If H.D. Woodson's baseball team finishes the season unbeaten, a pair of triple plays will have played major roles in the Warriors' success.
The latest defensive rarity came last week in an 8-5 victory over defending Interhigh League and tournament champion Wilson. The triple play ended a Tigers rally.
Earlier this season, Woodson had a triple play against Cardozo.
In the Wilson game, the Tigers were rallying in a 3-1 game when they put two runners on with no outs in the fourth inning. The Warriors then turned a routine double play into an inning-ending triple play. After getting the second out at first. Barry Williams threw to catcher Lee Thomas to tag the runner sliding home.
"Most people wouldn't have thought about that third runner," said Woodson Coach Clarence (Boomer) Washington. "We don't practice the triple play. Most teams don't practice the triple play. Very seldom in high school do you see a triple play. Most players don't think that fast.
"It was a perfect double play ball. My guy (first basemen Williams) turned around and got the other guy. It was one of the turning points in the game. It helped us to get out of the whole."
Washington likes to practice frequently with his whole infield, including the pitchers, working on game situations.
"I switch the infield all the way around (during practice). The only person that stays still is the shortstop. I particularly give individual attention to the pitchers.
"This year, we have more balance and we have players who play more than one position. We work on our basics. We stick to a lot of basics."
Along with a good defense, the Warriors have been receiving solid hitting performances from third basemen Willie Sparks (.710) and the Thomas brothers -- Lee (.673) and Charles (.650).
Hitting was one of Washington's biggest concerns before the season, but he need not have worried.
"We have good hitting all down our lineup. We're a good hitting team now. I normally try to get them to concentrate on the fast ball," said Washington.
"Everybody gets their base knocks," said designated hitter Charles Page.
With no pitching machine, Washington enlists an outsider to throw hard to his batters. Against Wilson, the Warriors collected 21 hits against all-star pitcher Patrick Keegan, considered the best in the Interhigh.
Most of Woodson's games have not gone the normal seven innings becuase of the 10-run rule -- a game is stopped if a team leads an opponent by 10 or more runs. The Warriors have easily beaten most of their opponents. They defeated rival Anacostia, 18-4, and beat Cardozo, 22-4.
"Coolidge was our biggest win. We beat them, 16-1," said left fielder Troy Jordan.