By Chris Damond
The comeback kings of the Cal Ripken League did it again on Wednesday night at Frank Mann Field. Facing a five-run deficit early on, the Alexandria Aces scored eight runs in the second inning to take the lead for good and beat the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts, 12-6, for their fourth straight win.
Vanderbilt teammates Matt Wolfe and Cade Law led the offensive charge in the Aces monster second inning, working together to drive in Alexandria’s first three runs. They hit back-to-back in the lineup, and after Wolfe drilled a two-RBI single, Law, who had a team-high four hits, doubled to score him.
Wolfe was spectacular at shortstop too, making clutch plays all game. In the first, he made a sliding catch down the left field line to save a run with Thunderbolts on the corners.
Dylan Koontz (Campbell) and CJ Boyd (Appalachian State) launched back-to-back homers in the second for three more runs. Boyd dazzled on offense once again, finishing with two RBI and three hits.
The only triple for Alexandria went to Brendan Harrity, who added a run with his rip in the eighth. Alexandria finished with an astounding 16 hits and Silver Spring had nine.
The Thunderbolts only scored one run after the second, and Brody Valentine (Salve Regina) made sure it wasn’t more. With the bases loaded and no outs in the eighth, the Delaware native came in and retired three straight batters, striking out two of them.
“I just felt really relaxed and had confidence in my stuff,” Valentine said. “My fastball was good; I could mix in my curveball whenever I wanted. But pretty sure my fastball had a lot of life tonight, and I could just get it by opponents.”
Boyd, who started the game at right field, closed out the game in the ninth, retiring three-out-of-four batters without giving up a hit.
“CJ’s got lots of talent,” Valentine said. “[He] got the home run earlier tonight to get us going and then comes in and shuts the door. Made it look pretty easy.”
Alexandria native Reese Crochet (George Washington) and Canadian Josh Berenbaum (U Fraser Valley) each pitched shutout frames in relief of starter Britt Yount (George Mason), who pitched five innings and picked up the win.
Ryan Cuadros was tagged with the loss.
The Aces are now just 2.5 games back from the first-place Bethesda Big Train, with a doubleheader scheduled against them tomorrow at Shirley Povich Field. Game 1 is at 4:30 and Game 2 will be no earlier than 7:00 p.m.
“We’re just going have all hands-on deck,” Valentine said about tomorrow’s game. “Everybody in the bullpen has to come out, contribute, and do their stuff … Play like it’s a regular game.”
SS-T T Bolts