WASHINGTON - Even with the losses mounting, a smile stayed on the face of Single-A Fredericksburg manager Mario Lisson.
The minor league team was 1-16 going into Sunday’s game against the Salem Red Sox, and the suffered another loss.
“I want them to play a complete game,” Lisson said Friday, a few hours before Fredericksburg was able to shed its winless label.
“If you have a man on third with less than two outs, do whatever you need to do to get that run in. Do the routine. The winning is going to take care of itself” if the team does the little things.
After 15 losses to start the year, the Single-A Nationals won their first game 2-1 on Friday over the Salem Red Sox.
“Two months from now, they are not going to remember these first 15 games,” Lisson said before the game.
“We are going at it every day, we are preparing every day. We expect good things every day.”
That also happened to be the first pro game for first baseman Jackson Coutts, who was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Nationals last year after he played in college at Rhode Island of the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Coutts started at first base on Friday and was 2-for-4 and scored his first run in the win. He was 0-for-4 on Saturday as the Nationals lost to Salem and fell to 1-16.
He came from extended spring training in Florida, according to Lisson.
Both of Coutts’ parents played sports in college and both are veteran coaches or administrators at the college level.
“In the sports aspect of it, they really were able to help me out – as a coach would,” Coutts, 22, told Federal Baseball from Florida last year, where he was taking classes online from URI and working out with the baseball program at Florida Gulf Coast.
His mother, Lynn, was a Northeast All-American softball player at the University of Maine.
She took a job in athletics and recreation administration at the University of Denver in 2019 as deputy AD for student-athletes excellence after she was part of the coaching and administrative staff at Maine.
Another addition to the team recently was Jeremey De La Rosa, 19, one of the top outfield prospects in the system. He played in his first game on May 15 with the team and was 2-for-17 in games through Saturday.
“Obviously there are adjustments that he needs to do. My goal is to prepare him mentally,” Lisson said Friday. ”My goal is to him to learn the game, to know situations, know how to get out of a slump. The mental side of it so important.”
Another infielder for Fredericksburg is Jake Boone, the son of former major leaguer Bret, the grandson of Nationals’ front office member and former All-Star catcher Bob Boone and the great-grandson of Ray Boone, who also played in the majors.
The Boones are aiming to become the first four-generation Major League family in history if Jake Boone makes The Show.
Boone, signed out of Princeton, was hitting .167 through Saturday in his first pro season.
What impresses the skipper about Boone?
“His versatility; be can play second, short and third base,” Lisson told Federal Baseball on Friday of Boone.
“He can bring that knowledge to his situation” due to his family background.