Come Wednesday afternoon, there might not be a more fatigued athlete in the Washington area than Maret junior baseball player Shankar Mani. By then, he will have been standing on first base since about 6:45 p.m. Sunday.
That’s where Mani was when heavy rain suspended the D.C. High School Baseball Classic championship in the bottom of the fifth inning at Nationals Park on Sunday night. And on first is where he will be at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at Banneker Field, when Maret and Wilson assemble to complete the game.
Wilson leads, 1-0. Maret is batting in the bottom of the fifth, with Mani having just drawn a full-count walk. Senior Jamie Progebin is the next scheduled batter, followed by the top of the Frogs’ order.
Maret (25-4) beat Wilson, 6-5, in the event last year and notched a 1-0 win over the Tigers (20-10) on April 13. The tight series between senior-heavy teams should help temper any natural comedown from completing the game at Banneker after starting it in a major league ballpark.
“Of course, still, we always want to win, and it’s always fun, especially when we’re going against a team like Maret,” said Wilson senior right-hander Sean Kelly, who gave up only two hits (one a bunt single) Sunday. “But not finishing the game in Nats Park, it’s kind of deflating. We just have to take care of business.”
“It’s a competitive game normally, but once we’re on this field, it’s at a whole new level,” Wilson senior left fielder Vincent Femia said as his teammates gathered in the concourse at Nats Park on Sunday night. “It’s an amazing atmosphere.”
Wilson scored its run in the fourth inning, off Maret senior Andrew Culp. Senior Joe Greenberg reached on a fielder’s choice, took third on a single by senior Pedro Mateo and scored when Femia beat out a possible double-play ball that would have ended the inning.
“It wasn’t really a clean hit; it came off the inside of the bat,” Femia said. “That might have actually been a good thing because it gave me some extra time to get down the base line.”
“It was bang-bang, one of those plays,” Wilson Coach Jimmy Silk said. “But that’s how these games [with Maret] are. It’s one play here or there that makes the difference. It’s just really unfortunate to have it cut off after four-and-a-half [innings].”
Maret left the bases loaded to end the second inning against Kelly, who pitched that 1-0 loss to the Frogs in April. Kelly is hoping to return to the mound Wednesday to complete the championship outing. He threw an unofficial total of 56 pitches in his four-plus innings Sunday.
Maret and Wilson advanced to the event championship by winning games earlier that day. Maret topped St. Albans, 4-3, on a walk-off hit by senior Austen Maggin over the center fielder’s head with no outs in the bottom of the seventh. St. Albans had scored three runs to tie the game in the top of that inning.
Wilson advanced by winning its 21st consecutive D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association title with a 16-1 six-inning victory over McKinley.
And, of course, the 1-0 loss to Mid-Atlantic Conference champion Maret.
“It’s going to take a lot of work to get the guys’ energy level back up to where it was,” Silk said Sunday evening as he and the Tigers readied to leave Nats Park. “But we’re going to have to do it. I’m very confident that with 10 seniors, we’ll be able to ramp it back up.”