Baseball Team Heads to DC for Spring Training

Baseball Team Heads to DC for Spring Training

James Kim, Staff Writer

Members of Oratory’s varsity baseball team spent this past spring break in Washington D.C. and other areas of Maryland for spring training. Following an excellent 2018 year, which started with a week-long Florida trip, the coaching staff and players were eager to have another productive experience before the start of the regular season. Thanks to Head Coach Maybe, who had connections to set up the games and practices, the team was able to go on the trip not just to play baseball, but to build camaraderie amongst the members and enjoy the week-long break.


Following a few hours-long bus ride to Maryland, the team spent the afternoon in Inner Harbor in Baltimore. The boys walked around the area and even had the opportunity to go in Camden Yards (home of the Baltimore Orioles) and pose for a few pictures in the stadium. Following dinner at Hard Rock Cafe, everyone rested in the hotel back in White Marsh, Maryland. The next morning marked the start of the baseball-playing part of the trip. The team headed to Nationals Youth Baseball Academy in Washington DC, practicing for a couple of hours in the top-quality turf facility. The boys warmed up, took infield-outfield, and took many swings in batting practice. The laidback practice allowed the boys to warm up and prepare for the game later in the day. The team also received a tour of the youth academy, which the tourist explained was the philanthropic arm of the Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball. There were several high-end classrooms and indoor training areas where young boys and girls learn about core academic subjects and the game of baseball. We learned that the underserved youth in the impoverished area go to the academy following their days at school to have fun, gain knowledge, and stray away from danger in their living area. In an area with such high rates of school dropouts and crime, the academy proved to be a safe spot for the youth in the D.C. area who wish to become successful student-athletes. The academy is also the home of elite youth travel teams and Georgetown University’s girls softball team. Everyone had the privilege to learn about the great deeds prevalent in the baseball world, thanks to the altruistic nature of the MLB and Washington Nationals organization.


Following the tour and lunch at Panera, the bus headed to Loyola Blakefield, a well-respected boys prep school in Towson, Maryland, for the first game of the trip. The boys fought hard, coming up with a few clutch hits, walks, and even bunts. However, the poor defense and pitching led the team to fall short to the solid Loyola squad. Regardless, Will Demilt and Jack Lawlor had solid days at the plate. Following the game, the team focused on what can be learned from the experience, asserting that a positive, confident approach to the game would have resulted in a better performance by the players. Despite the rough start, the group was positive that it would be a helpful learning experience, and they finished the day off with dinner at a hibachi restaurant and rested well through the night.


The following morning, the team headed to the renowned National Mall in D.C. to look at the various monuments and memorials. The players and coaches had the opportunity to see the Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and several other landmarks. They ended the afternoon at Potbelly Sandwich Shop in George Washington University, and some even caught up with OP Class of 2016 alumnus/former OP baseball player Chris Hutchison. Everyone then headed back to the hotel and got ready for the 4:00 game against The John Caroll School in Bel Air, Maryland.


John Caroll proved to be yet another tough opponent. Oratory did, however, prove to bounce back from the previous loss. Jack Reilly and Jack Greco pitched very well on the mound and Joe Del Sol, Ben Landis, and Nick Demarinis had solid days at the plate. The team lost by a slim score, but as a whole, the group of players made fewer errors, put the ball in play more often, and executed plays much better than the previous game.  The second and final game on the trip became another learning experience for the players, who understood the necessary mindset and attitude on the field in order to compete well against strong teams. Later that night, the team ended the trip with a fun evening at Dave and Buster’s and departed for Jersey the very next morning.


All in all, the D.C. trip (the first for the school’s baseball team) was a very fun, enlightening experience. The team competed against some top-level teams in the nation’s capital and got a taste of what some of the more competitive games may be like later in the season. In addition to getting more reps and scraping away the last of the offseason rust, the guys bonded and learned several things that they would bring back to the OP field. With a positive outlook this year, Oratory’s baseball team can expect to fight hard for the top of the conference and have some big break-out seasons, and most importantly, have fun playing the game. The season will start off against conference-rival David Brearley high school on April 2…Go Rams!