Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
WASHINGTON — The game of baseball is a game where one fails more than succeeds. It takes a strong mental focus to sharpen one’s talents in the game.
Washington seniors Miles Jones, Wilx Witthoft have all done that in various ways and in various roles for the Demons in their time playing for the program, which ended Friday with a 4-1 loss to Clear Creek-Amana.
In a team dynamic, there are many roles available and a good team needs talented people in each of those roles.
Jones bought into the role of being a vocal team leader. Jones, an outfielder, was a journeyman in the program. He worked his way through all five years playing at various levels and earned his varsity uniform this year.
“He did a tremendous job for us,” head coach Nathan Miller said. “No player in the dugout did a better job supporting his teammates. He was always encouraging and a constant positive voice in the dugout.”
Mayer, who played right field and pitched, was an all-state selection after last season.
“Reece didn’t have the season he wanted,” Miller said, “But when you are an all-stater, people are going to pitch around you, and you are not going to see fastballs.”
“The biggest thing is picking yourself up,” Mayer said. “You can’t let the down parts get to you.”
Mayer has a favorite thing about being a Demon. It’s a mix of nervousness and exhilaration.
“Knowing we have a chance to win each day that we play, that’s a special feeling to have coming out to the yard,” he said. “I love that feeling of excitement.
There is a special feeling one has when there is a game to play. “It’s a chance you have to perform in front of your family, friends, teammates, community,” Mayer said.
Witthoft started varsity as a freshman, was hurt as a sophomore, then everyone’s season was affected by the coronavirus last season. Witthoft, who is going to try to further his career at Kirkwood, put in a lot of time in the offseason to prepare for his senior year.
“I tried to hit as much as I could over the winter,” Witthoft said. “I have spent a lot of time on the field and in the cages working on the game.”
Witthoft’s favorite thing about being a Demon is “just the atmosphere and that’s because the people are great. All my teammates, I just love them all and appreciate them and it’s hard to believe it’s done.”
The biggest area where Witthoft grew was the mental side of the game.
"If you focus on playing forward, you’re going to have a lot more success than if a few bad things get bottled up,“ Miller said. ”Bad things are going to happen, but you can’t let them bother you.“”
The lowest point for Mayer is when he was struggling at the plate or making errors in the field. "You just keep your head up, work through it, and stay mentally strong. That’s how I’ve done it over the years.“
Witthoft did not allow adversity to impact his play at third base or his at bats.
“As a younger player, if something did not go well, he would let that carry over but this year, he was able to work through it,” Miller said. “It was a great example for all of our young guys to let go of negative components of the game and allow yourself and your team to succeed.”
“It has been great to play with these guys,” Witthoft said. "It’s awesome to be around such great people all the time.“
“I had a great season with these guys,” Mayer said. “I really enjoy playing with a great group of guys.”