Wilson senior left-hander Jack Price was admittedly nervous in his first D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association championship game start. And to add to his nerves, he was facing the school he attended as a freshman, School Without Walls, plus Tuesday’s game at Washington Nationals Youth Academy in Southeast Washington marked his final high school game.
Price had command issues during the first two innings as he totaled 20 balls on 40 pitches. But in the third he found his footing, and he went on to strike out 12 to lift Wilson to a 3-1 win over School Without Walls in Tuesday’s city championship.
Price allowed three hits, all singles, and the only run the Penguins scored was on a passed ball in the 107-pitch complete-game win.
“It’s such a big game, and there was a lot on my mind about it,” Price said. “I kind of got too psyched up about it, and that affected the way I started out.”
Price’s move to Wilson has landed him in three city title games, and each time he has come out the victor. Tuesday’s title marked the Tigers’ 22nd consecutive DCIAA championship.
The batters for the Tigers (15-8) were kept off balance for a majority of the game by Penguins right-hander Reuben Pansegrouw. Pansegrouw struck out four with a steady mix of off-speed pitches and fastballs. He allowed one hit in the complete-game loss.
The Penguins (12-6) inched closer in the fourth on a passed ball that plated Pansegrouw to make the deficit 2-1.
Through five innings, Pansegrouw had a no-hitter going to keep Walls within striking distance, but in the sixth Allen-Gifford hit an RBI single to right to break up the no-hitter and give Price some cushion.
“It was a fastball outside, and I just tried to go with it to right field,” Allen-Gifford said. “I knew the situation, and the team needed some insurance. I knew Jack battled for us all day and I wanted to give him an insurance run.
In the seventh, Price struck out all three batters. He retired the last seven batters he faced.
In last season’s DCIAA championship, Wilson defeated McKinley, 16-2. For third-year Coach James Silk, it was the closest game he had been a part of in his tenure as the skipper.
“It’s great for these seniors to end their careers with a competitive ballgame,” Silk said. “In past years this tournament has been a bit of a letdown for our seniors. To have Walls and [Coach] Kip [Smith] do the job they did, it’s a good day for D.C. public school baseball.”