By Chris Damond
The Alexandria Aces are headed to the LCS Championship for the second consecutive year, and they did it by smacking four home runs in a 12-4 rout of the Metropolitan Braves at South County High School on Wednesday night.
Alexandria’s victory in Game 2 of the LCS Semifinals gave them a 2-0 sweep against Metropolitan in the best-of-three series.
In typical Aces fashion, they started off slow, before exploding for 10 runs in the final four frames to put the game away.
At the center of Alexandria’s offense were Western Michigan teammates Cade Sullivan and Brendan Harrity. Sullivan put the Aces on the board with his solo homer in the second and then had another in the seventh.
Harrity had three doubles in his four at-bats, including one that took a wonky bounce off first base that plated two runs in the eighth. He finished with a team-high three RBI.
With a 5’10” and 170-pound frame, Harrity isn’t the biggest guy on the team, but his technique makes up for it.
“[Just] keeping short to the ball, letting it get deep and letting it catch the barrel,” Harrity said on how he hits for power.
The second baseman is batting .500 throughout the playoffs. Only two Aces have higher averages – Eddie Hacopian (.600) and Cade Law (1.000), who entered the game late and blasted a homer that bounced off the scoreboard in the ninth.
But before the offensive onslaught, Metropolitan scored three quick runs off starting pitcher Britt Yount (George Mason) in the first, taking a lead that would hold for five more innings.
The turning point came in the sixth with the Braves hanging on to a 3-2 lead. Connor Offshack (Elon) ripped a two-run shot that he watched soar over the left field wall before dramatically flipping his bat and trotting around the bases. The homer put Alexandria ahead 4-3.
Alexandria native and Alexandria City High School graduate Reese Crochet (George Washington) replaced Yount in the sixth and picked up the win. He pitched two innings of one-run baseball. Brody Valentine (Salve Regina) and Josh Berenbaum (U Fraser Valley) closed out the game in the eighth and ninth, respectively.
Nick Frazier was tagged with the loss. Alexandria drilled 13 hits compared to the Braves’ seven. It was a great bounce-back game for the Cal Ripken League’s number one offense, who were held to a measly four runs the day before.
Now, the first-seeded Aces will face the second-seeded Bethesda Big Train, winners of the past five titles, in the LCS Championship.
Last season, Bethesda swept Alexandria in the best-of-three series, but the Aces are riding a high after clinching their first regular season title in team history, which gives them home field advantage in the championship. That bodes well for Alexandria, who haven’t lost at home since June 21.
“We’re just gonna keep playing our game, keep playing aggressive and loose,” Harrity said.
Game 1 is Friday at Frank Mann Field. First pitch is at 6:30.
South County Braves