Jackson-Reed baseball: moving forward together

Justin Glenn, Sports Editor

You win some, and you lose some.. unfortunately baseball can present that sometimes. On May 21st the Jackson-Reed Tigers finished as DCSAA States runner ups; falling to the St. Albans Bulldogs 6-1, after a hard fought 2023 season.

“One day doesn’t define us, but the process was worth it all,” head coach Henry Martinez said. 

The team traveled to Nationals Youth Baseball Academy for the DCSAA championship as the intense action started with a hit batter by right-hander Quinn Lindblom, followed by an errant toss to first baseman Alex Ozuna-Nuñez, putting runners on base for St. Albans.

The Tigers, looking to rebound, started with Bulldogs second baseman Clark Mocek, hitting into a fielder’s choice, which accounted for the first run of the game. St. Albans designated hitter Myles Upchruch, singled on a line drive to Tigers senior center fielder Luka Komives, scoring shortstop Derek Desmarais, and pushing the lead to 2-0. 

The top of the 2nd began with a passed ball by St. Albans’ catcher Satchel Hamliton, plating Tiger senior left fielder co-captain Jacob Gerson, who reached base on a fielder’s choice, closing the gap to 2-1.

Fellow captain, catcher Gabe Alexander reached base on an error. Outfielder Calvin Davis has been the go-to courtesy runner for Alexander; as the sophomore advanced around the base paths, he was later picked off at third base; taking a potential run off the board for the Tigers, keeping the score at 2-1. 

In the bottom of the frame, St. Albans’ Desmarais tripled on a line drive to Tigers senior right fielder Flynn Sullivan, scoring Hamilton, leading to a 3-1 Bulldogs advantage. A following play that resulted in an error on a groundball brought home Desmarais and widened the margin to 4-1. 

J.R. looking to stop the bleeding, led to center fielder M.J. Sharpe scorching a line drive to Gerson for an out, but first baseman Elliott Eaton tagged up, scoring from third base, which stretched the lead to 5-1. 

The bottom of the 5th was the final run for St. Albans and came courtesy of a Desmarais groundball. He reached base on another error, which gave Hamilton a free pass to touch home base. 

A top of the 7th rally by the Tigers, with singles by Jackson Loomis and Gerson, wasn’t enough to complete what would’ve been a story book comeback after Alexander hit a flyout to end the game to left fielder Preston Benner, ending a stellar 24-7 Jackson-Reed baseball season.  

The Tigers finished the game with six errors, and only three base hits as a group. 

Loomis went 2 for 3, with two singles, and Gerson was 1 for 3, accounting for the Tigers lone run in a deflating loss. “It was a good run, but it has been long,” the shortstop Loomis said. “We did not come out on top, but we had fun.. made a lot of memories, and strengthened a lot of relationships.. that’s what it’s all about in the end.”

“We have a lot in the future for us,” the sophomore added. 

“You can’t win a ballgame with that many errors, and you can’t win without enough hits. That was the really big thing that took a dent on us, we didn’t put together the things it takes to win,” the catcher Alexander stated. 

“We had to limit our mistakes early.. we made multiple. Baseball [Unfortunately] works like that sometimes,” said co-captain Liam Ervin. 

Cleaning up mistakes is something that’s been preached throughout the entire season. This was the key factor that St. Albans capitalized off of with four errant plays by Jackson-Reed in the 9-5 regular season loss against the Bulldogs on March 30th. 

St. Albans right-hander Owen Basso pitched seven innings, and recorded eight strikeouts in a dominant performance notably keeping a stellar J.R. batting order silent. 

“We didn’t make the routine plays, and we flat just got dominated at the plate, three hits doesn’t get it done.. no matter how you play it,” Gerson emphasized. 

The Tigers right-handed ace Quinn Lindblom started the game, and gave it his all. After throwing 102 pitches on four days of rest, Lindblom, as he preached after the States Semifinals win against Maret, led by example of showing grit, and not giving up. 

His philosophy of “Throw my heart out, and throw as hard as I can,” was on full display. Although he couldn’t complete the game after giving up five runs, and three hits in only two innings, Lindblom made his teammates, coaches, and the Jackson-Reed community proud. “He’s our #1 guy for a reason, he’s had to pitch a lot over this past week, he gave it all he could, and so did our bullpen,” senior right-hander Ethan Barry said. 

In a rough spot on the mound, the reins were turned over to the junior left-handed pitcher of Jack Jannsen. In a ballgame that was his best performance on the mound this season, the left-hander acknowledges, “not getting a win makes it feel less important[Personally].”

“[I] felt good in my [Bull]pen during the game, and knew I may need to come in,” he said. “I didn’t feel too much pressure, especially after finding the zone early… I built up confidence as the game went on,” Jannsen noted. 

The lefty put out the fire started by St. Albans offensively. He threw four innings, while contributing four strikeouts, and only allowing three hits in relief of Lindblom.  

Despite the loss, the Tigers would not have been at this point if it weren’t for the pure leadership displayed all season by nine seniors, and notably the three captains; the catcher Gabe Alexander, and outfielders Liam Ervin and Jacob Gerson. Right-handed pitcher Ethan Barry, center fielder Jamari Burriss, first baseman and utility man Jack Kobil, center fielder Luka Komives, infielder Alex Ozuna-Nuñez, right fielder Flynn Sullivan, and right-hander Knox West; make up the rest of the senior group. 

In terms of a final remark on the season…

“This season was special, it was fun, we learned, and grew a lot, ” Jackson-Reed head coach Henry Martinez said. “We were together through it all [with] the ups and downs. The future is bright for years to come.”

The baseball Tigers enter the offseason with a goal of keeping the legendary streak of what is soon to be 30 years of winning baseball alive, but in addition.. adding a ‘24 DCSAA States championship to their collection. The senior right-fielder Sullivan believes, “they’re ready to do their thing.. I’ve got a feeling they’ll win it all [next year].”