On Tuesday June 5th, 2018, The Alexandria Aces will enter their 11th season of summer collegiate baseball as they face off against the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts. This will be a re-match of last year’s Wild-Card playoff game in which the Thunderbolts came back from an 11 run deficit to defeat the Aces in extra innings. While the Aces finished 28-12 last season, finishing second in the Cal Ripken Collegiate South Division, they hope to make a the playoffs for the third time in three years. The Thunderbolts, on the other hand, sneaked into the playoffs last year after a 17-23 record in the Cal Ripken Collegiate North Division, eventually losing to the League Champion Bethesda Big Train in a best of three game series in the second round of the playoffs.
The Aces roster has had a complete makeover from 2017-2018, as 29 of the 30 players will put on an Aces uniform for the first time. The lone returning player is first baseman Ethan Cady. Last season for the Aces he had a .328 batting average with 43 hits and 21 RBI’s and was selected to the All-Star Game. The Sophomore from Lipscomb University looks to improve off of last summer’s stats as one of the leaders of the Aces this year.
This season will also begin the Chris Berset era as he succeeds former Head Coach David DeSilva, who called the shots for the Aces the past six years. Berset, who was one of DeSilva’s assistants last year, has a solid baseball background. After playing catcher at the University of Michigan, he was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 2010 and made it all the way to AAA Louisville before hanging up his mask and cleats in the summer of 2016. Returning to the coaching staff is second year pitching coach Chris Giblin, who completed his fifth season as pitching coach at West Potomac High School. Joining Berset and Giblin to the staff are Shaun Wood and Mike Olerta. Wood is the JV coach of Yorktown High School, after playing his high school career there as a first baseman. He would play collegiately at West Virginia and Old Dominion and one season professionally in the United Shores Professional Baseball League in Michigan. Olerta is currently the Head Coach of Bishop Ireton High School, reviving a team that made the playoffs for the first time in three seasons in the WCAC earning Co-Coach of the year.
On the mound making his Aces debut will be right-hander Wyatt Rush. The 6’3 freshman from Lansing Community College appeared in 14 games this past season, with three starts and a win-loss record of 10-3. He had an ERA of 2.09 with 86 strikeouts, 20 walks, averaging 9.97 strikeouts per game. In his 77 and two-thirds innings pitched, he has one complete game.
Opposing Rush and making his Thunderbolts debut is Yash Rane, a 6’1 freshman right-hander from Lehigh University. Rane appeared in three games this season pitching four total innings. He had an ERA of 6.75 with three strikeouts and one walk in limited action. The Potomac, MD native is a two-time WCAC conference champion from St. John’s College High School.
The Aces will start their first two games on the road before their Home Opener on Thursday June 7th. They will square off against the Thunderbolts at 7pm Tuesday at Blair Baseball Stadium at Montgomery Blair High School. Fans not in attendance can tune into Aces Radio or following @Alexandria_Aces on Twitter.