By Peter Rainey
July 27, 2023
The Alexandria Aces head out to Bethesda, Maryland, tonight for game two of the Cal Ripken League Championship Series. After a loss in game one yesterday at home, the Aces must win two in a row to be crowned league champions. They’ll look to claim the first of two tonight at Shirley Povich Field at 7:00 p.m.
Game one was an exciting affair for the 277 in attendance yesterday; a combined 34 hits between the two teams led to a four-digit final score of 16-10. The Aces battled back from a 5-0 deficit early to take the lead, but a seven-run top of the fourth from the Big Train put them ahead for good. Big Train’s Jason Schiavone of James Madison University shined brightest on the star-studded night, sending out three home runs and tallying eight RBIs. Big Train’s Dean Toigo of Oregon University tallied four RBIs with a home run of his own.
Aces’ Tim Nicholson of George Washington University highlighted the Aces’ offense, leading the team with three RBIs along with three base hits. A Nicholson triple in the bottom of the first inning initiated the Aces’ comeback in the early going.
“Being a lead-off hitter, I was trying to set the tone there in that first inning, just that we’re not gonna quit.” Nicholson said. “[Game two] will be fun; we’re really excited.”
The Aces were 30-6 in the regular season, and three of their six losses came after clinching the number one seed in the playoffs. Whether it’s a blessing or a curse, adversity has been little to none for the Aces this season; they now find their backs against the wall with a league championship on the line versus the Big Train. Aces head coach Chris Berset is ready to see what his team is really made of.
“Adversity bleeds championships. With all the championships that you want to earn and garner, adversity is going to hit at some point. We haven’t had much this whole year . . . but now is our time,” Berset said. Berset has led the Aces to the League Championship Series in three of his four years at the helm; he’s in search of his second championship title.
The League Championship Series continues tonight in Bethesda with game two of the best-of-three set. Again, the first pitch from Big Train’s Shirley Povich Field is set for 7:00 p.m.