The Bullis tournament is always a highlight on The Heights's schedule -- the two schools are located a few miles apart in Potomac and are natural rivals. But when The Heights's league -- the Potomac Baseball Association -- disbanded in the offseason after two years, the Cavaliers lost a postseason tournament, making Saturday's event all the more significant.
The team responded with an 8-0 victory over Maret and a 5-4 decision over Bullis, winning the event for the second straight year and improving to 7-0.
"We've been looking forward to [the tournament] ever since we got our schedule," said junior Robert Gemmill, who had two hits and two RBI in the first game and earned a save in the second. "It's nice to be in a league, but as long as we still play a solid level of competition it's fine."
The Cavaliers' schedule remains much the same, with games against teams from the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, Interstate Athletic Conference and Mid-Atlantic Conference. But without a league affiliation, the team has fewer tangible benchmarks.
"The teams like Maret and Bullis are the teams we gear up for because they're quality baseball programs," said second-year coach Brian Carroccio. "Winning these tournaments is what we gear up for now that we're not in a league."
The Cavaliers also have ambitious long-term goals: an undefeated record and a championship in the season-ending Maryland State Private Schools tournament. The Cavaliers have lost to Bullis in the semifinals of that event two years in a row.
"We're still shooting for the Maryland state tournament; that's our main goal, always has been," said senior Ryan Schultze, who went 5 for 8 with five runs scored on Saturday and also earned a win with a two-hitter against Maret. "It was a shame [that the league disbanded], but it's not too big of a deal. I just want to play. I don't have to be in a league to have fun."
-- Dan Steinberg