Aces Slip Up Against Grays
Bullpen coughs up lead to snap Aces 3 game winning streak
ALEXANDRIA – by Lukas Favale – In a game that held huge playoff implications, the Alexandria Aces let a lot of opportunities get away from them, and then saw he bullpen give away multiple leads as they fell to the DC Grays 7-6 Tuesday night. The Grays overcame a 6-5 deficit in the 9th inning to get the win and pull within a 1/2 game of the Aces and Youse’s Orioles for the final playoff spot.
In the 9th, with the Aces closer Nick Marics on, Zach Lopes drew a lead off walk, after falling behind in the count 0-2. Blake Overmiller then laid down a bunt to try and move Lopes into scoring position, and as Marics fielded the bunt and tried to throw to second to get Lopes, he slipped and he threw the ball into center field. Lopes moved to third, and then a passed ball moved Overmiller to second with Mike Genovese at the plate.
Genovese delivered a 2-run single into center field for the Grays to put them ahead 7-6 as Marics picked up the blown save. After giving up another hit, Marics got out of further trouble by getting a double play and pop out to end the inning.In the bottom of the 9th, the Aces had a promising start with a lead off infield single by Keith Picconi. AJ Koscelansky then pinch hit for the pitcher Nick Marics and failed to get down a sacrifice bunt. He ended up striking out looking for the first out. Anthony Papio and pinch hitter Ronnie Glenn would both follow with strikeouts of their own to end the ballgame.
The Aces jumped out early against the Grays, who were playing the second game of a double header, having lost to the Southern Maryland Nationals earlier in the day. In the 2nd, Craig Sweeney led off the inning with a walk, and two batters later Jake Straub hit an RBI single to give the Aces a 1-0 lead. The Aces would end up stranding 2 men on base, and would end up leaving 12 on base the entire game.
The Grays got that run right back against Greg Speiss, on a sacrifice fly from Mike Genovese in the 3rd, but the Aces put up 3 more runs in the bottom half of the frame. Alex Buccilli, Chris Sweeney, and Kieth Picconi all reached base to load the bases with one out. Then three straight RBI singles, from Craig Sweeney, Anthony Papio and Jake Straub put the Aces ahead 4-1 through 3 innings.
The Grays cut into that lead in the 6th. John Beaubien hit a 1-out single into center field against Speiss. On the next pitch, Josh Powell hit a hard come-backer to Speiss, who fielded, but his throw was a little low to second base to try and start a double play. Keith Picconi, who was covering second missed it and was charged with the error as everyone was safe. Manny Cabreja and Nick Collins would follow with RBI hits against Shelby Dixon, as both runs were charged to Speiss and the Grays cut the Aces lead to 4-3.
Then in the 7th, Steven Schuler surrendered a 2-run home run to John Beaubien which put the Grays ahead 5-4. That lead was short lived as the Aces came right back in the bottom of the 7th for 2 runs. Jacob Stockton reached on a one-out single, then Keith Picconi hit a ground ball to Mike Genovese at third. Genovese threw the ball way past first for an error and Picconi went to second as Jacob Stockton raced all the way from first, straight through a stop sign from third base coach David DeSilva, and just in safely at home to tie the game at 5. Craig Sweeney then blasted a double into right center field to bring home Picconi to put the Aces back in front 6-5.
The Aces threatened with two on and one out in the 8th, but failed to add an insurance run, which proved to be costly in the 7-6 defeat.
With the loss the Aces dip back below .500 to 19-20 on the year, still in playoff position, but actually 1 game worse in the loss column then the Grays and Orioles. The Grays and Aces play another critical game on Wednesday in DC at 5PM.
Notes: WP – Stephen Paladino (1-1); LP – Nick Marics (1-2); Box Score