Since the early 1990s, Wilson’s baseball team has ruled the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association. Coming into this season, the Tigers are eying their 25th consecutive league crown along with the chance to extend their unbelievable 22-year undefeated streak in conference play.
But while they are undeniably talented, the Tigers enter the year with an inexperienced team.
“As a whole we are a very young program,” said Tigers coach James Silk. “We have a lot of young leadership on the team and a lot of bumps in the road. They have grown a lot week after week.”
Despite this youth, Silk has built a rigorous schedule featuring local baseball powers such as DeMatha and St. Albans to prepare for league play and D.C. State Athletic Association competition.
“We do our best, given our DCIAA schedule, to make sure that our non-conference schedule is as grueling and difficult as possible,” said Silk. “Our kids have been exposed to what the highest level of baseball in the area looks like. The goal of this team is to minimize mental errors.”
The Tigers’ backbone this season is its pitching staff — junior Will Bouma, freshman Collin Bosley-Smith and senior Chris Hamann.
“We have three guys that can carry us,” said Silk. “If we can minimize errors in the field, we only need two or three to win a game.”
Behind the plate, the Tigers have been alternating among three players after their starting catcher, junior Nathan Wagner, went down with a concussion a few weeks ago.
“Today was his first game back,” Silk said prior to the Tigers’ 12-2 romp over Avalon on Monday. “He’s in the outfield and we are slowly working him back behind the dish in the next month.”
In Wagner’s stead, sophomore Josh Lasser and junior Nick Whitman have “stepped up” for backup, the coach said.
For overall guidance, the team is relying on its captains — Bouma and senior Owen Isaacs. “It’s those two leading the ship,” Silk said, noting Bouma’s strong pitching and describing Isaacs as “our three hitter. He’s an outstanding kid.”
With a young varsity team, Wilson’s future on the diamond looks bright for the foreseeable future. This spring the Tigers became the only DCIAA program to have a full complement of teams, allowing for ideal development of its players.
“This is the first year that we are fielding three teams. We have a full complement of freshmen, JV and varsity,” said Silk. “It’s just wonderful for Northwest D.C. for Wilson to do that. The athletics department and boosters have been great. They have been getting us everything we need, from equipment to coaching, to be able to offer baseball to as many kids as possible.”
Wilson will be back in action on Friday when the team travels to battle St. Albans at 4 p.m.