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The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

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Mercy rule extends Varsity Baseball’s DCIAA Championship Streak to 31 Years

The Tigers look to bring home their first DCSAA title since 2018.
ONE+FAMILY%3A+The+Jackson-Reed+Baseball+Program+poses+for+a+team+photo+with+the+2024+DCIAA+Championship+Trophy.+
DCIAA Sports
ONE FAMILY: The Jackson-Reed Baseball Program poses for a team photo with the 2024 DCIAA Championship Trophy.

When he took to the mound Wednesday afternoon in the DCIAA Championship, sophomore Nelson Hayes did so with a purpose. In the third inning, the bases were loaded and the young right-handed pitcher found himself in a pivotal situation. 

With two outs, the count was one ball and two strikes. School Without Walls’ dugout and fans were waiting for a swing that could cut the 9-0 Tigers lead, and create a push. However, Hayes wasn’t phased as he pushed off the mound and struck out Walls’ cleanup hitter on a 78 mph slicing slider. The sophomore emphatically pumped his fist, and turned to the JR dugout to give a flex, as the Tigers dominated the Penguins, in a shutout, 13-0, for their 31st consecutive DCIAA city Championship. 

“It was a relief, it felt good being able to get out of the inning,” said Hayes. “When I’m in situations like that, I try to slow the game down and go pitch-by-pitch. I remember that my coaches have put me in these situations for a reason.” 

The sophomore blew everything past the Penguins, recording a season-high seven strikeouts, while only allowing one hit and one walk through four innings. “I just came into the game knowing I’ve been preparing for this moment all season. I wanted to perform as such.”

KING OF THE HILL: Sophomore Nelson Hayes on the mound during the third inning against School Without Walls. (DCIAA Sports)

He did so, being named championship game most valuable player, by keeping his thoughts on the mound clear and trusting his pitch arsenal of a fastball, slider and change-up, while staying calm in the moment. “For me, I’m blessed with a hard fastball and I was using it to set up the breaking ball low and away [to hitters].” The hard throwing righty’s fastball topped at 88 mph, on a warm and humid 88 degree afternoon at Nationals Academy. 

With the perfect blend of pitching, batting and defense, the Tigers lobbied seven hits and committed one error on defense. “[It was] a great mix of all three – fielding was clean and almost flawless [and] the bats were hot which felt great,” said senior first baseman Jack Jannsen, who drove in two RBIs on a 2 for 3 day hitting. 

“We’ve slowly found our swagger at the plate. Our approach all year has been to stay as aggressive as possible and constantly put pressure on the other team,” added hitting and assistant coach Luke Wallis. “In high school baseball, if you can compete every single at-bat and put the ball in play, good things happen. Today we stuck to our approach and played with confidence in each other.” 

In the bottom of the fourth, the Tigers were in cruise control. The Walls Penguins were on their third pitcher of the afternoon, looking to stop the bleeding. Junior catcher Ethan Fox-Fernandez, who had five RBIs was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, which led to a run and increased the lead to 13. 

ON THE TAG: Junior Shortstop Jackson Loomis tags a runner out at second base, after a throw from junior catcher Ethan Fox-Fernandez on a attempted steal. (DCIAA Sports)

Junior right-hander Owen Stone entered the game in relief of Hayes, and locked down the game, collecting a pair of strikeouts and allowing no hits in one inning. After being dominated all afternoon, the Penguins were mercy-ruled in the top of the 5th inning, not even going the full distance of seven frames. 

Notably, just two weeks prior, the Penguins (15-12) and Tigers (20-7) played on JR’s Senior Night, and the score was a narrow Tigers win, 5-2. 

“The boys came out hot; we worked hard this week on hitting the ball hard and driving the ball in the gap [and] that’s exactly what we did today,” said head coach Robinson Mateo. In terms of the 31st straight title, “It means a lot for the program, but for me I really focus on making sure our players are developing each and every day.” 

In addition to extending their city championship streak, the Tigers also extended their streak of not losing an in-conference game to 25 years. 

Looking forward is a run in states, where the team hopes to bring home its first state title since 2018. 

“The jobs not finished. Simple as that. We have a lot to keep working on as we head into a competitive DCSAA tournament,” said junior shortstop Jackson Loomis, who was named DCIAA Player of the Year on Wednesday, with two RBIs. “We have prepared and will continue to prepare for these next few games we’ll indubitably conquer. We’re coming for that ring this year.” •

POSTGAME AWARDS: Five Tigers receive their on field awards postgame. Gabriel Betancourt, Freeman Hunt, Etan Rosario, Jackson Loomis and Evan Rosario. Not Pictured: senior Jack Jannsen. (DCIAA Sports )

Here’s what else to know about the Tigers win: 

Juniors, second baseman Evan Rosario and third baseman Etan Rosario received all-conference honors and were named to the DCIAA All-League First Team. The pair have slashed .381.avg, 24 hits, 27 RBIs, 1.048 OPS and .366.avg, 1 HR, 15 hits, 17 RBIs, 1.224 OPS respectively. 

Junior shortstop Jackson Loomis in addition to receiving conference player of the year, made the DCIAA  All-League First Team. Loomis racked .527.avg, 5 HRs, 39 hits, 44 RBIs, 1.564 OPS. 

Left fielder Freeman Hunt, right fielder Gabriel Betancourt, and senior Jack Jannsen also received all-conference honors, being named to the DCIAA First Team as well.

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About the Contributor
Justin Glenn
Justin Glenn, Sports Editor
Justin is a sports fanatic.. you’ll most likely see him with a baseball cap of some sort throughout the hallways. If he isn’t writing about high school sports, he’s likely watching a D.C. sports team, NASCAR or some other professional league in his free time. Outside of sports, he enjoys the outdoors and watching Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch, besides that, he’s an average out-going person.
  • 2023-24: Assistant Sports Editor
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