As the 2015 Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League playoffs begin today, the Aces season is officially over. Finishing with a 19-21 record and just one game shy of the postseason, the Aces played a great season of baseball.
Before Alexandria even took the field for the first time this season, there were already hurdles to jump. Coach David DeSilva had to deal with a number of high-profile players who, either because of injury or college coaches’ orders, changed their mind about playing baseball this summer and dropped out of the team. DeSilva made a number of early season moves but still began the season with a smaller roster than expected.
Once the season started, it was all about rain. The first three games of the regular season were all postponed due to rain. Throughout the entirety of the season, it seemed like a week did not go by without at least one game affected by weather, but especially in the beginning of the season. Finally, the Aces played the season and home opener at Barcroft Park in Arlington in a 12-1 thrashing of the DC Grays.
The hot streak, however, would not last long. The Aces lost the next three games of the season, two of them to eventual division-winning Bethesda and Baltimore Redbirds. For almost the entire first month of the season, the Aces were back and forth. The pitching staff was exceptional, the defense was solid, but the offense struggled to find consistency in the early weeks of the season.
After a walk-off loss in Bethesda and an 8-5 home loss to the Rockville Express on back-to-back nights, the Aces were 6-12 on the season and the playoffs seemed like a dream rather than a reality. The next game was a turning point in the season.
The Aces hosted the Big Train on June 30th at Frank Mann Field, just two days after losing a 6-5 walk-off in Bethesda. The game was close all the way into the ninth inning, when the Big Train scored three runs by result of a missed call from the umpires. After minutes of arguing, Coach DeSilva and Pitching Coach Anthony Naso were both ejected from the game. That ejection sparked the Aces’ players who went on to win a 6-5 walk-off of their own. From then on, the season had a brighter outlook. The Aces then won seven of the last eight games before the All-Star break in which six of those games came from doubleheaders.
Six Aces were then selected for the CRCBL 2015 All-Star game- Danny Pardo, Brett Netzer, Mike Marcinko, Nick DiEva, Gabe Mosser, and Kevin Superko. The team got a couple of days off before heading into the final stretch of the season.
After the All-Star break, there were only eight days left in the regular season. Because of all the rain in the early part of the summer, the Aces had 13 games in that eight day stretch, with five doubleheaders. That many games proved to take a toll on the Aces, as Alexandria went went 5-8 in the last 13 games, getting swept by the Braves and the Riverdogs in doubleheaders.
The season was on the line on Thursday when the Aces played the final home game of the season against the DC Grays. The Aces needed to beat the Grays and, with a win, would essentially be into the playoffs. Alexandria lead the game 2-0 after five innings, but the Grays tied the game in the top of the sixth and would go on to win 4-2.
With the loss to DC, the Aces headed to Bethesda for the final game of the season in need of not only a win, but also a Herndon loss. The Aces played one of the best games of the year, stifling the Big Train offense and taking advantage of miscues. Alexandria got half of the equation right, winning 3-1. But the Braves went on to win 6-5 in 12 innings in Vienna, clinching the 6th seed in the playoffs and knocking the Aces out of the postseason.
Thank you to all of our fans who came out to Frank Mann Field, tuned in to Aces Radio, or followed us on Twitter. It was a great season that came up just short, but we could not have made it happen without support. We look forward to an even better year next year! Go Aces!
The Aces traveled to Bethesda on Friday night to face the Big Train in the final game of the regular season. For Alexandria, a win against Bethesda was needed as was a Herndon loss in order to snag the final CRCBL playoff position.
The Aces were able to do the first, beating the Big Train 3-1, but the Herndon Braves ended up beating Vienna 6-5 in extra innings, taking the final playoff spot and knocking the Aces out of the postseason.
The game started similarly for both sides. The Aces were able to score a run in the top half of the first inning when Brett Netzer (UNC-Charlotte) scored on an error from Bethesda. The Big Train responded with a run of their own, ironically on a Netzer error, to tie the game at one apiece after just one inning.
After the first inning, both pitching staffs settled down, as the next five full innings were scoreless. The Aces put Wade McNabb (Stetson) on the mound for the start. McNabb went five innings for the Aces, giving up one run on four hits and picking up one K. The Aces faced three different Big Train pitchers through the first six innings.
The score remained 1-1 until the top of the eighth inning when Mike Marcinko (Shippensburg) singled to bring Danny Pardo (Montevallo) home. Just one batter later, Ryan McMillen (Shippensburg) scored on another Big Train error.
Billy Lescher (U of Penn), Matt Doughty (UVa) and Brandon Justice (College of Charleston) all gave solid one-inning relief appearances, but it was Kyle Menchaca (Wilmington) who was called upon in the ninth. Menchaca gave up one walk, but picked up a flyout and two Ks to end the game with the Aces winning 3-1.
While all of this was going on, another game was going on in Vienna. The Braves and Riverdogs were playing and the Aces needed a Herndon loss, coupled with the Aces win, to get to the playoffs. The Braves blew a five-run lead and Vienna tied the game in the bottom of the ninth. But in the 12th inning, a solo homerun for the Braves was the winning run, and the nail in the coffin that was the Aces season.
