It was almost a year ago this week that Dunbar's softball coach, Roy Westmore, frustrated over a litany of inadequacies and problems associated with coaching girls softball, almost quit.
On two occasions, the umpires did not show up for scheduled games. On other occasions, either the fields were not prepared or the buses were late.
"It was one thing after another and I was getting tired of it. We would have a beautiful day, 88 degrees outside, and the ump wouldn't show," Westmore said. "Then you have to try to make up a lot of games in a short period. We had to forfeit two games, but we still made the playoffs. But we had a couple of girls injured and a couple of other problems so we didn't play."
Westmore was seething a bit last week when the umpire was nearly 40 minutes late for his key game against Wilson. He kept his anger in check, however, because his team went into the game tied with Ballou for first place in the Interhigh League standings.
Dunbar (9-0), led by Stephanie Randall, Tosha Bennett and Theresa Jones, routed Wilson, 24-6, and Coolidge, 25-5, in tuneups before facing Ballou for the league crown Monday at Bunday Playground. Taking advantage of six unearned runs in the seventh inning, Dunbar came-from-behind to beat the Knights, 15-14, for the championship and the right to the top seed in this week's tournament.
"We have a pretty good team. They play good defense and go up and swing the bat," said Westmore, also the boys basketball coach at Dunbar. "They've had a good year."
Dunbar and Ballou are heads and shoulders above the other teams in the league and should meet again in the tournament final next week.
Honorees for the D.C. Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame awards were:
In the District -- Rodney Purifoy of H.D. Woodson, Gregory Butler of Anacostia, Michael O'Neil of St. John's and Phil Barnhill of Carroll; in Maryland -- David Rubino of Georgetown Prep, Chris McMahon of Good Counsel, Joe Hall of McNamara, Todd Wolfram of Springbrook, Henry Frazier of Fairmont Heights and Morrell Savoy of Douglass; in Virginia -- Chris Maslyn of Annandale, John Szymanski of Edison, Richard Pierce of Marshall and William Hindshaw of Mount Vernon.
Former Northwood and Kennedy football coach Brady Straub, who recently passed away, was honored posthumously for his outstanding contribution to amateur football.
More than 200 youths are expected to participate in the first Lacrosse Day May 31 at St. Stephen's School in Alexandria. Bud Mayo, who initiated the sport in Northern Virginia 10 years ago at Lake Braddock, said the free day-long event for youths grades 4-8 will include an instructional clinic and games.
"This will be a showcase of lacrosse for the youth involved in the game in the area," said Mayo, an assistant principal at Cooper Intermediate School. "We are just trying to introduce another spring sport to the youth -- give them something else to participate in besides baseball and soccer. Hopefully, in a few years, lacrosse will be a competitive varsity sport in high school."
Mayo said interest in the sport has grown 10-fold since 1976 when he had to explain the significance of each piece of lacrosse equipment to a group of students at Lake Braddock.
"There's been what we call 'a gentle explosion' since then," Mayo said. "Right now, there are about 20-25 youth teams just in Northern Virginia. Youth groups are also active in Maryland. I think the sport has wonderful potential. It's going to grow in the next few years."
For those interested in participating in Lacrosse Day, Mayo can be reached at Cooper.
Mount Vernon is looking for a boys basketball team to complete the eight-team field in its annual holiday tournament in December. If interested, contact Athletic Director Bruce Patrick at the school . . . Andy Tisinger, track coach at Lake Braddock, has been named coach of the year for Region II by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association. Tisinger will be honored by the Association at a banquet in Orlando, Fla., June 21.