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Aces 2015 CRCBL Season Recap

As the 2015 Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League playoffs begin today, the Aces season is officially over. Finishing with a 19-21 record and just one game shy of the postseason, the Aces played a great season of baseball.

Before Alexandria even took the field for the first time this season, there were already hurdles to jump. Coach David DeSilva had to deal with a number of high-profile players who, either because of injury or college coaches’ orders, changed their mind about playing baseball this summer and dropped out of the team. DeSilva made a number of early season moves but still began the season with a smaller roster than expected.

Once the season started, it was all about rain. The first three games of the regular season were all postponed due to rain. Throughout the entirety of the season, it seemed like a week did not go by without at least one game affected by weather, but especially in the beginning of the season. Finally, the Aces played the season and home opener at Barcroft Park in Arlington in a 12-1 thrashing of the DC Grays.

The hot streak, however, would not last long. The Aces lost the next three games of the season, two of them to eventual division-winning Bethesda and Baltimore Redbirds. For almost the entire first month of the season, the Aces were back and forth. The pitching staff was exceptional, the defense was solid, but the offense struggled to find consistency in the early weeks of the season.

After a walk-off loss in Bethesda and an 8-5 home loss to the Rockville Express on back-to-back nights, the Aces were 6-12 on the season and the playoffs seemed like a dream rather than a reality. The next game was a turning point in the season.

The Aces hosted the Big Train on June 30th at Frank Mann Field, just two days after losing a 6-5 walk-off in Bethesda. The game was close all the way into the ninth inning, when the Big Train scored three runs by result of a missed call from the umpires. After minutes of arguing, Coach DeSilva and Pitching Coach Anthony Naso were both ejected from the game. That ejection sparked the Aces’ players who went on to win a 6-5 walk-off of their own. From then on, the season had a brighter outlook. The Aces then won seven of the last eight games before the All-Star break in which six of those games came from doubleheaders.

Six Aces were then selected for the CRCBL 2015 All-Star game- Danny Pardo, Brett Netzer, Mike Marcinko, Nick DiEva, Gabe Mosser, and Kevin Superko. The team got a couple of days off before heading into the final stretch of the season.

After the All-Star break, there were only eight days left in the regular season. Because of all the rain in the early part of the summer, the Aces had 13 games in that eight day stretch, with five doubleheaders. That many games proved to take a toll on the Aces, as Alexandria went went 5-8 in the last 13 games, getting swept by the Braves and the Riverdogs in doubleheaders.

The season was on the line on Thursday when the Aces played the final home game of the season against the DC Grays. The Aces needed to beat the Grays and, with a win, would essentially be into the playoffs. Alexandria lead the game 2-0 after five innings, but the Grays tied the game in the top of the sixth and would go on to win 4-2.

With the loss to DC, the Aces headed to Bethesda for the final game of the season in need of not only a win, but also a Herndon loss. The Aces played one of the best games of the year, stifling the Big Train offense and taking advantage of miscues. Alexandria got half of the equation right, winning 3-1. But the Braves went on to win 6-5 in 12 innings in Vienna, clinching the 6th seed in the playoffs and knocking the Aces out of the postseason.

Thank you to all of our fans who came out to Frank Mann Field, tuned in to Aces Radio, or followed us on Twitter. It was a great season that came up just short, but we could not have made it happen without support. We look forward to an even better year next year! Go Aces!

Aces Win in Bethesda, Lose in Vienna

The Aces traveled to Bethesda on Friday night to face the Big Train in the final game of the regular season. For Alexandria, a win against Bethesda was needed as was a Herndon loss in order to snag the final CRCBL playoff position.

The Aces were able to do the first, beating the Big Train 3-1, but the Herndon Braves ended up beating Vienna 6-5 in extra innings, taking the final playoff spot and knocking the Aces out of the postseason.

The game started similarly for both sides. The Aces were able to score a run in the top half of the first inning when Brett Netzer (UNC-Charlotte) scored on an error from Bethesda. The Big Train responded with a run of their own, ironically on a Netzer error, to tie the game at one apiece after just one inning.

After the first inning, both pitching staffs settled down, as the next five full innings were scoreless. The Aces put Wade McNabb (Stetson) on the mound for the start. McNabb went five innings for the Aces, giving up one run on four hits and picking up one K. The Aces faced three different Big Train pitchers through the first six innings.

The score remained 1-1 until the top of the eighth inning when Mike Marcinko (Shippensburg) singled to bring Danny Pardo (Montevallo) home. Just one batter later, Ryan McMillen (Shippensburg) scored on another Big Train error.

