By Missy Schrott | [email protected]
The T.C. Williams High School varsity baseball team kicked off its season last month with a new coach and a winning streak.
After starting hot out of the gate with five straight wins, the team now holds a record of 5-3.
“I feel pretty good about our chances to actually win the district, which would be the first district title since 1974,” Coach Dave Latham said. “We’re not looking that far ahead, we just feel like we’re in position right now where we can definitely achieve those kinds of goals.”
The team began its 2018 campaign with a resounding 20-1 win over Thomas A. Edison High School on March 12. Latham also commended his players’ defeat of one of their local rivals, Bishop Ireton, and their former coach’s new team, Herndon High School.
Despite following the winning streak with three consecutive losses, Latham said the team was playing well.
“We’re averaging over nine runs a game, and then we have two really good starting pitchers at the top and a couple really good relievers that are able to keep us in games,” Latham said. “We’re not making a lot of mistakes.”
Because of the unseasonably cold weather, the team has had more games than onfield practices this year.
“It’s been hard to kind of get a rhythm going, as far as practices go,” Latham said. “That’s why we’re hoping to be as productive as possible when we do get out on the field.”
While Latham has been coaching high school baseball for the past seven years, this is his first year with the Titans and his first time as a head coach. He took on the new position this fall, also joining the T.C. Williams faculty as a psychology and history teacher.
Senior centerfielder Ben Wilson said the transition to Latham’s leadership has been smooth.
“Everything just pieced together perfectly this year,” Wilson said. “[Latham has] accepted us, and we’ve accepted him, and we just kind of ran with it. He’s a good coach. He does everything to try and help this team.”
Latham said one of his approaches to the new team was to bring in positivity.
“The stereotype is baseball’s a game of failure,” Latham said. “You’re going to fail most of the time. Even the best players fail most of the time, but you gotta put those behind you and keep moving forward.”
Sam Wingfield, a senior and four-year varsity player, said Latham’s encouragement has helped drive the team.
“He tells us a lot that he trusts us and that he believes in us, and I think that’s a big part of us playing confidently on the field,” Wingfield said. “Our record hasn’t been promising in the years I’ve played on varsity, but I think there’s a real change in our culture this year and a new approach to playing the game.”
Latham said his primary goal for the team this year was to win at least 10 games, a benchmark the varsity baseball team at T.C. has not met in several years.
“I think if we keep our eye on what’s really important this season, which is playing confidently each game, and playing our best, then I think we’ll have a successful year,” Wingfield said.
The Titans take on another city rival, St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School, in a home game on Friday.
Follow the Titans, along with Bishop Ireton, Episcopal High School and St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School this season through the Alexandria Times’ Sports Roundup, a weekly rundown of game scores and records for one boys’ and one girls’ sport.