and automatic Northwest Region tournament qualifier.

Woodbridge has not won a district title since 1994 and a region title since 1979.

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