Billy Lescher (U of Penn), Matt Doughty (UVa) and Brandon Justice (College of Charleston) all gave solid one-inning relief appearances, but it was Kyle Menchaca (Wilmington) who was called upon in the ninth. Menchaca gave up one walk, but picked up a flyout and two Ks to end the game with the Aces winning 3-1.

While all of this was going on, another game was going on in Vienna. The Braves and Riverdogs were playing and the Aces needed a Herndon loss, coupled with the Aces win, to get to the playoffs. The Braves blew a five-run lead and Vienna tied the game in the bottom of the ninth. But in the 12th inning, a solo homerun for the Braves was the winning run, and the nail in the coffin that was the Aces season.

Alexandria finishes the 2015 CRCBL regular season at 19-21, just one game shy of making the playoffs. Brett Netzer (UNC-Charlotte) finishes the regular season as the CRCBL leader in batting average with a .349 average.

Thank you to all the Aces fans who supported the organization all season long. We could not have done it without you.

July 24 Preview: Aces @ Big Train

Tonight will be the final regular season game for the Aces as they travel to Bethesda to take on the first place Big Train. Tonight’s game is must-win for the Aces, as they need a win, and a loss from the Herndon Braves to grab the sixth and final playoff spot.

The Aces will send Wade McNabb (Stetson) to the mound to try and help them earn that final playoff spot. McNabb has been a solid arm this season from both the pen and starting rotation. His 1.90 ERA and 1-0 record are both impressive for the former catcher turned pitcher.

The Big Train have yet to name a starter, but there is no need as they have already clinched home field advantage throughout the entire Cal Ripken playoffs. The only thing the Big Train could do tomorrow is play spoiler to the Aces hopes and end their season for good.

The Aces (18-21) have no hope of reaching .500 but could put pressure on the Braves with a win. The Big Train (29-10) could choose to sit some players tomorrow to give some extra rest gearing up for their playoff series beginning on Monday.

Fans can follow along on twitter @Alexandria_Aces or tune in to Aces Radio to hear Caleb Waters and Ron Kroptavich for their final call of the season.

Aces Fall To Grays 4-2, Playoff Hopes Dwindle

The Aces came into today’s game needing to have a must-win mentality, because a loss could spell certain doom. The Aces and Grays split the first four meetings, and this game at Frank Mann was to decide the season series, and which team was to guarantee themselves a playoff spot.

The Aces sent their ace of the staff Gabe Mosser (Shippensburg) to the mound, who had a record of 4-0 on the season. The Aces were also 6-0 in games that Mosser started this season; both are stats that had the Aces feeling confident coming into tonight’s contest.

The Aces wasted no time in the first inning as Brett Netzer (UNC Charlotte) singled and stole second on two consecutive pitches. After an infield single from Alex Stephens (Morehead) moved Netzer up to third the duo pulled off a double steal that gave the Aces a 1-0 heading to the second.

Mosser was dominant on the mound as he held the Grays scoreless through the fourth. The Aces tacked on another run in the bottom half of the fourth on the Malcolm Nachmanoff (Stony Brook) RBI double to center that scored Mike Marcinko (Shippensburg) all the way from first and make the lead 2-0.

After a scoreless fifth Mosser surrendered his first runs of the game on a two RBI double from Lamar Briggs that tied the score at 2-2. The Aces were prepared to answer the bell immediately as they loaded the bases on three straight singles with one out in the bottom of the inning. Two straight strikeouts ended any opportunity and put a serious damper in the Aces moral.

Jake Wersinger (Wilmington) came on in relief of Mosser in the seventh, and worked a scoreless inning to keep the game tied at two. The Aces then went 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the seventh as the score remained 2-2 heading to the eighth.

Wersinger put himself in a hole in the eighth as he committed an error to put runners on first and second with no one out. After a bunt advanced the runners, Mike Caputo hit an RBI single to give the Grays a 3-2 lead. A spectacular play nearly ended the inning, but the Aces missed a double play by half a step, and this then allowed the runner from third to score and extend the Grays lead to 4-2.

The Aces weren’t able to muster anything up against Reid Frazier as he went six up, six down to end the game, and possibly the season for the Aces.

The Aces travel to Bethesda tomorrow to take on the Big Train in the season finale, and a must win game. If the Aces want to make the playoffs they will need a win tomorrow, and a loss from the Herndon Braves. Tomorrow’s game begins at 7:30.

July 23rd Preview: Final Home Game v. DC Grays

Tonight is a must-win situation for the Aces as they host the D.C. Grays in the penultimate game of the regular season at Frank Mann Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. but fans who cannot make the last home game of the regular season can follow the action on Twitter or on Aces Radio.

