Category: Game Recaps

Aces down the Gray’s

Amid a gloomy D.C. evening – manifesting itself in a 25-minute rain delay in the seventh inning – the Alexandria Aces left the nation’s capital with a 6-3 victory over the Grays.
The Aces, now a 4-7 record, have won four of their last five and sit 4.5 games out of the lead.
Vanderbilt commits TJ McKenzie and Max Romero drew back-to-back walks kicking off the ballgame. McKenzie scored on two stolen bases and a passed ball to reach home. Romero was brought in from a Ryan Peltier (Ball State) RBI.
Peltier picked up his second RBI of the night two innings later after driving home Jake Heiman (Lansing CC) via single to centerfield. Steven Karis (Eastern Michigan) touched home as well on a walk and a few wild pitches.
The Grays were held silent until the fifth inning thanks to another outstanding Jared Lyons (GMU) start. He allowed just a single run on two hits in five innings of work. The crafty right-hander struck out nine walking just three.
“We were just trying to keep the pitch count low and get our pitchers out of there, especially in this rain,” catcher Max Romero said.
Lyons’ 25 strikeouts on the year now leads the Ripken League – just one punchout ahead of Bethesda’s Dalton Ponce on two less innings thrown.
Alexandria tacked on more offense allowing McKenzie to score again in the fourth on Heilman’s RBI single. Scotty Morgan (GMU) manufactured a run in the sixth after reaching on a single of his own.
Additionally, the Aces bullpen held strong in the rain. Adam Schwartz (UConn), Andre Orselli (Ball State), and Hugh O’Hara (GMU), proved D.C. scoreless on just two hits after middle reliver Nick Sadd (Bucknell) let two come home in the sixth.
Lyons was awarded his first win of the season, and O’Hara his first save after closing out the ballgame’s final at-bat on strikes.
“I told him, word for word, ‘just lean back and let it fly. I want to see 95.’ And he blew it by him, so that was fun,” Romero said.
The Aces are back in action Friday for a double-header at Silver Spring – Takoma. Both ballgames are scheduled for seven innings with first pitch set at 4:30 p.m.

Aces split Double Header with Big Train

Alexandria split a double-header with the league’s frontrunning Bethesda Big Train Sunday afternoon at Shirley Povich Field.
The Aces are hot having now won three of their last four. They remain four games back in the standings, and sit on a 3-7 record one quarter of the way through the season.
The Pinstripes – serving as the home team in game one – fell behind 4-0 early, but awoke in the bottom of four to knot up the scoreboard. A Landon Langston (North Alabama) RBI drove in Erek Bolton (Ball State) just moments before Jared Lyons (GMU) tagged a dinger to deep left field for a three-run moonshot.
The tie wouldn’t hold as Bethesda plated six runs in the final inning behind five hits; Alexandria responded only with an Adam Schwartz (UConn) RBI to call Steve Hill (Morehead State) home falling 10-5.
Game two was a different tale, however.
Striking first blood in the top of the first, Scotty Morgan (GMU) jumped the tall 370-foot center-field wall for a two-run dinger.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
Just three innings later in his next at-bat, Morgan did the same – this time a pull down the right field line – putting the Aces up 4-1 in the fourth.
“Yeah, I’d done it before,” Morgan said. “My first two high school homeruns were in the same game, but I think that’s it.”
And with Bethesda matching in the home half of the inning, the Alexandria continued on the gas.
The fifth inning saw six Aces card base hits. This was highlighted by a Max Romero (Vanderbilt) double bringing in a pair runs, and a Morgan RBI single down the line.
“As a coach its rewarding to see [Morgan] show out and do what he needs to do,” Berset said of second-year Ace. “Those were some pretty swings.”
Connor Campbell (Florence-Darlington Tech), Zach Fruit (Lansing CC), and Hugh O’Hara (GMU) combined on the mound for just four runs on five hits in a six-strikeout effort.
Alexandria pocketed their first win of the summer over perennial powerhouse Bethesda in a comfortable 8-4 fashion.
“Both games were close,” Berset said. “Jared [Lyons] had this big three-run bomb in the first game and it just kind of carried over. We’re playing better fundamental baseball and – like I said – good things are going to happen.”
The club returns to work Tuesday at Frank Mann Field for a 6:30 dual with the Gaithersburg Giants.

Aces win second straight

Aces win second straight game

The Aces got off to a fast start for the second straight game, scoring seven runs in the first two innings en route to a 10-4 win at home against the Braves.

