DuVal Baseball in Midst of Dominant Streak
Few teams in Maryland can say they've enjoyed as much success as DuVal's baseball team in recent weeks.
The Prince George's County School is on a nine game winning streak that dates back to Apr. 10 when the Tigers beat Fairmont Heights 19-1. The win against Fairmont Heights isn't the only lopsided result DuVal has enjoyed during this run- the Tigers have outscored opponents 141-7 over the past nine games. On the season, DuVal is 11-2.
The results speak for themselves, and have been a welcome sight for second year head coach Robert Langway.
"Our kids and coaching staff have analyzed individual and team stats- we are constantly fine-tuning our mistakes in order to improve," Langway said. "We've narrowed it down to winning each inning at a time. Communication and determination keeps us focused."
It's been an all around effort, but the team's pitching has been particularly superb. During the nine game win streak, DuVal has limited its opponents to one run or less eight times, including five shutouts. The group is also on a consecutive shut out streak- DuVal hasn't allowed a run in three games. As a whole, DuVal's pitching staff has an ERA of 3.98.
The staff's ace is Ernesto Medina-Conteras, who has been close to untouchable all season. The sophomore, who also plays shortstop and second base, currently carries a .420 ERA.
"Our defense and pitching has been top notch," Langway said. "Our pitching philosophy is to focus on first pitch strikes. Our motto is to get ahead and stay ahead."
To go with its stingy pitching and defense has been a prolific offense that has a batting average of .404.
The offense has been led by one of DuVal's captains, junior Jalen Brooks. Brooks, who plays shortstop, third base and pitches, has been locked in all spring, and currently holds a .621 batting average. Medina-Conteras joins him with an absurdly high batting average at .600.
Sophomore leadoff hitter Justyn Bunkley has also done a great job of setting the table for the Tigers' big hitters behind him. Bunkley, an outfielder who can also pitch and play second base, holds a .379 batting average. Fellow pitcher and outfielder Aaron Hemmans, a junior, is also excelling with a .333 batting average.
Brooks's fellow captain Malik Clarke, who also has a .976 fielding percentage from behind the plate, rounds out DuVal's top hitters with a .433 average. It's a talented bunch, but also a deep one.
"All the players have worked on their focus and it's been working," Langway said. "The other part is being aggressive. I've told each of my players to be aggressive both in the batter's box and on the base path."
Looking ahead, DuVal will see if it can continue its hot streak into postseason play.
Before the team reaches the postseason though, it'll have to face Parkdale in its regular season finale. It's a clash that could determine what teams will make up the Prince George's County championship, which the Tigers are hoping to reach for the first time in their program's history.
From there, Langway and his Tigers have big hopes for the rest of their season, which would primarily be reaching the state semifinal round for the first time since 1980. With the momentum the Tigers have presently, it looks like their hopes are well within their grasp of becoming a reality.
Regardless of how the Tigers' season finishes, the next few weeks promise to be an exciting time for the entire DuVal baseball community.
"As a team we are on the verge of making school history. We have been playing our best baseball the last few weeks of the regular season and we anticipate on accomplishing each goal and expectation set for this year's 2017 baseball season," Langway said. "We stick together and keep one another more motivated. From the parents, DuVal administration, coaches, players, students, fans, and community, we all stick together and it really takes all of us. The support is phenomenal."
|May 5th, 2017||By: Wick Eisenberg|