POTOMAC – Walt Whitman High School’s baseball team earned its fifth straight victory, defeating Churchill 6-2 to continue its strong start to the 2023 season.
The win carries extra significance as the Vikings won the second annual Jack Langerman Cup.
Here’s what you need to know.
Vikings’ power hits to victory
Whitman pitcher Liam Bowen dominated Churchill, going 3 for 3 at the plate with one RBI and a run while striking out seven batters in four innings.
“We just came out here and played our game,” said Bowen. “Just never took our foot off the pedal and came out on top.”
Sammy Berman was also solid for the Vikings, going 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run.
The score was 1-1 in the top of the fifth inning when John Wayman hit a 2-run home run to put the Vikings up 3-1.
“I started off slow,” said Wayman, “but I was just thinking to myself, ‘I can’t miss this next one,’ because I was just letting a couple of pitches go by that I should’ve been swinging at, so I was ready to hit it.”
The Bulldogs cut the deficit to 3-2 in the bottom half of the fifth, as Zane Gross singled on a hard ground ball to left field and sent home a runner.
However, Whitman added two more runs in the top of the sixth when Gibson Hirt scored on a wild pitch, and Berman hit a sacrifice fly to right.
The last Vikings run came in the top of the sixth when Bowen hit an RBI single, which sealed it.
“I think we’re playing exactly how we want to play,” said Bowen. “The one loss, we all agree [that] shouldn’t have happened. Quite frankly, we think we can beat anyone that comes out on the field with us.”
What is the Langerman Cup?
The trophy was created in 2022 in honor of Jack Langerman, a Churchill alum who played baseball for the Bulldogs and at Middlebury College. He died in an accident in 2021 at the age of 24.
His parents, Vicki and Scott, started the Jack Langerman Community Foundation in his memory, with the mission to help “the institutions, organizations, people and places that shaped Jack continue to shape others just as profoundly.”
While he was a Bulldog, Langerman was also a fan of Whitman because of head coach Joe Cassidy, who had coached Jack for Bethesda Chevy Chase (BCC) youth baseball for three summers.
“I’m from New England, and Jack loved all the New England teams, so it was easy,” said Cassidy. “He was a great kid. This is a great way to honor him. He would be very happy.”
Churchill head coach Pat Skellchock also coached Langerman for summer baseball, as he referred to Jack as “the nicest kid I ever met in my whole life.”
“Very high-character kid,” Skellchock said. “Everybody loved him. To play this game for him, win or lose, it’s a big thing, and it’s bigger than baseball.”
Whitman’s win ties the Langerman Cup series at 1-1; Churchill won last year’s first matchup.