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World Series Edition

With the San Francisco Giants and Detroit Tigers poised to begin baseball’s World Series tonight, it’s only appropriate that several baseball-related notes, in the form of baseball-related alumni, are the subjects of today’s blog.

• The Oct. 22 edition of Sports Illustrated has an extensive feature story about Maryland’s Williamsport High School; its unexpected state championship in the aftermath of the sudden death in a car accident of its star player; and its 25-year-old coach, David Warrenfeltz. It’s a fascinating story and worth checking out.

Warrenfeltz had to deal not only with the death of his best player but also the death three years ago of his former high school teammate, Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, also in a car accident. (USA Today also ran a piece about the team and Warrenfeltz last May.)

David Warrenfeltz’s father is mentioned on several occasions in the story. His name is also David, and he was a COSIDA Academic All-American in 1984, when he played for Washington and Lee. A 1984 graduate of W&L, the elder David is a math teacher at North Hagerstown High School, where he previously coached the baseball team.

At one point in the story, the young coach credits his love of baseball to his father and his late friend Adenhart. The article also refers to the way the coach’s father “valued ethics over flash, hard work over talent.” Williamsport won the game with a suicide squeeze bunt in extra innings, and the elder David got some credit for that, too:

As father always said, “You can’t expect them to do something that they’ve never practiced.” His dad said something else too: “There’s no way to defend against a well-executed squeeze play.”

• On Oct. 13, the Detroit Free Press published its daily playoff baseball quiz and featured star pitcher Justin Verlander. This was the third question on the quiz:

3. In college Verlander pitched at…

A. Wake Forest
B. Virginia Tech
C. Washington and Lee
D. Clemson
E. Old Dominion

Although W&L baseball coach Jeff Stickley wishes C were the right answer, it’s actually E. He pitched at Old Dominion.

So why was W&L thrown in that mix?

Although we have no way of knowing for sure, it is the case that baseball writers in Detroit are not unfamiliar with the Generals, since one of their own, Detroit News sports writer and columnist Tom Gage, is a 1970 W&L graduate. He wrote for the New Orleans Times-Picayune before joining the News.