Alexandria mashed 10 hits to score their 10 runs and now have a 2-6 record. The team’s second win started with a solid outing from Tyler Briggs (UConn). Briggs went 5.0 innings, giving up five hits and two runs, while striking out three and walking two.

“Locating the fastball, slider was working well today, too. Swinging the bats early, got some runs, capitalized and that paved the way for the rest of the game,” said Briggs about the keys to Saturday’s game.

T.J. McKenzie (Vanderbilt), Javon Fields (Towson) and Steve Hill (Morehead State) led the way for the Aces offense. The top three hitters combined to go 5-10 with five walks, five runs scored and four RBI.

“They’re making stuff happen,” said head coach Chris Berset about the top of his order.

The Aces made no errors on defense for the first time all season on Saturday night and Berset said that “goose egg” was a goal for his squad.

The bullpen pitched well in relief of Briggs with Noah Short (West Virginia) and Phil D’Ambrosio (Lynchburg) pitching four innings and giving up just two runs on four total hits to finish off the Braves.

Max Romero (Vanderbilt) started his first game for the Aces behind the plate and showed off his arm early, throwing out a potential base-stealer to end the first inning. Romero continued his great night with his first two hits of the summer, including an RBI single in the sixth inning.

Aces are back in action Sunday in Bethesda for a double-header that starts at 4 p.m. Catch all the action on

Aces win first game of the year over the Giants

The Alexandria Aces pocketed their first victory of the summer Friday night in Gaithersburg, Maryland behind a 9-3, besting of the first place Giants.
The Aces awoke offensively cracking 12 base hits in the affair allowing all but two players in the starting lineup to score. They move to 1-6 on the season.
Leadoff hitter TJ McKenzie (Vanderbilt) was a catalyst for the club carding a 3-5 mark at plate for two doubles, three runs, and a walk. The promising youngster has shown improvement quickly.
“I was pretty much just sticking to my approach. Two strikes opened it up, allowed myself to see the ball long, and lay off the curveballs,” McKenzie said. “I’ve been in the cages 24/7 sweating my butt off.”
And to compliment the savvy small-ball approach, Steve Hill (Morehead State) and Daniel Brooks (George Mason) went yard to the alleyways – Hill a solo shot, while Brooks took Johnny Ceccoli (Auburn) around the base path with him.
“He’s got that swagger and brings energy to the game that we were missing to keep the boys loose,” skipper Chris Berset said of Hill. “He’s been very instrumental for us.”
Through just two games with the pinstripes, Hill has gone 5-8 at the plate for a homerun and four RBIs. He’s been clean defensively from the hot corner as well.
Jared Lyons (George Mason) tossed nearly five innings, giving up just four hits and three runs. Recording nine strikeouts, his summer total moves to 16. The rising sophomore was credited postgame with the win advancing his record to 1-0.
The Aces are back at Frank Mann Field Saturday for a 6:30 p.m. showdown with the Braves.

Aces drop a close one to the Braves (Recap)

Aces drop sixth straight to start season

The Aces offense has been much better the last couple of games, but still couldn’t find a way to scrape enough runs together in a 7-5 loss to the Braves on Tuesday.

For the second straight game, the Aces recorded nine base hits, but came up short on the scoreboard.

Will Palinkas started the game and got off to a rough start, walking four out of five batters to start the game. He was able to bounce back to give up just one run in the first and ended up pitching 3.2 innings, while giving up two runs on 2 hits. The righty walked six Braves and struck out another six in an up and down outing.

Stephen Hill (Morehead State), the new offensive addition, went 2-4 with a walk and two RBI in his first game with the Aces.

“It’s nice to show out first day [here],” said Hill.

Hill is still getting acclimated to the team, but likes the guys and got off to a great start in his first game for Alexandria.

The game was close until the late innings when the Braves scored a run in each of the last three innings to take a three-run lead.

The Aces rallied in the ninth with three baserunners, including an RBI double from Hill, but it wasn’t enough to come all the way back and Alexandria fell to the Braves by two runs.

The Aces are off on Wednesday, but they’ll travel to Silver Spring on Thursday for the season’s first meeting between the Aces and T-Bolts.

Aces lose to the Braves (Recap)

Aces drop fourth in a row to start the season

The Aces lost the fourth game of the year to the FCA Braves by a score of 5-0, but it was a promising game as we look ahead.

Seth Marano (Lansing CC) put together a pretty good outing on the mound, tossing 5.0 innings and giving up three runs on six hits, while striking out six Braves. He gave up a run in the first inning, but settled in nicely after that, giving up just two more the rest of the way.

Casey Mayes (Michigan State) was the bright spot for the Aces’ offense in this game, going 3-4 with a pair of doubles. They were his first three hits of the season and each of them were hit hard off his bat. Mayes said a conversation with Head Coach Chris Berset helped his approach at the plate and led to his breakout performance.

“You honestly got to fake it. Tell yourself, I feel good. My swing feels good and at the end of the day, that’s literally all I did,” Mayes said.

Mayes said Berset’s advice helped him mentally while he was struggling and credits his head coach for his breakout against the Braves.

The Braves offense was too much for the Aces in this game, however. Ryan M. Davis and Ryan P. Davis combined to go 6-10 with a home run, three doubles and four runs batted in.

The Aces still only managed five hits in this game, so the bats need to start coming alive for this early season funk to end. With some solid starting pitching and a few more hits, the Aces can start to turn around this 0-4 start.

The Aces will return home on Saturday against Gaithersburg and will look for their first win of the season.

Aces start slow – get downed by Big Train (Recap)

A three-run bomb down the left field line by the Bethesda Big Train catcher Jacob Southern was the first – and only necessary – nail in the coffin at Shirley Povich Field as the Alexandria Aces were held scoreless in an 8-0 defeat.
Ryan Peltier (Ball State) carded the Aces lone hit in the fourth inning by beating out a wild throw in an infield single before taking the extra 90 feet into scoring position. Only three other Aces reached the base path in the form of a Riley Cheek (UNC Charlotte) walk to go along with Daniel Brooks (George Mason) and Erek Bolton (Ball State) who were both hit by pitch.
Dalton Ponce and Jack Weeks were dealing for the Big Train retiring 13 Aces on strikes and downing the final 12 hitters in order.
“Credit to [Dalton Ponce and Jack Weeks], they pitched a great game out there,” Skipper Chris Berset said postgame. “I thought our hitters tried to do a little too much tonight… It’s a learning experience.”
Tyler Briggs (UConn) was tagged with the loss after four innings on the rubber for five hits, an equal number of runs, a pair of walks, and four strikeouts. Hugh O’Hara (George Mason), Adam Schwartz (UConn), Connor Campbell (Florence Darlington-Tech), and Justin Offschanka (UNC Charlotte) came in for relief. The quartet equally split four innings allowing three runs despite five punchouts.
“Our relievers are filling up the strike zone and that’s what we need,” Berset said. “You saw toward the end, they battled and kept us in the game late.”
A Carson Wood (Denison) pinch-hit in the eighth inning led to some defense shifts – Cheek and Peltier holding down the middle infield – turning just the second routine double-play of the year.
Berset alluded postgame to a potential new defensive look for these Aces going forward as a result.
“I talked to coach [Bo Robinson] at Charlotte and he said Riley can play the infield. We checked it out and he made a great turn,” Berset said. “If we’re not executing, we’re not just going to be okay with it. Things are going to change if that’s the product we’re putting out.”
Alexandria is playing ball back in the state of lovers Friday night as they set to do battle with the FCA Herndon Braves – a squad the Aces defeated 7-5 in an exhibition matchup just a week ago. The Aces are still looking to find their identity for this 2019 summer campaign along with their springboard victory.
First pitch from South County High School is set for 7 p.m.

Aces win Suspended Game vs. The RiverDogs

In a continuation from a game that was postponed earlier in the season by rain, the Aces gained a much needed victory against the Loudon Riverdogs on the road by a score of 6-4.

The game picked up where the delay ended, in the top of the fourth inning with the Aces clinging to a 1-0 lead. That was due to an Alec Roberts (UNC-Charlotte) RBI double to score Reid Powers (South Alabama).

The Aces sent Nicholas Sadd (Bucknell) to the mound hoping he could carry the Aces to a victory. He had a rough start in his two innings of work, and allowed the Riverdogs to take a 2-1 lead. Jack Howard (Roanoke College) hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game at one, followed by an Alejandro Aponte (George Mason) RBI single to put the Riverdogs ahead 2-1.

In the fifth inning the Aces bats woke up; Luke Balanger (Radford) smacked an RBI single to score Chris Alleyne (Maryland), which tied the game at two. With Isiah Thomas on first base and Balanger at third, the Aces successfully pulled off a double steal that brought home Balanger, which gave the Aces a 3-2 lead.

