- Charlotte Tama
The Baseball Team Has Something to Prove
Pitcher Stephen Showalter (‘24) / Credits: Rafi Fox
It’s that time of year again — the crack of the bat, the smell of freshly cut grass, and the excitement of a new baseball season. This year, the SWW baseball team is ready to hit it out of the park, with strong opening games and a hunger for victory.
After scrimmages with Landon and DCI, the team faced Archbishop Carroll in their first official game of the season. Though down early, the team rallied back, and with a three-run triple from Sean Aldridge (‘25), the boys took the game 4-3.
Next, the team faced Sidwell Friends, looking to seal the deal on last season’s 3-0 triumph. Player Stephen Showalter (‘24) said Sidwell was “definitely the game we wanted most, everyone [got] really amped up for that.” The team dominated their way to a 6-2 win, defeating Sidwell for the second year in a row.
“The [Sidwell game] showed that we are able to play against good competition,” said head coach Kip Smith. Similar to many SWW sports, the baseball team finds little competition in DCIAA teams, and often looks to nonleague play for challenging opposition. “We definitely have a chance against most private school teams, and it’s kinda where we’re able to make it known,” Showalter said.
The team is set to face private school foes Riverdale Baptist and Maret in non-league play later this season, and they look towards those games with confidence. “We can definitely win every game on our schedule from here on out,” said player Eliav Brooks-Rubin (‘23).
As for league play, the team eyes one match with particular hunger: Jackson-Reed. “Jackson-Reed has a longstanding history of winning the DCIAA championship; we have a longstanding history of being second,” Mr. Smith said. In fact, Jackson-Reed has clinched the DCIAA title for 29 years running. Last season, our team’s championship run was concluded with a tough 11-1 loss to Jackson-Reed.
This year, the team is ready to break this pattern. “The only goal we need to set every year is to beat Jackson-Reed and win the DCIAA championship,” Brooks-Rubin said.
First, however, the team is tasked with patching the holes left by last year's senior class — notably, pitcher John Kammerer and shortstop Peter Herrick. “John was our ace pitcher, and Peter was probably one of the better pitchers that we had, so [we’re] just trying to fill those voids,” Mr. Smith said.
Though making up for these voids will be an ongoing process, the team is confident that some of their older players — Noah Pershing (‘23) and Stephen Showalter (‘24) — are up for the task. “[Pershing] has really done a good job at being that ace, kinda like John last year…and Stephen is coming in at that shortstop role,” player Sean Aldridge (‘25) said.
With this solid foundation, the team feels optimistic about their Jackson-Reed matchups. “We can definitely hang with them — their best pitchers probably throw harder than [Pershing]…but their hitters aren’t that much better than ours,” Brooks-Rubin said.
The teams will meet in league play on April 26, and likely again in the DCIAA championship on May 11.
In the meantime, the team plans to work hard on fundraising. A major team tradition is their cookie fundraiser, in which they spend a weekend baking and packaging cookies, which they then sell. Have you ever noticed the assorted hats and sweatshirts our baseball players sport? Showalter explained that their excellent gear is credited to this fundraising push — not any sort of favoritism. “Everyone thinks Kip favors us, but we earn around $10,000 off of [fundraising] every year.”
This year, their fundraising will support one additional cause. Reviving a pre-pandemic tradition, the team will be traveling to South Carolina for a tournament, where they’ll face teams from across the East Coast. “[We’re] just gonna stay there throughout the spring break weekend, have fun, and play baseball,” Aldridge said.
With a strong start to the season and big ambitions, the team is lined up for a great season. As Aldridge said, “We have a good group of guys, all hungry, all motivated…to not be looked at as the second-best public school in D.C., and really prove ourselves as a top dog.”