The St. John’s baseball players stormed out of their dugout, flung their gray and scarlet hats into the air and formed a dogpile near first base. A few minutes later, those players danced around the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference trophy on Nationals Youth Baseball Academy’s field before pouring Gatorade on Coach Mark Gibbs.
This has become a familiar scene in the WCAC. With a 9-1 win over DeMatha on Saturday afternoon following a 10-0 victory Friday night in Southeast Washington, No. 1 St. John’s won its sixth consecutive league title and 21st overall.
“Every one is special because we have guys who haven’t experienced this yet,” said Gibbs, who graduated from St. John’s in 1996. “I enjoy the Gatorade. I enjoy seeing the kids run on the field.”
While St. John’s (27-3) dominated most of Saturday, it struggled to drive in runners through three innings, resulting in a one-run deficit. Freshman James Triantos provided the Cadets energy in the fourth inning.
With the bases loaded, Triantos knocked a three-RBI double. When the North Carolina commit reached second base, he turned toward his dugout and pumped both fists three times. Players and coaches, rushing to the top of the dugout, mimicked Triantos and let out a collective yell.
“I was just like, ‘Wow, I just did that. This is amazing. This is so fun,’ ” said Triantos, who finished with four RBI.
Triantos transferred from IMG Academy in Florida this year and is one of a handful of underclassman contributors for St. John’s after it graduated perhaps its top three players from last season.
St. John’s rode Triantos’s momentum to score five runs the next inning. After waiting out a half-hour rain delay, the Cadets sealed their victory.
Four of the past five years, St. John’s has beaten DeMatha (18-13) in the WCAC championship. The Cadets’ path to the title game didn’t come easy, though.
St. John’s fell to O’Connell in the first game of its best-of-three WCAC semifinals series this week. The Cadets then went to extra innings in the decisive Game 3. Infielder Justin Riemer’s RBI single in the ninth inning kept the Cadets’ repeat hopes alive.
“This is a lot of young guys — not a lot of seniors,” senior Ian Remalia said. “We’re basically their everyday parents. We’ve been through a lot.”
After the players jumped around the field, they met with their coaches to pose with the WCAC championship trophy and raise six fingers.
For the first time in five years, the Cadets are participating in the D.C. State Athletic Association tournament in the coming week, so they will have another chance to perform these celebrations.
“This one has a little more to it now that I won’t be here to carry on the tradition,” Remalia said.