Congressional Bank Baseball Classic

St. Albans edges Wilson, 2-1, in Congressional Bank Baseball Classic

By Preston Williams
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 30, 2010

St. Albans senior Duncan Taylor knew he had no choice but to tear down the first base line when he bounced a one-out grounder to second base with the bases loaded and the score tied in the bottom of the eighth inning of the Congressional Bank Baseball Classic on Saturday night at Nationals Park.

No doubt there are easier ways to ensure the winning run scores in a championship than by relying on your catcher's ability to sprint 90 feet, but it worked for the Bulldogs, who were able to push across a tying run in the seventh and the decisive run in the eighth in a 2-1 victory over Wilson in the third annual game that pits the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association title winner against one of the city's top private school teams.

In the bottom of the eighth, St. Albans junior Henry Sisson led off with a double to deep center field, and senior Cameron Windham was intentionally walked. One out later, the runners each moved up on a wild pitch, so the Tigers walked another batter to load the bases.

Up stepped Taylor, who hit a grounder that resulted in a force at second, but Taylor, hustling down the line, beat the throw to first, which meant that Sisson's run counted.

"I wanted to get there so bad," said Taylor, who had a bunt single in the seventh to help the Bulldogs tie the score. "We work hard on getting out of the box quick. I knew I could get there. There's no feeling I hate worse than grounding into a double play. I know this could have been my last play in high school. So I wanted to end it well."

"Two years ago, I would have said no," St. Albans Coach Jason Larocque said when asked if he had faith in Taylor beating the throw. "But he's matured a lot as an athlete. He's been a stalwart for us for two years, and it's a great way to end his career."

St. Albans has won all three classics, each time over Wilson, including by one run in each of the past two years.

Wilson (17-12), which lost 11-1 to St. Albans during the regular season, led the classic final from the top of the first until the bottom of the seventh, when the Bulldogs (22-11) tied the game but lined into an inning-ending double play.

Wilson scratched for six hits off right-hander Windham, four of which were infield singles. Windham struck out seven and walked none. Four of his innings required eight pitches or fewer.

"He's just been an amazing pitcher for us this year," Larocque said. "He's surpassed all expectations. He didn't pitch a whole lot last year and we told him that we would go as far as he took us this year, because we needed him."

Wilson junior Benjamin Whitener also went the distance, allowing six hits, striking out one and walking five, three intentionally.

How they arrived: St. Albans advanced to the final earlier Saturday with a 6-3 win over Maret. Wilson blanked McKinley, 7-0, for its 18th consecutive DCIAA title and another berth in the final. One for red: In the all-star game that preceded the championship, with public and private school players competing with and against each other, the Red team scored nine runs in the top of the sixth inning to erase the Blue team's 6-1 lead and held on for a 10-8 win.

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