By Chris Damond
The Alexandria Aces drilled 13 hits and left the Gaithersburg Giants in the dust after a five-run seventh to win, 10-4, on Saturday afternoon at Frank Mann Field. The victory snapped a three-game skid for Alexandria (19-9), which is firmly in second place in the Cal Ripken League Standings.
The Giants (14-16) are in third and sit six games behind the Aces with a week left in the season.
It was Women and Girls in Baseball Day at Frank Mann Field, which was orchestrated by assistant coach Jennifer Hammond, a trailblazer with years of coaching and playing experience. She is the only woman coaching in the Cal Ripken League. Along with players, the president of the Eastern Women’s Baseball Conference was in attendance, and a pitcher from DC Girls Baseball, the only girl’s baseball organization in the area, threw out the first pitch.
“I think it’s really important for the girls to see representation,” coach Hammond said. “10 years ago, even five years ago, it was much harder to find opportunities, but even now if you turn on ESPN or you check your local paper, there are women making headlines … so representation matters and when they see it, they know that they have opportunities.”
Trivia questions about women in baseball were announced on the loudspeakers, and fans with the correct answers received some gum and a Starbucks gift card.
In the game, Gaithersburg took an early 1-0 lead in the first, but Eddie Hacopian made sure it wouldn’t last long. He singled to lead off the day for Alexandria and stole second base, before completing the journey along the bases when CJ Boyd (Appalachian State) put the ball in play.
Both teams went back and forth for much of the game until the Aces piled it on in the seventh with five runs to go up 10-4.
Alexandria smacked five hits in the inning, which began with a single from Adam Tellier (Ball State). CJ Boyd drove him home and then scored off Connor Offshack’s (Elon) double. A balk brought in Cade Sullivan (Western Michigan), before Eddie Hacopian (Maryland) capped the hitting onslaught with a two-RBI single.
Mike Eze (Georgetown) had a breakout game, doing a bit of everything. The Pennsylvania native smacked two hits – including an RBI single that brought in the go-ahead run – stole two bases and recorded six putouts in center field.
“The pitchers were really throwing strikes again … so I just did everything I could to help them out,” Eze said. [The win’s] huge, obviously, getting back in the win column. I can say that we’re going to get rolling pretty soon into the playoffs.”
Ben Koomey (RPI) took the mound for Alexandria and allowed just one earned run through four innings. Matt Delano (MGCC) took over in the fifth and came in with a boom, striking out two and retiring the side. The Mississippi native, who has an astounding .049 ERA, pitched three innings and picked up the win.
Both Alexandria native Reese Crochet and all-star Ryan Brown (Ball State) closed out the game by pitching a scoreless inning.
The Aces return to action tomorrow with two games against the Olney Cropdusters at OBGC Park. First, Alexandria will finish a game that was suspended on July 2 at 1:00 p.m., before playing a full game versus Olney at 3:00 p.m.