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Sports

George Washington Baseball’s City Title Game Birth Meant Way More Than The Score Ever Could

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George Washington coach Ken Geiser gets a mohawk (credit: John Creighton, courtesy of Tedsilary.com)

George Washington coach Ken Geiser gets a mohawk (credit: John Creighton, courtesy of Tedsilary.com)

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By Andrew Porter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It was ugly. It was really ugly.

George Washington got beat badly by La Salle in the AAAA Philadelphia high school baseball city championship game on Thursday afternoon, but for the Washington baseball community, the score wasn’t at all that important.

On Tuesday, Washington beat Franklin Towne Charter to win their first Public League title since 1995. Despite being one win away from the title game nine times in the last 14 years, it was Washington’s first Public League championship appearance since 1999.

The Eagles were led all season long by senior pitcher/infielder, Roger Hanson, and third baseman Scott Siley. Hanson, who was the Public League division A MVP, threw a six-hitter and Siley knocked in the eventual game-winning run in the Public League championship game.

“We have a different group of guys, it’s almost like the John Kruk [1993] Phillies,” Washington head coach, Ken Geiser, told me. “We have some good characters, especially our leaders Scott Siley and Roger Hanson.”

Speaking of their character, Geiser, who is a former baseball player and graduate of Washington (1979) in his third year as Washington’s baseball coach, was sporting a mo-hawk in the city title game against La Salle on Tuesday. Geiser made a bet with Siley in November, that if Washington won the Public League title, the team can give him a mo-hawk. True to his word, during third period in the gym on Wednesday morning with the Public League trophy in hand, the players shaved their coach’s head.

“I was hoping Siley wouldn’t remember the bet,” Geiser joked.

The city championship game didn’t go as Washington planned. Sophomore southpaw, Eddie Tingle, got the start for Washington. Tingle, who had Washington’s lone RBI, didn’t get much help from his defense while on the mound. La Salle senior, Brad Schneider, lined a bases clearing double to right field in the second inning, igniting an 11-run inning. Washington never recovered against La Salle’s senior LHP, John Scheffey, who allowed only one hit in three innings of work, as La Salle rolled to a 16-1 victory.

“They’re good. They’re very good,” Coach Geiser said of La Salle. “They have seven All-Catholics and four division 1 guys, but we didn’t play well at all. Tingle didn’t get much help and we laid an egg.”

The feeling among Washington after the game was frustration, knowing they were representing the Public League and all of the Washington baseball players that came before them.

“They [the players] looked at the trophy and they realized Washington didn’t win it in awhile,” Geiser explained. “After the loss to La Salle they weren’t really upset, but we have played better baseball all year. It was more a frustrated feeling, than upset. We were playing the Catholic League and that’s the product we put out there.”

Many former GW players, who were all lumped into the category of “falling short” over the last 18 seasons, expressed their gratification in the 2014 Eagles reaching the city title game through Facebook, Twitter, text message, and/or email.

Although the current Washington baseball team might not even realize it, they’re 15-run loss in the AAAA city championship game made us all proud.

“I was proud and I felt a sense of pride within the Washington community when they won the Public League title,” said Will McFillin, class of 2009, who was in the stands for the city title game. “As a former Washington baseball player, who fell short twice in the semi-finals, it meant a lot to see my Alma Mater get over the hump. After 18 long years, just reaching the city championship game means a lot.”

Andrew Goodman, a former all-city GW outfielder, echoed the sentiment.

“Washington has always competed with the championship echelon teams like Frankford and Central, at least splitting season series. Then playoff time, Washington never could win the big game,” Goodman, class of 2008, explained. “It speaks volumes to the talent and diligence of the current team and Coach Geiser to finally get the job done.”

Over the 15-year drought of Washington being unable to even reach the Public League championship game, no team came closer than in 2008 when Washington erased a 10-run 5th inning semi-finals deficit, to eventually lose 12-11 in 10 innings.

“After the 2008 loss and being so close, you can taste it,” said 2008 Washington baseball co-captain, Stan Borodyansky. “It’s awesome to see them make it to the next level and get a chance to compete for the city championship.”

Corey Seidman, class of 2007, also fell victim to another team that couldn’t win the big game.

“As a member of two Washington teams who fell in the quarterfinals, I’m extremely proud of the GW team for finally making it over the hump,” Seidman said. “They’ve had very good teams through the years, but everything finally fell in place this year.”

So while the Washington baseball team might have went to sleep bummed about their loss in the AAAA city title game on Thursday night, they should be proud. They’ve brought together an entire community of guys that donned the same jersey they don now and gave us a sense a joy that hasn’t been felt among GW baseball, well, since the current players have been alive. Whether they realized it or not, their loss to La Salle represented one of Washington baseball’s most illustrious moments.

Washington will continue their season on Monday in the PIAA state playoffs.

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