Getting over a loss is one thing, handling a loss-in-progress is another. Maret senior Jonathan Korobkin had three days of the latter this week after the D.C. High School Baseball Classic championship was suspended Sunday night by rain at Nationals Park to be resumed Wednesday at Banneker Field.
So all week, Korobkin stewed that his team was trailing Wilson, 1-0, with no outs in the bottom of the fifth inning and a man on first.
“Monday morning when I woke up, I was almost depressed,” Korobkin said. “The feeling of being down for those three days just did not sit well with me.”
Once the game picked back up Wednesday, that gnawing feeling quickly waned. Korobkin stroked a bases-loaded two-run single into left center field to give his team the lead, part of the Frogs’ eight-run outburst in the fifth in an eventual 10-1 win, the school’s second D.C. championship in a row.
“I was waiting for that at-bat for three days,” said Korobkin, named his team’s most valuable player in the championship.
Senior right-hander Andrew Culp, who threw more than 80 pitches in the first five innings Sunday, returned to the mound for Maret on Wednesday and shut down the Tigers (20-11). Culp had called Frogs Coach Antoine Williams earlier in the week asking to finish the game.
“When your No. 1 guy wants the ball, you can’t say no,” Williams said. “He still had his velocity. The way we came out, I don’t think Mother Nature could have beaten us today.”
When Maret recorded the final out, Culp slammed his glove to the ground and a dogpile ensued, one that the Tulane signee suspected felt just as satisfying at Banneker Field on a Wednesday afternoon as it would have at Nationals Park on a Sunday night.
“A city championship is a city championship, no matter what,” Culp said. “Whatever way you can get it, it doesn’t matter to me. This is just as sweet.”
Maret (26-4) had not been shut out all season, and with the top of the order coming up in the fifth, the Frogs figured to score some runs. But not necessarily eight, not with Wilson senior Sean Kelly returning to the game to try to complete his shutout.
“This field is better suited for our offense for sure,” Culp said. “We hit a bunch of balls at Nats stadium that they were just camped under real deep in the outfield. I think just having that sort of that break in play, like the 49ers when the lights went out in the Super Bowl, kind of gave us the momentum.”
No argument from Wilson Coach Jimmy Silk.
“I thought we had a lot of momentum going into the fifth inning at Nationals Park and that just deflated,” Silk said. “It’s very difficult to get back to that level.”
Maret said goodbye to a dozen seniors who will leave behind heightened expectations at the school with 140 boys. That, in time, might be their most lasting contribution, even moreso than the banners and trophies they won.
“This elevates our program,” Williams said. “Yeah, we’re losing a lot of guys. But I think this gives us great momentum for some of the younger guys coming up: If you do the right things, this is where we can be.”