After dropping both games of a doubleheader at home last night to the Riverdogs, the Aces now find themselves in a tough situation. Just a half game ahead of the Grays, the Aces are now tied for 3rd in the South division with the Herndon Braves. A win tonight for Alexandria could be enough to get them into the playoffs. But a win for the Grays would give D.C. playoff contention and would send the Aces to the bottom of the standings with only one game left in the season.

The Aces began the season with a 12-1 thrashing of D.C. but since then the series has been all tied up. D.C. won one home and one away matchup to get two wins over the Aces, and Alexandria beat the Grays 5-2 most recently in Anacostia.

The Aces will turn to Gabe Mosser to start on the mound tonight. Mosser (Shippensburg) has been the Aces go-to pitcher this season, pitching in the #1 position all season long. Mosser has a 4-0 record with a 1.58 ERA. He has 34 innings pitched with 25 Ks and 11 walks. His last appearance was a week ago in a 2-1 loss to the Braves.

For the Aces, the season could be decided tonight. Sitting one game behind .500, the Aces need a win in order to extend the season past Friday. So cheer loud and cheer hard for your hometown Aces, playing the final game at Frank Mann of the 2015 CRCBL season.

Aces Drop Both Halves Of DH To Riverdogs

The matchup that was set to decide second in the Cal Ripken South division went as poorly for the Aces as it could have. The Aces came into today’s double header only a half game behind Vienna for second in the south, and had an opportunity to take a commanding lead heading into the final two games. The Riverdogs (19-18) played the home team in the makeup first game, with the Aces (18-18) playing home in the second and regularly scheduled game both set for seven innings.

In game one the Aces sent Jacob Craver (UNC Charlotte) to face-off against Jordon Accetta. An action packed first inning featured five runs scored between the two clubs, highlighted by RBI singles from Alex Stephens (Morehead), and Tad Sobieszczanski (Hillsdale) giving the Aces a 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the inning Craver gave up three runs, although one of the runs was not earned.

We skip ahead to the fifth inning when Ryan McMillen (Shippensburg) crushed a double to score Stephens from first, and tie the game at 3-3. Trouble ensued in the bottom of the sixth as the Riverdogs exploded for six runs on four hits to take a commanding 9-3 lead, and grab the game one win 9-4.

In game two the Aces sent Nick DiEva (Stony Brook) to be the stopper and he did just that. DiEva dominated for five shutout innings allowing just four hits while striking out three, and was in place for a victory.

On offense the Aces backed DiEva up grabbing a 1-0 lead in the second with an unearned run from Sobie. They then doubled the lead in the fifth on an RBI single from Sobie that scored Nick Macy (Wilmington). Unfortunately for the Aces Brett Netzer (UNC Charlotte) was thrown out on the play at home and the score remained 2-0 Aces.

Wade McNabb (Stetson) came on in the sixth in relief, and after striking out the first hitter started to get squeezed by the home plate umpire which then allowed extra opportunities for the Riverdogs as the next three hitters doubled, walked, and were hit by a pitch to load the bases. Brandon Justice (Charlotte) then came on in relief to try and keep the Dogs off the board. Justice was unable to do so as a wild pitch allowed the first run of the game for the Dogs and cut the lead to 2-1.

The Aces didn’t muster up any offense in the bottom of the sixth which set the stage for Justice to close things out. Justice however ended up throwing his worst inning of the season allowing two earned runs, blowing the save, and giving the Dogs a 3-2 lead.

The Riverdogs then turned to the best pitcher in the Cal Ripken League in Jack Gomersall to close things out, and get the save. The Aces loaded the bases on a walk, catcher interference, and an error to put the winning run on second base with one out. Gomersall struck out the next two batters to close out the game and give the Dogs the sweep of the Aces in the double header.

Stay tuned as the Aces return to Frank Mann in their final home game of the regular season against the DC Grays starting at 7 pm. This is a must win for the Aces as the Grays could clinch the season series against the Aces, and guarantee to be ahead of the Aces come Friday night.

 

 

July 22nd Preview: Aces DH v. Riverdogs

After splitting a doubleheader with the Giants and Big Train last night in Alexandria, the Aces will play the final doubleheader of the season tonight at Frank Mann Field. The Aces host the Vienna Riverdogs with first pitches set for 4:30 and 7 p.m. Aces fans can follow the action on Twitter or tune in to Aces Radio.

The Aces (18-18) came out hot against the Giants in Game 1 of the doubleheader and beat Gaithersburg 9-1. However, Alexandria missed several chances to put the game away against Bethesda and had to go 10 innings, eventually falling 7-4.

