Everybody hits: Washington baseball finds its stride

Junior first baseman Ishmael Bracy has brought some thunder to Washington’s lineup. MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTO

Ishmael Bracy said that when his team is hitting, it’s contagious. If so, the rest of the Public League could get very sick.

Bracy, George Washington’s junior first baseman, was speaking following his team’s 11–1 win last Wednesday over Philadelphia Academy Charter, a game in which the Eagles pounded out 18 hits and sent 11 men to the plate in two of the contest’s five innings.

Despite losing feared hitter and 2013 Public League MVP Jake Wright to graduation, this Washington team can hit.

And hit. And hit some more.

“Once one of us gets a hit or gets on base, we all seem to find our swing,” said Bracy, who went 3-for-4 and scored three runs in the win over PACS. “It feels wonderful to be winning, because losing keeps a bad taste in my mouth. We want to keep this going.”

As the Times went to press, the Eagles stood at 7–1 in the Public League A Division, a game-and-a-half behind first place Franklin Towne Charter (9–0). Since their lone division loss to Prep Charter on April 9, the Eagles have scored 9, 12, 10, 11 and 12 runs in their games, all wins. Head coach Ken Geiser’s team is trying to stay hot and win as many games as possible before the May 9 regular-season finale at Towne.

“We have a lot of heart and we play hard,” Bracy said. “It boosts our confidence to put up runs fast and quick. When you put your bat on the ball, anything can happen. We’re hungry, and we want to win a Public League championship. If not, it’s a failure of a season. What’s the point of playing if you’re not going for the big one?”

Bracy wasn’t the only one who had his hands all over the demolition of PACS. Eddie Tingle, the lone sophomore on G.W. as well as Bracy’s teammate for the Liberty Bell Youth Organization, pitched five innings of one-run ball in the place of top pitcher Roger Hanson, who was resting an ankle injury. Tingle also got Washington’s seven-run third started by snapping out of a slump with an infield single to third base.

“We’re a hitting ball club, so I always have faith in my team,” Tingle said. “I was able to settle in and find my groove on the mound, which the offense made really easy for me. I didn’t get to play a whole lot last year as a freshman, so I wanted to do my damage this year. Jake Wright isn’t here anymore, so I just want to prove myself to this ball club that I can play.”

While Tingle played sparingly as a freshman, Bracy didn’t play at all last year as a sophomore after transferring to Washington from South Philly. Geiser had Bracy in his gym class, and his assistant, Craig Sharp, had seen Bracy play first base at Liberty Bell. Playing together on two teams has made this season even more enjoyable for Bracy and Tingle, who met playing baseball for Liberty Bell as youngsters.

“That’s my best friend right here,” Bracy said. “I’ve been watching him play since he was 7 or 8 years old, so it’s no surprise to me to see him doing well. I’ve always seen his potential. When he’s given a spot, he takes the spotlight. He’s a good friend, a good person and a good human being. There aren’t too many people out there like that.”

“We met on the diamond and we’re here together on the diamond, and I think that says a lot,” Tingle said. “There’s a strong bond between us, and I think you see it on and off the field. We work together, and we’re here for the team.”

With the continued production of players like Tingle and Bracy — as well as program veterans like Hanson, third baseman Scott Siley, outfielder/four-year starter John Santos, designated hitter Pat Farrell and catcher Gilad Metro, among others — Washington believes it can be a serious contender in the rugged A Division.

“Mentally, these guys are good,” Geiser said. “It doesn’t surprise me that we’ve hit the ball the way we have, because we put a lot of work into it. We still have things we need to work on, though. We never settle.”

“I believe the way we’re hitting and throwing the ball, we should be a force to be reckoned with,” Bracy added. “I’m feeling a deep playoff run.” ••

Sophomore Eddie Tingle has given Washington baseball a boost on the mound and in the middle of the order. MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTO