With the loss, the Aces fell a game behind Bethesda for first place
Anacostia, D.C. – by: Paul Fritschner – The Alexandria Aces (25-9) are beginning to enter must-win territory. The Aces were 4-0 on the season against the D.C. Grays (12-22) going into Saturday’s game, but a lackluster day offensively has Alexandria now looking up in the standings at the Bethesda Big Train (27-9). The Aces had been in first place since day one, but now the Aces will need some help from the Big Train if they want to avoid the wild card game next Sunday.
Saturday’s game started off well for Alexandria who had a limited number of pitchers available after Thursday’s 15-inning marathon. Eli Boggess (Morehead State) drove in Ray Zuberer (Western Kentucky) in the top of the first to get the game started, but in the end, that was all the offense the Aces would muster.
Alex Garbrick (Morehead State) worked a very quick 1-2-3 inning in the top of the first, but ran into some trouble in the second. He allowed an RBI double and a sac-fly, but was able to strand the two runners that remained in scoring position. Two innings later, the Grays’ Will Johnson doubled home two more runs. The Grays were out to a 4-1 lead and they never looked back. In the seventh, Jacob Maekawa tacked on a run with a solo home run to left field, and the 5-1 score would end up being the final line.
Alexandria did have a couple chances, with runners on the corners and one out in the third, to cut into the lead but the offense was held in check. Matthew Dalke, the starter for the Grays, went as long as he possibly could. He pitched and pitched until his pitch count climbed to 120. Finally, with one out in the eighth inning, Dalke hugged his teammates on the mound before walking off in the final home game of the season for the Grays. Nick Laster replaced him and allowed the first two batters he faced to reach, but neither of them scored.
Dustin Lander (Charleston Southern) threw two innings of no-hit, scoreless baseball while striking out three and walking none in relief for the Aces. Hughes Page (Virginia) only allowed one hit in his two innings, but that one hit was the solo home run. He walked one and struck out two.
The Aces’ attention now turns to Sunday’s doubleheader against the Braves at Frank Mann Field. The first game is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. and it will resume in the bottom of the second inning with the Aces coming to the plate. The second game will be a seven inning game as well, and it will start 25 minutes after the first one ends. If you can’t make it to Alexandria, the game will be on Aces Radio or you can follow along on Twitter at @Alexandria_Aces.