Aces fall in 1st game after the All-Star break
ALEXANDRIA – by Lukas Favale – The third time still wasn’t the charm for the Alexandria Aces as Dominic Vattunne and the Rockville Express beat the Aces for a third time this season. Making his third start against the Aces, Vattunne walked 9 hitters, but still found a way to work through 6 innings giving up just 4 runs as the Express beat the Aces 6-4 Thursday night. Vattunne moved to 3-0 on the season and 2-0 against the Aces in his three starts against them.
The 5th and 6th innings swung the game in favor of the Express. In the 5th, with the Aces leading 3-1, Josh Reavis started things off with a lead off single on the first pitch of the inning from Aces starting pitcher Chris McKenna. An error by left fielder Anthony Papio allowed Reavis to move to second. Then Gary Schneider bounced out to second baseman Adam Forrer, which moved Reavis to third. Norm Donkin then hit the first pitch he saw for a 2-run home run to tie the game at 3.
In the 6th, the Express caught a few breaks to help them take the lead. Johnny Cole hit a ground ball just inside the first base bag and off the glove of Chris Sweeney for a one-out single. Then Brad Johnson hit a fly ball to shallow center field, but as Alex Buccilli started to charge in, he slipped and the ball fell in for a single. Peter Bowles then singled to load the bases with one-out.
Josh Reavis then grounded one to second, but Adam Forrer, trying to throw to 2nd base to start a double play, threw the ball past Keith Picconi and into left field to bring in two runs. Reavis got 1 RBI on the play and Chris McKenna and AJ Rosenthal then combined to get the final two outs to keep the score 5-3 Express.
The Aces would get one run back in the 6th as Forrer and Glenn both collected two-out extra-base hits. Forrer hit a triple off that tipped off the glove of a diving Norm Donkin and Ronnie Glenn slammed a double midway up the high fence in center field for an RBI to cut the Express lead to 5-4. Alex Buccilli followed with a long fly out a step or two in front of the fence in right center field.
In the 1st inning, the Express quickly jumped out to the lead. Three straight singles by Ryne Willard, Will Kengor, and Josh Hampton, the latter an RBI single, led to a 1-0 lead. The Aces responded in the bottom half, when Vattunne struggled with his command to walk four batter to force in a run. It was Anthony Papio that drew the RBI walk, although Vattunne eventually struck out the side in the first on his way to 7 strikeouts.
The Aces took the lead in the 4th, after Vattunne got two quick outs to start the inning. He then walked Nick Octavi and Keith Picconi. Then with a 3-2 count to Adam Forrer with two-outs, both base runners were ready to start to steal, when Vattunne stepped off and caught Octavi leaving second base early. However Vattunne’s throw to third sailed way high and allowed Octavi to score. After Forrer walked, Ronnie Glenn lined an RBI single to make it a 3-1 Aces lead.
The Express would round out the scoring in the 8th, after two Aces errors, including Kevin Francke’s throwing error on a routine ground ball which would have ended the inning. Then in the bottom of the 8th, the Aces threatened by getting the first two men aboard against Nick Riley. Francke then tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt, but he popped it up to the catcher for the first out. Craig Sweeney then hit a pop up to right field which fell between the second baseman and right fielder, but Ryne Willard was alert and threw to second to get Anthony Papio on a force out as he was holding halfway to see if the ball would land. Nick Octavi struck out to end the first and third threat.
With the loss the Aces drop back below .500 to 14-15 on the season. They return to action Friday night on the road against the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts. First pitch is set for 7PM.
Notes: W – Dominic Vattune (3-0); L – Chris McKenna (3-1); S – Nick Riley (1); Box Score