A week ago, Wilson right-hander Will Bouma was pitching for the Tigers’ junior varsity team while the varsity squad marched toward yet another D.C. Insterscholastic Athletic Association championship.
But when Wilson put its lengthy streak on the line against Bell at Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, it was the lanky Bouma who took the mound, trying to extend a streak that started before the 14-year-old was born and when his coach was in third grade.
Bouma delivered a strong and efficient outing, allowing two runs on two hits and three walks while striking out four, while Wilson beat Bell, 13-3, to capture its 23rd straight DCIAA title in Southeast Washington.
“It’s great to be in a position to throw a puppy on the mound,” Coach Jimmy Silk said. “Freshman Will Bouma showed us what he has for next season.”
Bouma’s lone hiccup came in his final inning of work, when Griffins outfielder Argenys De La Rosa tripled to left-center field before scoring on second baseman MD Ahammed’s single. After a stolen base, wild pitch and a balk, Ahammed came around to score.
But other than a pair of walks in the third inning, Bouma cruised, no-hitting the Griffins through four while the Tigers jumped out to an 11-0 lead.
Bouma, who stands 6 feet 4 and may still be growing, said he was nervous to start in a championship game, but that feeling dissipated after he set down Bell in order in the top of the first.
“Just being that it was the championship, 22 years in a row, it kind of has a legacy that you kind of have to follow up,” Bouma said.
Offensively, Wilson (28-8) sent 11 batters to the plate in the first inning and scored seven runs off the Bell starter. Tigers center fielder Devin Rivera scored a Little League-style home run, racing around the bases after a couple of Griffins throwing errors. Four Tigers scored at least two runs, and five more scored once.
From his position in center field, Rivera, a senior, spent his time encouraging Bouma and reminding himself when he was a freshman on varsity.
“That’s beautiful because I remember I was the only freshman on varsity when it was my year and having a lot of the big dogs and the seniors telling me there’s a lot of expectations, you’re going to be really, really good,” Rivera said. “You really don’t see it flourish at first. But it’s mostly seeing myself in him.”
Despite all of its success in the DCIAA, Wilson has yet to capture an elusive DCSAA title. So as the Tigers walked off the turf in Southeast, their minds turned to their next tournament and their next goal.
“It’s nice to bring this trophy back to Wilson,” Silk said. “But there’s one place we want to be and that’s on Sunday at Nats Park for the city title.”