Lawrence Crawford and Duane Christian are still reliving their fun-filled baseball days when they were teammates on Howard University's team in 1972-73.
"We've always been good friends," said Crawford, who pitched for Anacostis before attending Howard. "We always get together and talk baseball. We remember when baseball was big here."
Crawford and Christian are still wearing uniforms now but in different capacities.
Crawford, in his first year as the head coach at Anacostia, will be opposing his buddy today when his team plays Ballou, reached by Christian, for the Interhigh Championship at St. Albans at 3 p.m.
"We've been thinking about this since we started coaching," said Crawford. "I guess you can say we dreamed about it. After we beat Spingarn (3-2) in the first round of the playoffs last week, Duane ran over to me and said, 'that's half the dream.'"
Christian, who played at DcMatha and also is coaching in his year, directed the Knights (9-6) to a fifth-place finish in the league but pulled off upsets in whipping Coolidge (10-6) and league cochampion H.D. Woodson (6-3) to gain a berth in the final.
Crawford's team actually finished seventh in the 14-team round-robin league schedule but because third-place finisher Wilson declined to play. Anacostia (12-6) became the sixth and final team in the tourney.
"Their (wilson) coach (Billy Richardson) felt if he didn't finish either first or second, what's the sense of a tourney," said Crawford. "I'm glad he felt that way. I like this tournament. It keeps the weaker team's interest up. They may not win the title but they can fight to get in the playoffs."
Anacostia defeated Ballou, 1-0, in their only meeting this season. And Crawford expects today's game to be close again.
"Duane told me after that game, he was changing his signals because I picked them up and threw out two of his runners trying to steal," said Crawford. "We can't get trickly with each other. We're both from the Chuck Hinton (Howard coach) school of baseball.
Both teams feature good pitching and scrappy hitters.
Anacostia is led by sophomore peppery catcher Antonia Johnson (.385) and senior pitcher-outfielders Mike Toomer, who hurled a two-hitter to beat Eastern, 5-0, in the semifinal last week, and Larry Peterson and first baseman Mike Waddy.
Ronald Jenkins is the mound ace for the Knights. He relieved against Woodson and stopped that team on two hits in three innings to preserve the semifinal win. He also came in against Coolidge three days earlier in the first inning and shot down 15 batters in a row at one point.
Curtis Campbell, Roy Williams, Skip Foulkes and Rick Cawthorne are the main batting threats for Ballou.
"I'll probably see Duane tonight (last night) and we'll talk about the game," said Crawford. "And after it's over - you know I dreamed it'll go 14 innings - we'll go out and celebrate. No time to panic or get tense. We've both always been loose. It's all fun."
Two Montgomery County AA schools. Peary and Crossland, meet today in the first round of the Maryland state championships in a 3 p.m. contest at Prince George's Community College. In other first-round action, Bowie will face Gaithersburg at Springbrook in a 3:30 game.
In Virginia, Washington-Lee travels today to Rocky Mount, Va., to take on Franklin County in the semifinals of the state AAA tournament.