Aces Lose to Grays in Extra Innings
Grays walk off win is a crushing blow to Aces playoff chances
WASHINGTON, DC – by Lukas Favale – In what has been an up and down roller coaster season for the Alexandria Aces, Wednesday night’s 8-7 loss to the DC Grays in 10 innings may have been the toughest pill to swallow. One day after coughing up a one run lead in the 9th inning to the Grays, the Aces blew a 4-0 lead in this one as they dropped their second in a row to fall outside playoff position with just 2 games left in the season.
The game had just a bit of everything, both good and bad, including an ejection, a few arguments, and of course a walk off hit for the Grays. With Steven Schuler in to pitch in the 10th, Zach Lopes led off the inning with a single. The next batter Blake Overmiller then tried to lay down a bunt with two strikes, but he popped it up to Schuler. Schuler appeared to intentionally let the ball drop at the last second to try and get a double play, but he threw the ball past Chris Sweeney at first and both runners were safe.
Mike Genovese then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third. After Schuler intentionally walked John Beaubien, Josh Powell lined a walk off RBI single over the head of Anthony Papio in right field to send the Grays to an 8-7 win.That came after the Aces wasted a great chance in the top of the 10th. Jared Forestieri, who pitched the 9th, started the 10th by walking Ronnie Glenn and pinch hitter Jacob Stockton. With that, Forestieri was pulled and Stephen Paladino came in to replace him. After a brief delay during which Aces manager Corey Haines requested that Paladino change his arm sleeve, prompting Grays manager Arlan Freeman to start yelling at Haines from across the dugout, Anthony Papio stepped in with two on and no outs.
Papio tried to lay down a bunt to advance both runners, but after working the count to 1-1, he took low for ball 2 as both runners tried to steal. Ronnie Glenn was gunned down at third, with shortstop Zach Lopes covering because the wheel play was on to guard against the bunt, for the first out. Papio ended up walking, and the Aces got 4 walks in the inning, but failed to score because of the caught stealing.
For his second straight start, Chris McKenna found himself with an early lead. After surrendering a 5-0 lead to the Rockville Express last week, McKenna was given a 4-0 lead on Wednesday. In the 1st, Adam Forrer led off the ballgame with a triple and scored on a fielder’s choice by Keith Picconi, after an errant throw to home allowed Forrer to score for a 1-0 lead just two batters in.
Then in the 3rd, the Aces score three more. The Aces got the first three men aboard to start the inning, and then Chris Sweeney walked to force in a run, Kevin Francke hit a sacrifice fly, and Ronnie Glenn singled to put the Aces up 4-1. But in the bottom of the 3rd, the Grays started to chip away, on an RBI single from Mike Genovese.
Then in the 4th, the Grays tied it up. With the bases loaded on two hits and a walk, the nine hitter, Nick Collins smacked a bases clearing 3-run double to right center field to tie it at 4. In the 5th John Beaubien launched a solo home run, his second in as many days against the Aces, to give the Grays their first lead at 5-4. The Grays would get two unearned runs in the 6th off McKenna to push the lead to 7-4.
With the Aces lacking much energy throughout, it looked like that lead may have been able to stick, but instead the Aces bounced right back in the 7th. With the bases loaded and two outs, Chris Sweeney hit a slow chopper to third baseman Troy Marrow. His throw got past Collins at first, which allowed all three runners to score to tie the game at 7.
That’s where we would stay until the walk off single in the 10th. The Grays came close to ending it in the 9th against Colin Milon, a normal starter working out of the bullpen for the first time this season. Manny Cabreja started the inning with fly ball to the warning track in left field that Craig Sweeney dropped. It was ruled an extremely generous double, but he would still be stuck at second with two outs after a pop up and strike out. Nick Collins then grounded a base hit into left field, but Craig Sweeney atoned for his dropped fly ball by throwing Cabreja out at home plate to force extra innings.
With the loss the Aces drop to 19-21 on the season, 1/2 game behind both the Grays and Orioles who are each 18-19. The Aces have two games remaining to get back to .500, including Thursday’s game against the Orioles in a must win game.
Notes: WP – Stephen Paladino (2-1); LP – Steven Schuler (2-3); Box Score