With ‘un-freaking real’ moment, Gonzaga captures DCSAA baseball crown

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Through the first five innings of Wednesday’s D.C. State Athletic Association baseball championship game, Gonzaga and Jackson-Reed were starving for offense. Each pitcher had settled in after allowing one run apiece in the first inning.

Knowing the importance of his at-bat — with a man on second in a tie game in the top of the sixth — Gonzaga junior Bryson Moore surveyed the field for a perfect place to hit the upcoming pitch. He settled on deep center field.

Moore smoked the following pitch from Jackson-Reed ace Kai Leckszas over the wall in left-center for what wound up being the game-winning hit for the Eagles, who went on to win, 4-2.

“That was un-freaking real, straight-up storybook stuff,” said Moore, the team’s co-captain. “It was weird because he threw it right in my spot, and I thought I crushed it, but as I was watching it seemed like it wasn’t going to have enough at first. Then it just kept going and going, and once I realize it was for sure gone, I started flapping my arms and screamed.”

Moore, who was named MVP of the game, didn’t stop there. He served as the Eagles’ closer in the bottom of the seventh and slammed the door on any hopes of a comeback by the Tigers.

“I honestly wasn’t supposed to pitch today, because I’d pitched so much in the WCAC series,” said Moore, whose Eagles (23-12) upset St. John’s this month for their first Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship since 2000. “But I told Coach that I wanted this moment, and, man, that was incredible. Nothing better than throwing your glove and getting to be at the bottom of the dogpile.”

While Moore and his teammates reveled on the field at Nationals Youth Baseball Academy in Southeast Washington, senior Nicholas Morabito had to cut his celebration short to get ready for his next big step.

Morabito, a Virginia Tech commit projected to be picked in the top 50 of the upcoming MLB draft, has a workout with the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Thursday.

“Bro, this is crazy; we just won a championship, and now I have to jump on a flight in like 30 minutes,” the senior co-captain said over the phone during a postgame interview. “If you’d told me at the beginning of the year that this would be happening right now, I’d have called you nuts or something.”

For Jackson-Reed (24-10), a year full of adversity came to a painful close. In the team’s first season under Coach Henry Martinez, the Tigers’ batting cages were taken down by the city, and the team’s practice field regularly flooded. Still, they won another D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association title and reached a fifth straight DCSAA title game.

“To be on a 17-game winning streak after losing eight straight private-school games to start and wind up reaching a second title game is just a testament to the culture that we’ve developed here,” Martinez said.

Leckszas, a Georgetown commit, finished with 10 strikeouts and allowed three runs in six innings pitched for the Tigers. Gonzaga starting pitcher Ethan Van Sice allowed two earned runs while striking out 10 in six innings.

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