For three innings, the T.C. Williams baseball team played like a youthful group looking to pull off an upset.
The Titans, who entered the 6A North region tournament with a 7-14-1 record, scored a run in the top of the first inning against Conference 6 champion Madison and maintained a 1-0 lead thanks to the right arm of junior pitcher Andrew Tovsky.
In the fourth inning, however, it was clear the Titans have yet to reach the level of their powerhouse opponent.
Madison scored four runs in the fourth, one in the fifth and four in the sixth and defeated T.C. Williams 9-1 on May 29 during the opening round of regionals at Madison High School. In arguably the greatest mismatch in the first round of the tournament, the Titans, led by first-year head coach Chris Metz, battled before falling to a Madison team that entered the tournament having won 11 of its last 13 games.
The T.C. Williams baseball program hasn’t won a regional tournament game since 2009.
“We battled all year long,” Metz said. “We played everybody tight all year long. We’re trying to change a culture and this is part of it — playing teams like this and getting as far as we can get. No one expected T.C. Williams to be where we’re at today at the beginning of the year. Some other high school is supposed to be playing today, not us.”
Tovsky, a first-team All-Conference 7 selection, shut out Madison for three innings before surrendering four runs in the fourth.
“He’s our horse. He’s our stud,” Metz said about Tovsky. “We’re going to jump on his back and see how far he can take us, just like he did this year.”
Tovsky allowed nine runs — seven earned — on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. He hit one batter and struck out five.
“He was exactly what the scouting report [said he] was — he’s a bulldog,” Madison head coach Mark Gjormand said. “He’s a maximum effort guy …”
T.C. Williams senior left fielder Nick Roda went 1-for-3 and scored the Titans’ only run. Senior right fielder Jacob Katz finished 1-for-3 and Tovsky was 1-for-2.
“I thought TC did a great job,” Gjormand said. “I can see why they made the tournament. Coach Metz does a great job.”
T.C. Williams didn’t win a lot of games, but the Titans won some big ones. T.C. Williams knocked off eventual Conference 7 champion Lake Braddock 2-1 on April 21 and beat rival West Potomac 9-7 on May 1.
The Titans finished last in the conference standings and entered the Conference 7 tournament as the No. 7 seed. T.C. Williams secured a berth in the region tournament by upsetting No. 2 Annandale 5-4 in the opening round.
“They’re huge,” Tovsky said about wins over Lake Braddock and Annandale. “They definitely build confidence for some of the guys who haven’t been here.”
T.C. Williams will return most of its roster in 2016. The Titans will lose seniors Pat Devine, Madison Muldrow, Brandon Beck, Roda and Katz to graduation.
“Our future is bright,” Metz said, “it just depends on how hard they want to work and how hard they want it.”