Walter Johnson High students pumped about playoffs

Megan Cloherty, wtop.com

BETHESDA, Md. – Most high schoolers don’t put a lot of thought into their school’s name. But at Walter Johnson High School, the baseball team is keenly aware its namesake was the last Washington superstar to play in the World Series in D.C.

Walter Johnson pitched 802 games for the then-unofficially named Washington Senators and took them to the World Series in 1924. That’s the last time the world championship was held in the nation’s capital.

Knowing it might happen again with the Washington Nationals excites W.J. outfielder Phillip Resnick.

“It’s good because in the past, when you’d say you were a Nats fan, people would make fun of you … But I’ve noticed a lot more people wearing Nats gear around and being interested in baseball. Hopefully that will get more fans next spring for us,” Resnick says.

The baseball team has a decent record thanks in part to Resnick, a senior from Kensington, Md., who helped lead his team to a 13-6 record last season.

He’s not only a baseball player, he’s a fan. Resnick is lucky enough to have tickets to watch the Nats play the Cardinals in Game 3 of the playoff series on Wednesday. And he’s noticed as the season went on, his $5 upper deck tickets didn’t get him where they used to.

“In the beginning of the year, it was so easy to move down to the front row whereas by the end of the year, we were stuck up in section 407,” he says.

As a relatively new team, head varsity baseball coach Chris Murray says most of his players are Orioles fans. But since the Orioles are in the playoffs as well, the excitement among his team, even in the off-season, is palpable.

“A lot of our guys are Orioles fans. But I’d say it’s 75-25. I think everyone is enjoying it,” Murray says.

While Murray admits there is no special emblem or tradition for the school’s namesake on the team uniforms, Resnick says the high school itself has taken the baseball theme and run with it.

“Baseball is a big thing here. All of our school publications — “The Homeplate” is the website. “The Pitch” is the newspaper. “The Windup” is the yearbook. It’s all baseball-related,” Resnick says.

There are no plans for a team playoff watch-party yet, but Resnick says he’s not ruling it out as the series goes on and games are played in the evening.

Regardless of how the Nationals place, this team is glad to be affiliated with a special player in Washington baseball history

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