By Mark F. Gray, Special to the AFRO
When Charles Herbert Flowers High School claimed their second Prince George’s County baseball championship it was only the beginning of their journey. As the team visited Eleanor Roosevelt, Flowers was on a quest to erase the disappointment of last year’s loss to Henry A. Wise in the first round of the Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association (MPSSAA) Playoffs.
However, as the Jaguars went to Greenbelt to face the last P.G. County team to win a state championship, they faced a team whose program already has a championship pedigree. Roosevelt won the Maryland 4A title in 2007, marking the last time a team from the County won a state title. It is a draught that has now moved into its second decade for a county that continues to produce talent who make their mark around the country at the collegiate level.
This photo featured on the Charles Herbert Flowers Baseball Twitter account, shows the squad after winning their second Prince George’s County championship for the second year in a row. (Courtesy Photo)
Flowers was set to host the sectional championship game until Mother Nature intervened. After their 15-0 five inning shut out of Suitland to win the Prince George’s championship, thunderstorms washed out their field leaving it unplayable. The Jaguars were forced to make a 20-minute bus ride to get to the opposition’s field for the game.
Despite their challenges Flowers’ quest to bring the state championship back to the County remained intact after a 1-0 pitcher’s duel that moved them deeper into the playoffs. Senior Thomas Espinosa – who is being recruited by Lincoln (PA) University – pitched five innings of one hit baseball before yielding to Tremaine Cobb, Jr who retired the final three batters to earn the save.
“It was a hard-fought battle no doubt,” coach George Brown told the AFRO.
The resilience shown by the Jaguars is a testament to the architect of their program.
These past three years mark the most successful run in the history of the Flowers program. Brown not only has brought a winning formula to the field he has created a year- round culture that keeps baseball at the top of his players consciousness. Those who have watched baseball in Prince George’s County praise his work ethic and the organization that Brown has established.
“I’m a throwback coach,” said Brown. “I want players that aren’t just happy to be on the team. You’ve got to love the game.”
Flowers has won consecutive P.G. County championships thanks to a model that he’s implemented which follows the blueprint from successful private school programs. His physical conditioning plan includes an off-season weight program and players competing on elite travel teams that face the best talent around the country during the summer. It also arms players with the knowledge of how to be recruited by colleges. Brown hopes it will serve as a model for other programs to keep their players at their zoned high schools and forsaking the private schools who continue to raid the county for its elite players.
“If every kid stayed at their zoned school instead of going to private schools this would be the top county in the state,” said Brown.
Brown has also put his Howard University economics degree to work by establishing a non-profit booster association that helps offset the cost of keeping the program solvent. The Jaguar Baseball Booster Club is a 501 c3 that helps provide equipment and will address years of neglect to their field as well.