Alexandria finishes the 2015 CRCBL regular season at 19-21, just one game shy of making the playoffs. Brett Netzer (UNC-Charlotte) finishes the regular season as the CRCBL leader in batting average with a .349 average.
Thank you to all the Aces fans who supported the organization all season long. We could not have done it without you.
Tonight will be the final regular season game for the Aces as they travel to Bethesda to take on the first place Big Train. Tonight’s game is must-win for the Aces, as they need a win, and a loss from the Herndon Braves to grab the sixth and final playoff spot.
The Aces will send Wade McNabb (Stetson) to the mound to try and help them earn that final playoff spot. McNabb has been a solid arm this season from both the pen and starting rotation. His 1.90 ERA and 1-0 record are both impressive for the former catcher turned pitcher.
The Big Train have yet to name a starter, but there is no need as they have already clinched home field advantage throughout the entire Cal Ripken playoffs. The only thing the Big Train could do tomorrow is play spoiler to the Aces hopes and end their season for good.
The Aces (18-21) have no hope of reaching .500 but could put pressure on the Braves with a win. The Big Train (29-10) could choose to sit some players tomorrow to give some extra rest gearing up for their playoff series beginning on Monday.
Fans can follow along on twitter @Alexandria_Aces or tune in to Aces Radio to hear Caleb Waters and Ron Kroptavich for their final call of the season.
The Aces came into today’s game needing to have a must-win mentality, because a loss could spell certain doom. The Aces and Grays split the first four meetings, and this game at Frank Mann was to decide the season series, and which team was to guarantee themselves a playoff spot.
The Aces sent their ace of the staff Gabe Mosser (Shippensburg) to the mound, who had a record of 4-0 on the season. The Aces were also 6-0 in games that Mosser started this season; both are stats that had the Aces feeling confident coming into tonight’s contest.
The Aces wasted no time in the first inning as Brett Netzer (UNC Charlotte) singled and stole second on two consecutive pitches. After an infield single from Alex Stephens (Morehead) moved Netzer up to third the duo pulled off a double steal that gave the Aces a 1-0 heading to the second.
Mosser was dominant on the mound as he held the Grays scoreless through the fourth. The Aces tacked on another run in the bottom half of the fourth on the Malcolm Nachmanoff (Stony Brook) RBI double to center that scored Mike Marcinko (Shippensburg) all the way from first and make the lead 2-0.
After a scoreless fifth Mosser surrendered his first runs of the game on a two RBI double from Lamar Briggs that tied the score at 2-2. The Aces were prepared to answer the bell immediately as they loaded the bases on three straight singles with one out in the bottom of the inning. Two straight strikeouts ended any opportunity and put a serious damper in the Aces moral.
Jake Wersinger (Wilmington) came on in relief of Mosser in the seventh, and worked a scoreless inning to keep the game tied at two. The Aces then went 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the seventh as the score remained 2-2 heading to the eighth.
Wersinger put himself in a hole in the eighth as he committed an error to put runners on first and second with no one out. After a bunt advanced the runners, Mike Caputo hit an RBI single to give the Grays a 3-2 lead. A spectacular play nearly ended the inning, but the Aces missed a double play by half a step, and this then allowed the runner from third to score and extend the Grays lead to 4-2.
The Aces weren’t able to muster anything up against Reid Frazier as he went six up, six down to end the game, and possibly the season for the Aces.
The Aces travel to Bethesda tomorrow to take on the Big Train in the season finale, and a must win game. If the Aces want to make the playoffs they will need a win tomorrow, and a loss from the Herndon Braves. Tomorrow’s game begins at 7:30.
Tonight is a must-win situation for the Aces as they host the D.C. Grays in the penultimate game of the regular season at Frank Mann Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. but fans who cannot make the last home game of the regular season can follow the action on Twitter or on Aces Radio.
After dropping both games of a doubleheader at home last night to the Riverdogs, the Aces now find themselves in a tough situation. Just a half game ahead of the Grays, the Aces are now tied for 3rd in the South division with the Herndon Braves. A win tonight for Alexandria could be enough to get them into the playoffs. But a win for the Grays would give D.C. playoff contention and would send the Aces to the bottom of the standings with only one game left in the season.
The Aces began the season with a 12-1 thrashing of D.C. but since then the series has been all tied up. D.C. won one home and one away matchup to get two wins over the Aces, and Alexandria beat the Grays 5-2 most recently in Anacostia.
The Aces will turn to Gabe Mosser to start on the mound tonight. Mosser (Shippensburg) has been the Aces go-to pitcher this season, pitching in the #1 position all season long. Mosser has a 4-0 record with a 1.58 ERA. He has 34 innings pitched with 25 Ks and 11 walks. His last appearance was a week ago in a 2-1 loss to the Braves.
For the Aces, the season could be decided tonight. Sitting one game behind .500, the Aces need a win in order to extend the season past Friday. So cheer loud and cheer hard for your hometown Aces, playing the final game at Frank Mann of the 2015 CRCBL season.