The Thomas Jefferson Raiders ended their six-game losing streak with a 12-2 win over Todd Beamer on May 3.
“These young people don’t quit. They work hard and practice. Sometimes the game just doesn’t give you the bounces you need to be successful,” said TJ Head Coach Joe Townsend.
Both sides were out of the playoff race, but the Todd Beamer Titans have been out for slightly longer than the Raiders have been.
“Their attitude and attention to detail never failed. They stayed after it today,” Townsend said.
Thomas Jefferson took down the Titans after Todd Beamer won their first game of the season over TJ back on April 21, winning 7-4.
“It means a lot for the seniors to leave it all on the field. It was good for us to play clean, ‘almost’ clean baseball to end the year,” said senior Reese Williams.
On the mound, it was a change in mentality for the pitchers. In their final game, they were going to give it their all.
“Pitching always leads the way in baseball, so my starting pitcher decided to make a change and not focus on wins and losses, but by just throwing strikes,” Townsend said.
After the game on May 3, Coach Townsend went over and talked to the Titans team before he even talked to his own side. He gave them a message of acknowledgement about Beamer coach Donny McConnaughey and what the Titans are going through.
“I know how hard the coach (of Todd Beamer) is working. I know how hard it is to get those kids to do what they’re doing. The kids are fighting out there, they aren’t giving up, they’re pushing and working hard,” Townsend said.
“I wanted to let them know that it doesn’t go unnoticed. Their hard work means something … No matter what the score is, it’s not vindictive of what the ingredients that these young men put in … I told them I’m honored to be able to coach against them and watch them grow,” Townsend said.
Year-end baseball games are always surreal because for many, it symbolizes the end of the road. That doesn’t go unnoticed.
“My gift is watching their success. To see all those seniors that for a lot of them won’t put on another uniform in a competitive situation again. To see how they got after it today, how much it meant to them to try to squeeze a little bit more out of that orange is huge. I’m impressed,” Townsend said.
The Raiders missed the playoffs this year, but they have a young core that is ready to make a run next year.
“We’ve got some young kids that got an opportunity to get on the field, learn and get better … We’ve got some really good pieces including kids on JV, and if they work this summer and get better, who knows what could happen next year? It could all click and be right in the mix looking at the district tournament next year,” Townsend said.