All articles are written by YJDP Student Sports Writers and edited by mentors from The Washington Post prior to publishing.
The Maret Frogs baseball team returned from their Spring trip to Melbourne, Florida prepared to begin their season and their quest for a third consecutive MAC title. The team is led by a cadre of seniors and upperclassmen who have been to the pinnacle of DC high school baseball and are hungry to reach it again this season.
A relatively small school that rarely recruits players from outside its own campus, Maret has staked its claim as one of the top baseball programs in the DC area. They sent multiple players to compete at the collegiate level last season and have cultivated a bevy of talented seniors primed to capture another MAC title and DCSAA championship for the unconventional powerhouse.
The Frog’s head coach, Antoine Williams, preaches “quality over quantity” when asked about how he fields a competitive team every season from a school many value for its academics alone. “We know we will not have a large incoming class,” explains Williams, who looks for “that guy” in the recruitment process but realizes the importance ofcultivating talent from a young age. Williams encourages students in Maret’s program to join developmental programs as a mechanism to create a fundamentally sound, cohesive unit. The results is a group of players who have competed together from a young age. Many of Maret’s players have played together since 7th and 8th grade, creating a familiar atmosphere that makes the players looser and more comfortable. Both Junior Varsity and Varsity teams intermingle for practices due to sheer lack of numbers, exposing younger players earlier and aiding their development.
The team recently returned from their annual trip to Florida, where they trained and competed with top Florida baseball talent in order to prepare for the upcoming season. Williams touts the trip, which helps the players “bond through victories” and gives the coach a chance to evaluate his team. Because of Maret’s small school status, many of Maret’s players participate in multiple sports, limiting Williams’ ability to work with his team during the offseasons. This means that the team’s annual trip to Florida lends Maret’s coach precious time to evaluate talent and prepare his team for the season.
Maret’s program has gradually risen to the top the DC baseball scene. They captured an outright MAC title in the 2012 season, and followed it with another title a year ago. Both years the team captured the DCSAA title, awarded to the champion of a DC-based tournament which hosts its championship game at Nationals Park. Maret’s coach Williams stressed that his team remains focused “first and foremost” on capturing the outright MAC title. He has a team that is hungry to bear the brunt of the workload, including a group of five seniors who have made sizeable contributions to the team for the last three years and appear ready to assume leadership roles.
Maret’s team has earned a reputation as one of the top high school teams in the DC area, and will have to defend that crown against various challengers moving forward in the season. They began their season on the right foot, notching a 17-1 victory over the Potomac school earlier this week behind senior Sammy Appleby’s complete game one-hitter and contributions at the plate from the entire lineup. They will face Flint Hill, one of their top challengers for this year’s MAC banner, on Saturday. With a balanced, experienced team, the Frogs appear primed to repeat as MAC champions and contend for yet another DCSAA title this season.