H.D. Woodson, given a second chance when a forfeit decision was reversed, left no doubt yesterday which was the best baseball team in the Interhigh League this season.
With a six-run fifth inning and a three-hit pitching performance, the Warriors defeated Dunbar, 10-2, to win the tournament championship at Banneker Field for their second title in three years.
"This one was for Boomer (Coach Clarence Washington, who underwent hip surgery Tuesday). Unfortunately, he couldn't be here and we wanted to give him a get-well gift," said Steve McClam, who handled the head coaching duties. "We talked strategy before the game and all Coach said was to do the things that got us here -- be calm, play good defense, wait for opportunities."
Woodson and Dunbar were scheduled to play the championship game last Thursday but because Woodson's graduation was that morning, the players didn't show up for the game. Otto Jordan, the league athletic director, said he felt Woodson could have handled the 10 a.m. graduation and 3:30 p.m. game and awarded Dunbar a forfeit victory.
Woodson filed a protest and Dr. Andew Jenkins, the deputy superintendent of D.C. Schools, overruled Jordan and ordered the game played.
Jordan refused comment on the ruling but said publicity surrounding the game was instrumental in bringing out the largest crowd (more than 500) to watch an Interhigh baseball game in more than a dozen years.
"Good or bad, the press brought all these parents, baseball lovers and interested people here," he said. "It's good they did get the chance to play."
Even though his team lost, Dunbar Coach James Conway also was happy the game was played.
"We didn't want to back into any championship," said Conway, accepting the runner-up trophy. "You want to play the game to find out who the true champion is."
Because of poor base running by Woodson and a two-run triple by Dunbar's Donnell Price, the Warriors trailed, 2-1, going into the bottom of the fifth.
"All I wanted my teammates to do was get me the go-ahead run," said winning pitcher Vincent Hill (7-1). "Sooner or later, I knew it was coming."
The Warriors (17-3) sent 10 batters to the plate in the fifth. They had four hits, received three walks and benefited from two errors and two wild pitches to score six runs.
Charles Paige and Willie Sparks walked with one out. Charlie Thomas' single scored Paige to tie the score at 2.
Troy Jordan bunted safely to load the bases. Craig Green then lined a sharp single to left field off starter Antoine Paige to score Sparks and Thomas and the Warriors were ahead to stay, 4-2.
Jordan scored on a throwing error and Barry Williams' long double drove in Green to make it 6-2. Williams stole third and scored the sixth run of the inning on a wild pitch.
"We were trying to break the game open too quickly and couldn't get any big hits," said Thomas, who had two hits and three RBI. "We just had to relax and wait for good pitches to hit."
Having a nice cushion with which to work, Hill threw mostly fast balls and overpowered Dunbar (9-9). He allowed one hit in the last 4 2/3 innings and retired 14 of the last 15 batters. Hill struck out 12 and walked one