The Riverdogs lead the season series 2-1 after taking game one 4-2 back on June 6th, then taking game two of a DH on July 16th. These two games today will most likely determine where the Aces and Riverdogs land in the playoffs, as Alexandria comes into this game just a half game back on Vienna.

Jacob Craver will take the mound for the Aces in game one. Craver, a sophomore from UNC-Charlotte, has 10 appearances for the Aces this season, but tonight will be his first start. He has 13.1 innings pitched with 10 Ks and nine walks. Craver’s longest outing this season is 2.2 innings, so tonight will be a big test in his first start.

Nick DiEva is the Aces probable pitcher for game two. DiEva (Stony Brook) has a 1-2 record and a 3.85 ERA but has been one of the Aces’ best pitchers this year. With 23.1 innings pitched, DiEva has fanned 17 batters and walked only five. Tonight will be his fifth start of the season.

The Riverdogs will start Jack Gomersall on the mound for game one. Gomersall (VMI) is probably the best starting pitcher in the CRCBL. With a 5-1 record and a 0.45 ERA, Gomersall leads the league in wins and in ERA. He has given up two earned runs on 24 hits in 40 innings pitched for the Riverdogs. Gomersall pitched seven scoreless innings for Vienna the first time these two teams met.

Vienna will start Jordan Accetta for the second game. Accetta, a junior from Wofford College, is also an extremely dominant pitcher. He has 49.1 IP in eight appearances and is second in the CRCBL with 38 Ks. Accetta has given up 34 hits and 17 earned runs, so the Aces may be able to get some offense going off of Accetta.

Aces Beat Giants, Fall To Big Train In Extras To Split DH

A rarity occurred at Frank Mann field today as the Alexandria Aces played two different teams on the same day. For the double header the Aces faced the Gaithersburg Giants in game one, and the Bethesda Big Train in game two.

For game one the Aces sent Billy Lescher (Penn) to the mound who was dominant in his start on Tuesday afternoon. He shut down the Giants over four innings only allowing two hits while striking out one, and lowering his season ERA to 2.00.

On offense the Aces wasted no time as Tad Sobieszczanski (Hillsdale) roped a two RBI single to left field to score Brett Netzer (UNC Charlotte) and Danny Pardo (Campbell), and give the Aces a 2-0 lead after one. The Aces tacked on two more runs in the third highlighted by the Pardo RBI double, and extend the lead to 4-0.

Trevor Eulenbach (Weatherford) pitched two innings in relief after Lescher’s solid start to pick up the win. Eulenbach did allow a run in the sixth with two outs as his line for the night read two innings allowing one run on one hit while striking out three.

After exploding for five runs in the fifth inning the Aces turned to Joe Smidt (Nebraska Kearney) in the seventh who tossed a 1-2-3 frame to close out the Giants, and give the Aces a 9-1 victory in game one.

For game two the Aces went a bit off script as they sent Griffin Harms (Wayne St) to the mound for the first start of his career. This spot start couldn’t have gone worse as Harms only lasted 1/3 of an inning allowing three runs on zero hits. After he was chased the Aces turned to Matt Doughty (Virginia) to hold down the fort for a while, and keep the Aces in the game. Doughty was able to work into the fourth inning and only allow one run three hits in three and one third innings of work with striking out two.

On offense the Aces struggled early, but jumped on an opportunity in the third when Big Train starter, Alex Calvert, walked the bases loaded. RBI’s from Mike Marcinko (Shippensburg), and Sobieszczanski cut the lead to 3-2, and a walk from Ryan McMillen (Shippensburg) loaded the bases back up with two outs. Two wild pitches from reliever Walker Sheller allowed the Aces to take a 4-3 lead after three.

After Doughty allowed the tying run in the fourth Brandon Justice (Charleston), and Wade McNabb (Stetson) combined for two and a third scoreless innings pitched to keep the score tied at 4 runs a piece.

Kyle Menchaca (Wilmington) came on in the seventh inning and was brilliant tossing a shutout inning to give the Aces a chance to win the game. The Aces had an opportunity to win the game in the seventh but left a man on third after two straight strikeouts.

After a quick eighth inning by both teams, Menchaca fired his third scoreless inning of work in the top of the ninth. Thee Aces loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the inning, but a double play on a line drive ended any chance in an instant.

That took all wind out of the sails of the Aces as the Big Train scored three runs in the top of the tenth off of Mike Torres (Wilmington). A Danny Pardo double was all the Aces mustered up in the bottom of the inning as the Big Train left Alexandria with a 7-4 victory.

