Aces Complete Best First Half in Team History
By: Paul Fritschner – Over the course of ten seasons, the Alexandria Aces have put together some good summers. But most, if not all, of those previous years pale in comparison to the dominance this year’s team has shown through their first 20 games. At 17-3, the Aces finished the first half with their best record ever, and it wasn’t even close. Last year’s team made the playoffs and finished with 23 wins. In 2015, Alexandria won 19 games and finished tied for last in the division. The best summer in Alexandria history was 2013; the Aces won 27 games that year. This year’s team is on pace to win 34 games. Alexandria has shown an ability to win a blowout opponents, emerge with wins in tight games, rally from deficits, and have enormous amounts of fun along the way.
On Thursday, June 22nd, the first national rankings of the summer were released. Alexandria not only received their highest ranking in team history, they received their first ranking in team history. Debuting at number eight, the Aces garnered national attention for what those familiar with the team already knew – this year’s team is really good.
What has contributed to the team’s success? If you ask the team, they seem to all agree: quite simply, they’re all having fun. As soon as batting practice concludes, most of the squad circles up in left field for a competitive game of two-ball. Yes, those games get heated, but the laughs and jokes can be heard all around the park. When the Aces are trailing in a game, there are audible shouts of encouragement, as everyone shares a down-but-never-out attitude. As the team moves into the second half of the season, when the days get hot and the games get long, that sense of camaraderie will most certainly prove valuable.
Alexandria is fourth in the Cal Ripken League in team batting average at .282. The Bethesda Big Train, who lead the league, have a .288 average. Alexandria’s pitching staff has the second-best ERA at 3.46. On defense, the Aces have a .969 fielding percentage, good for third in the league. While the Aces don’t hit too many home runs, they’re last in the league with only two, they manufacture runs at a high level. Their .392 on-base percentage leads the league by a wide margin, and their 124 runs scored puts them at fourth in the league. The Aces’ pitching staff holds opponents to a .249 average, and that mark is tied for second in the league. No matter how you look at it, each facet of this Aces team puts the entire group in a good position to win every single night.
The rest of the Cal Ripken League has been subject to the Aces’ dominance. Alexandria has beaten eight of the nine other teams in the league at least once, with the lone exception being the Baltimore Redbirds. Two of the three losses have been to the Redbirds, with the other coming against the Big Train. Those two teams, who competed in the championship series last year, will be a good measuring stick for Alexandria as they go through the second half.
Yes, there is still a lot of time left, but to this point, this Aces season has been a whole lot of fun. Currently, the Aces hold a two and a half game lead in the South division. If you haven’t had a chance to make it to Frank Mann Field to catch a game, there’s still time. There are nine home games remaining, including tonight’s contest against the Baltimore Dodgers. Whether you come to a home game or catch the Aces on the road, you don’t want to miss out on something special happening with these Alexandria Aces.