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Wilson earns seventh baseball title

(Published June 14, 1999)

By CHARLES E. HALL II

Special to The Common Denominator

The Wilson Tigers used a feisty defense and some stingy pitching to defeat the Crimson Tide of Dunbar 8-0 for their seventh D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association baseball championship.

This was the third meeting of the season between the two West division rivals and the second in as many weeks when they took the field on June 1. In the first meeting, Dunbar defeated Wilson to end the Tigersí 89-game league winning streak with a 5-4 victory. Wilsonís streak dated from May 1992. Wilson (16-7 overall, 14-1 in the conference) beat Dunbar 17-5 in the final game of the regular season to earn themselves the number one seed in the West.

"This team was different than the other championship teams, because we were so young," Wilson Coach Eddie Saah said. "We only had four seniors, but our sophomores and juniors really came through for us."

Wilson starting pitcher Eddie Smith was named the gameís most valuable player as he paced the Tiger defense by throwing a four-hitter and walking one. Smith, a 6-foot-2 senior, ended his career with an impressive 15-0 DCIAA record and three championships. For Smith, the win was special because he recovered from a chipped bone in his right hand that prevented him from finishing out the game against Dunbar in which the Tigers lost earlier this season.

"I was a little nervous at first, but as the game went on I settled down," Smith said. "I just thank God for giving me the strength to play well today."

Dunbar (17-3) couldnít hit the ball well enough to penetrate the Wilson defense. In the sixth inning, the Crimson Tide had a chance to cut into the lead with runners on first and third, but Willie Green hit a sharp ground ball to second baseman Max West, who immediately threw to first for the double play.

Wilson scored early when James McNeely (2-for-3) hit an RBI double off Dunbarís Almonzo Banks in the second inning to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. In the very next at bat, Aaron Thomas (2-for-3) brought home McNeely on an RBI single for a 3-0 lead. In the fifth inning, the Tigers took a 4-0 lead after Jon Cohen (2-for-3) hit an RBI double. Wilson then put the game out of reach in the final two innings as they scored four runs on six hits.

Copyright 1999, The Common Denominator