Aponte would tie things up at three in the sixth with another RBI single, and he would go on to finish the day with three hits, two RBI’s in four plate appearances. In the seventh inning, Powers hit what looked like a six-four-three double play, but the Mobile, AL native used his southern wheels to run out Aponte’s relay throw to first base safely, which scored Belanger to give the Aces a 4-3 lead. In the top of eighth inning, Alleyne put the game out of reach when he crushed a two-run home run towards the foul pole over the left field fence on a first pitch fastball right down the heart of the plate to extend the Aces lead to 6-3.

The Riverdogs would add another run in the eighth to make the score 6-4, but Dom Massulo (Morehead State) shut the door in the ninth to earn his first save of the season. The bullpen of Richard Hovde (Wayne State), Keegan Foge (Northern Alabam), Matt Moore (Purdue), and Massulo pitched excellent out of the bullpen allowing one run, four strikeouts, but more importantly, not allowing the Riverdogs to gain any momentum in the game.

The Aces will continue their playoff push in a doubleheader against he Baltimore Dodgers at Frank Mann Field tomorrow. First pitch is at 4pm.

Slam by Redbirds drop Aces

Sometimes in baseball, one pitch, one play, one hit, can make the difference in a game. Unfortunately, that occurred for the Aces in their loss to the Baltimore Red Birds at Frank Mann Field on Saturday.

With the score tied at one with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the seventh inning, Aces pitcher Matt Moore (Purdue), in a 1-2 count to Red Birds centerfielder Bo Majkowski (Celemson), hung a slider up in the zone that Majkowski crushed to deep to right-center field to break the game open for the Red Birds. Sometimes, that’s just baseball. That would be the difference in the game as the Aces fell to the Red Birds 7-1.

Leading up to Majkowski’s grand slam was a pitcher’s duel between the Red Birds’ Cole Beavin (East Carolina) and Aces starter Cole Lalonde (Century CC). Beavin pitched well, going five innings with two strikeouts and a walk. Lalonde, on the other hand, pitched the best game of his Aces career thus far, going five innings as well with two strikeouts and having no walks. For a ball player who has had trouble all summer walking multiple hitters in every start, he was ahead against all but one batter he faced tonight. He had his fastball command working, starting almost every count to the opposing Red Birds hitters 0-1. He was able to force the Red Birds to hit ground ball outs and the occasional fly-out all for his defense to make plays. Throughout the game, a viewer could see Cole’s confidence growing on the mound, which was a great outing against the Cal Ripken North Division winners.

Each pitcher allowed one earned run in the fifth inning. In the top of the fifth, Red Birds’ designated hitter Will Harless (Radford) hit an RBI single to score Tim Elko (Ole Miss). In the bottom of the fifth, the Aces tied the game on a solo home run from Aces leader Ethan Cady (East Tennessee State) as he crushed a pitch over 300 feet in left-center field.

The Aces will have an off day on Sunday. Entering the final week of the season, they will make one last push to make the playoffs as they battle the FCA Braves for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Cal Ripken Collegiate League.

Aces fall to the Giants 10-4

After sweeping a doubleheader against the Rockville Express, the Aces fell to the Gathersburg Giants by a score of 10-4.

Wyatt Rush (Lanisng CC) was on the hill for the Aces, looking to repeat his performance against the Big Train; in which he pitched five and a third innings of a seven inning game allowing one run and one hit.

After allowing a run in the first inning, the Giants offensive attack was too powerful to pitch against, as Rush gave up five runs in the top of the second inning, highlighted by a grand slam from the Giants’ Scout Knotts (Shippensburg). Rush was taken out of the game after pithcing two innings giving up eight runs.

While the Aces had RBI’s from Reid Powers (South Alabama), Eric Lansinger (UNC-Charlotte), and Kris Kremer (Penn State) in the following two innings, the score was out of reach for the Aces as the Giants took a commanding lead 9-3 going into the top of the fourth. No action occurred from either team until the Giants and Aces scored runs in the eighth and ninth innings.

Tip your cap to the Giants pitching staff, as starter Travis Kraven (Whitman College) and Nick DeCarlo (Mt Olive College) combined for 11 strikeouts and only three walks. The Giants offense was able to put up 10 runs on 13 hits, maintaining their second place position in the Cal Ripken North Division.

The Aces are still battling for the third and final playoff spot in the Cal Ripken South Division. They will need to bounce back against the Red Birds on Saturday at Frank Mann Field.