Tune-in tomorrow as the Aces stay home, and play a crucial double header against division rival Vienna starting at 4:30.

 

July 21st Preview: Aces DH vs. Giants and Big Train

After a much-needed day off, the Aces are back to work tonight at Frank Mann Field with only six games left in the regular season. The Aces have another doubleheader, playing the Gaithersburg Giants in Game 1 and the Bethesda Big Train in Game 2. First pitch for Game 1 is scheduled for 4 p.m. but fans who cannot make it to Frank Mann can follow the Aces on Twitter or tune in to Aces Radio.

The Aces sit right at even on the season with a 17-17 record. The Giants and Big Train could not be further apart. Gaithersburg is last in the North division and the CRCBL with a 12-25 record. The Big Train are best in the South and best in the League with a 27-9 record. The Giants are 3-7 in their last 10 games, while the Big Train are 8-2.

Tate Shaw is expected to start for the Giants. Shaw, a sophomore from the University of Texas, has 19.2 innings pitched for Gaithersburg this season. With an 0-2 record and a 4.11 ERA, Shaw has appeared in 10 games but only started in two. He has 15 Ks and seven walks and has conceded nine earned runs on 29 hits.

Billy Lescher is the Aces probable pitcher in Game 1. Lescher (U of Penn) has a 1-1 record with a 2.57 ERA in eight appearances. He has struck out 17 batters and walked 10 in his 14 innings. Lescher was credited with the win in the July 16 win over Vienna, but has not pitched for the Aces since then.

The Big Train will send Alex Calvert to the mound for Game 2. Calvert, a sophomore righty out of the University of South Carolina, has appeared in eight games while starting six. He has 31 Ks in 30.1 innings pitched, but has given up 11 ER on 22 hits. Calvert has yet to face the Aces this season.

Griffin Harms is expected to face Calvert in Game 2. Harms (Wayne State Univ) is a dynamic outfielder-turned-pitcher who will get his first start of the season on the mound. Harms has pitched four times this season, but all of those appearances are relief, with the longest 1.1 innings. He has six Ks and one walk but has yet to give up an earned run on two hits.

Come on out to Frank Mann tonight to support your hometown Alexandria Aces. Go Aces!

Aces Squeak By Baltimore Dodgers, Win 9-8

The Baltimore Dodgers came to Frank Mann Field on Sunday night to give the Aces their first non-doubleheader game since July 6th. In one of the sloppiest games (nine total errors) of the season, the Aces pulled out a 9-8 walk-off win.

Mike Torres (Wilmington) and Tyler Fellner were the starting pitchers in a game that showed early signs of being a high-scoring affair. Torres gave up three runs on four hits in the top of the third, with two of those doubles and one triple. The Aces were able to respond with four runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning, aided by a two-run homer from Malcom Nachmanoff (Stony Brook), his second of the year.

The Dodgers kept the offense rolling, scoring one run in the 3rd, one in the 4th, and three in the 5th. With an 8-4 lead, the Dodgers looked as though they might hand the Aces another tough loss.

A Danny Pardo (Montevallo) solo shot in the bottom of the 5th cut the Baltimore lead to just three runs. The Aces continued chipping away, scoring one more in both the seventh and eighth innings. Matt Doughty (UVa) and Jacob Craver (UNC-Charlotte) both had effective relief appearances, but it was Kyle Menchaca (Wilmington) who was called upon in the ninth. After giving up a walk-off HBP to the Braves just two days prior, Menchaca was able to forget that appearance. He went 1-2-3 and gave the Aces a chance in the bottom half of the ninth.

Pardo showed patience at the plate leading off, advancing to first on a full count walk. Mike Marcinko (Shippensburg) was also walked and both Pardo and Marcinko stole a base. That gave Alex Stephens (Morehead State) two runners in scoring position with no outs. A slow chopper to first, and a fielding error, allowed Pardo to come home and Stephens to go to first. Stephens then took off for second and the Dodgers’ first baseman overthrew the second baseman, bringing Marcinko in from third and ending the game.

Player of the Game: The player of Sunday night’s game is not in fact a player, but a coach. Rather, a group of coaches. The Aces coaching staff are awarded the PotG award for keeping Alexandria in a game that seemed almost hopeless in the 5th inning. Coach DeSilva and his coaching staff employed aggressive base running and pitching changes to give the Aces a chance, which eventually paid off.

It wasn’t pretty, but the Aces pulled out the win, bumping the season record to 17-17 and back to .500. With five more home games before the season finale in Bethesda, every game will be important for determining playoff standings.

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