By Chris Damond
No matter the score, the Alexandria Aces compete.
Facing an eight-run deficit in the fourth inning, the Aces could have easily given up. Instead, they battled back, scoring 11 unanswered runs to shock the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts, 11-9, on a beautiful Friday night at Frank Mann Field. What’s more, this isn’t even the first time Alexandria has come back from eight down this season. On June 11, they beat the Metropolitan Braves, 23-20, after trailing 10-2.
With the victory, the Aces (8-5) regain sole possession of second place in the Cal Ripken League standings.
“We never give up,” said first baseman Cade Sullivan, who had a team-high three hits. “We just stick to our approaches and things happen from there.”
Sullivan (Western Michigan) started the comeback in the fourth with an RBI single that dropped just between two outfielders. Drew Collins (Oakland) smacked a pitch past a diving Thunderbolt to bring in two more runs and narrow the gap to 8-3.
“I think every big inning needs a little kickstart,” Sullivan said about his RBI single. “I guess that’s what that was for that inning, and then [we] piled off that in the fifth, six, and seventh. And all of a sudden we had the lead.”
From there, Alexandria was in business. They scored eight runs off seven hits in the next three frames, which included a four-run sixth inning, to take an 11-8 lead and shock the Thunderbolts (4-9).
Brendan Harrity’s infield hit in the sixth brought the Aces within one, and he scored on the next play when Adam Tellier (Ball State) hit a sacrifice fly to equalize, bringing Frank Mann Field to life. Sullivan added two more RBI after his fourth-inning single, including a solo shot in the seventh that gave Alexandria a lead they wouldn’t squander.
The Aces’ explosive offense was complemented by stellar pitching from Sasha Kamenjasevic (University of Fraser Valley), whose nasty breaking balls had Silver Spring whiffing left and right. In 2.2 innings pitched, the Canadian struck out five without allowing a hit.
Alexandria fended off a late Thunderbolt surge too, as Silver Spring scored a run and had the bases loaded with two outs in the ninth. Ryan Brown was clutch, though, and caught Andrew Schaeb looking on a strike three to earn the save.
Ryan Osinski (Bucknell), who threw 1.1 innings of shutout baseball while striking out two batters, picked up the win. Beck Urofosky was tagged with the loss.
The Aces finished with 13 hits to the Thunderbolts’ 10, but it was all Silver Spring early on.
The Thunderbolts scored eight unanswered runs, including six in the fourth inning, to take a commanding lead early on. Gary Garrett soared a pitch off starting pitcher Ben Koomey (RPI) for a two-run double that put Silver Spring on the board in the second. Aces outfielders Mike Eze (Georgetown) and Dylan Koontz (Campbell) tried to snag it, but they collided in right center, knocking Eze down for a few minutes. He eventually stood up and played the rest of the game.
Silver Spring exploded for seven hits off Koomey and Corey Knauf (Wooster), his replacement, in the fourth to extend its lead. The Thunderbolts went through their entire lineup and scored all six runs with two outs in the inning. Nathan Waugh’s three-run homer to left field made it 8-0 and caused a collective sigh from the Aces faithful.
But then Alexandria got to work.
Alexandria travels to Bethesda tomorrow evening to face the Big Train, a team they’ve narrowly lost to twice this season. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. at Shirley Povich Field.
SS-T T Bolts