Woodson senior Tyler Wislocki spent roughly 10 minutes jogging foul pole to foul pole with an ice pack wrapped to his right shoulder after a Friday, April 29 game at South County.
It’s common for a pitcher to run after a game in which he pitches, but this time was different. Wislocki was back. He had pitched in relief during the season, but shoulder problems had kept him from his usual role as a starter. The right-hander made his first start of the season against the undefeated Stallions on Friday and, while it didn’t show on the scoreboard, Woodson took a step in the right direction in their quest to return to the state playoffs.
South County defeated Woodson 6-0 behind a dominant pitching performance from University of South Carolina-bound Evan Beal, who hurled a three-hit shutout while striking out 10. On the other side, Wislocki suffered the loss, allowing four hits and four earned runs in 3 1/3 innings. He threw 46 of 72 pitches for strikes and delivered a first-pitch strike to 11 of 15 batters he faced as he worked toward increasing his pitch count.
"I think he competed," Woodson head coach Chris Warren said. "He gave us a chance and that’s all you can ask. … He’s a big part of our rotation. Fortunately, we have four good pitchers and we’ve been able to get by so far."
Wislocki and seniors Bryson Hough, John McGillicuddy and Joe McGillicuddy comprise the Cavaliers pitching staff. Wislocki, who is committed to Longwood University and said his fastball tops out at 88 mph, started Woodson’s state playoff game last year. On Friday, he did not allow a hit or walk a batter during the first two innings, but surrendered two runs in each of the third and fourth innings.
"I felt good for the first couple innings," Wislocki said. "The third inning, I kind of lost my control a little bit, but the first couple innings I threw good."
What was it like making his first start of the season against undefeated South County?
"It was fun," he said. "I enjoy the competition, playing the No. 1 team in the state. Not a lot of kids on our team are going to stray away from competition, so I didn’t want to let them down."
Beal limited the Woodson lineup to three hits and allowed only two Cavaliers to reach third base.
"You play a team like these guys with Beal on the mound, you pretty much have to play flawless," Warren said. "We certainly competed; we just didn’t have it tonight."
The loss to South County dropped Woodson’s record to 12-3. The Cavaliers' losses have come against the Stallions (twice) and Lake Braddock. Woodson will host West Potomac (May 6) and Lake Braddock (May 10) and travel to face Lee (May 12) to close the regular season. A return trip to the state playoffs would likely involve another showdown with South County.
"We’re just going to work even harder to beat them," Wislocki said. "We know we can beat them. South County’s a great team, but I think we have the potential to beat them; we’ve just got to play our best game. … I think Woodson teams, especially when you’re in a tough district with head honchos like Lake Braddock, South County, West Springfield, I think we’ve taken that underdog role and played well with it. It doesn’t’ matter if we’re at the top or at the bottom, we’re still going to play equally as hard."