*SCHEDULING UPDATE: THE WILD CARD GAME WILL BE MONDAY NIGHT AT SHIRLEY POVICH FIELD AT 7:00*
The regular season has come to a close, and that means it is time for the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League Playoffs. The Alexandria Aces (28-12) put together their best regular season in team history, and earned a home game for the Wild Card round on Monday. The Aces will be taking on the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts (17-23) at Shirley Povich Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:00. The Bethesda Big Train, who won the Aces’ South division, and the Baltimore Redbirds, winners of the North division, earned a bye. The Big Train will be playing the winner of the Baltimore Dodgers-Gaithersburg Giants best-of-three series, and the winner of the Aces’ game will take on the Redbirds in a best-of-three. Those semifinal series will start on Tuesday. Before the Aces can think about Tuesday, they must first win on Monday against the T-Bolts.
The Thunderbolts squeaked into the playoffs; in fact, they had a doubleheader against the Loudoun Riverdogs on Friday and had to win both games, which they did. That brought them into a tie with Loudoun, and the T-Bolts held the tiebreaker, so it was the T-Bolts that snagged the sixth and final spot in the playoffs.
Alexandria is coming into Sunday’s matchup 4-6 in their last ten games, while the T-Bolts are 6-4 over their last ten. Both squads are coming off a win, with the Aces winning their regular season finale against the Rockville Express and the T-Bolts sweeping their Friday doubleheader against Loudoun, as mentioned above. During the regular season, the Aces did not lose to the T-Bolts, sweeping the season series 4-0. The T-Bolts did not score more than two runs in any of the four meetings, scoring two runs three times and one run once. Their last meeting was a doubleheader on July 9th, and the Aces won the first game 6-2 and the second game 7-1.
Andrew Coker (Clemson) will be the starting pitcher for Alexandria. He has a 2-1 record, a 3.93 ERA, and the Aces are 5-1 overall in his six starts. He has not faced the T-Bolts yet this summer. Coker has struck out 21 batters and only walked four over his 34 and a third innings pitched. He has worked deep into games this summer, throwing at least six innings three times and seven innings twice.
The T-Bolts have not yet announced their starting pitcher for the game.
Last year, the Aces had not lost to the Herndon Braves during the regular season, but the Braves got the best of the Aces in the Wild Card game.
Written by: Paul Fritschner