Category: News

Aces Playoff Preview

By Peter Rainey

July 23, 2023

The Alexandria Aces concluded a historic regular season Friday in the Cal Ripken Senior Collegiate Summer League; finishing with a record of 30 wins and six losses, the Aces set a franchise record for regular season wins and secured the league’s number one seed for postseason play. The team is set to embark on their playoff run tonight with the opening game of the League Semifinal Series at 6:30 p.m. from their home Frank Mann Field, where they will meet the number five seed Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts.

After a home loss to the Bethesda Big Train on June 15, the Aces went on a near month-long tear, racking up 17 consecutive wins—they would not lose again until June 13 on the road versus the Southern Maryland Senators. Prior to their loss at the Senators, the Aces were 24-2, good for a staggering 92.3 win percentage at the time. While the back end of the regular season saw momentum slow with the Aces, finishing 6-4 in their last ten, the team locked up the regular season championship by a wide margin—the second-place Bethesda Big Train finished their regular season at 23-13, a whole seven games behind the Aces.

“It’s huge (getting the number one seed). We get to play in front of our home crowd now . . .  We’re going to keep playing hard and keep playing good baseball, as we have all year long,” Aces’ Matt Ossenfort of Vanderbilt University said. Ossenfort, now officially the home run king of the Cal Ripken League, tallied a league-high eight home runs during the regular season.

The Aces swept the season series against the T-Bolts 4-0, but down the stretch of the season, the cobalt-blue squad out of Silver Spring, Maryland has proven to be no pushover. The T-Bolts have climbed out of the league basement and into the playoff ranks, and they are peaking at the perfect time. After a 2-11 start to the season, the Thunderbolts responded with a five-game winning streak and a stretch of eight wins in 12 games. Following the 2-11 slump to open the season, the T-Bolts have since tallied a winning 13-11 record; now, they’ve earned a meeting with the Aces in the League Semifinal Series.

Four T-Bolts’ batters average over .300 from the plate: Beck Urofsky (.340 AVG, Cornell University), Zane Gross (.338 AVG, Barry University), Matthew Sicoli (.337 AVG, Emory University), and Quincy Via (.304 AVG, Marymount University); of the four mentioned, two were named Cal Ripken League All-Stars—Gross and Urofsky.

The most exciting of the four regular season meetings between the T-Bolts and Aces was far and away an extra-innings affair at Blair Stadium on June 14th; a ten-inning, 9-6 victory for the Aces saw tempers fly as T-Bolts head coach Brock Hunter was ejected during an Aces rally in the top of the 10th. T-Bolts’ Amani Jones, another Cal Ripken League All-Star, led the team in hits with three in five at-bats that night. Jones’ success against the Aces is worth noting—he’s recorded a base hit in all but one of the four meetings between the two teams this year.

The Aces will feature a new weapon this time around against the Thunderbolts in the form of Outfielder Amani Allen, a Chipola University commit out of Washington, D.C. Jones stepped away from the team for roughly a month to focus on garnering feedback during this year’s MLB Draft; he returned to the Aces on July 12th in a win versus the D.C. Grays, and came up big in a 3-2 victory at the Bethesda Big Train with a go-ahead two-RBI double July 18th.

“It’s really like a family here,” Allen said. “They bring everybody in, and it’s always fun playing here.”

There’s a lot to be excited about as we arrive at playoff baseball, as said best by Aces’ Assistant Coach Jen Hammond: “Aces fans are in for a real treat. While we’ve been fortunate to have had some really strong teams, especially the championship squad from last year, this team has been historically dominant and has already accomplished so much. I’m most impressed by different guys stepping up over the course of the season—the regular season championship was truly a collective effort.” Hammond stepped in for head coach Chris Berset in a 14-6 win at the Gaithersburg Giants Thursday, becoming the first woman to manage a game in the Cal Ripken League.

“I’m honored to be the first woman to break this barrier, but I very much hope not to be the last,” Hammond said. “I hope others will earn similar opportunities and that you’ll see more women on the field [and] in the dugout in the seasons to come.”

The first pitch from Frank Mann Field tonight is slated for 6:30 p.m., the opening game of a best-of-three series with the Thunderbolts to decide who will advance to the League Championship Series.

Aces Defeat Grays, the Magic Number is Four for the Number One Seed

By Peter Rainey

June 13, 2023

For a second consecutive meeting, the Alexandria Aces (24-2) found themselves having to erase a sizable early deficit versus the D.C. Grays. The Grays, a gutsy South Division rival led by first-year head coach Maurice Bankston, showcased out of the gate that they would not back down to anyone. The Grays loaded the bases with just one out in the top of the first inning, and they would score three runs before the side was retired. Up against a 3-0 deficit with their first chance on the bats, the Aces brought across two runs of their own, courtesy of RBIs from Cory Taylor of Eastern Michigan University and Jonah Oster of Campbell University. 

“I was just trying to simplify things and hit the ball somewhere hard,” Oster said. Oster would go on to tally a team-high three RBIs in last night’s win.

The Grays continued throwing haymakers offensively in the second inning, loading the bases again and this time with no outs; however, only one run came across to score before the side was retired—a blown opportunity for the Grays that would go on to define the outcome of the game. In the bottom half of the inning, the Aces’ offense came through with a five-run rally to put Alexandria ahead for good. After 11 runs were scored in the first two innings, relief pitching stepped in and slowed down the bats on both sides; only three more runs would be scored the rest of the game—two more by the Aces—to book the final score at 9-5. Aces’ reliever Brent Herrmann of Allegheny Community College tallied a relief win last night; he stepped into the game in the third inning and tossed for three full and no earned runs.

“[Herrmann] gave us the zeroes that we desperately needed up there (on the scoreboard) to kinda shut down their offense a little bit,” Aces head coach Chris Berset said. “For him to step in there and shut the door is fantastic.”

The Aces are now just four wins shy of clinching the number one seed in the Cal Ripken League Playoffs (see the article below for more explanation as to what that would mean)—they have nine tries to collect those four. First, they return to action tonight on the road against another in-division foe, the Southern Maryland Senators—at 12-18 on the season, the Senators currently hold second place in the division. The first pitch from Regency Furniture Stadium is set for 7:00 P.M.

Aces Sweep Home Double-Header vs. Cropdusters

By Peter Rainey

The Cal Ripken League-leading Alexandria Aces (20-2) entered Saturday night on an 11 game winning streak. After consecutive rainouts, the team returned to action, facing arguably their greatest test yet—a double-header versus the third-place Olney Cropdusters (15-10). With any double-header, especially in the evening, it’s easy to let focus slip and settle for a split, but after taking game one with a 5-1 final, the Aces kept their foot fully on the gas, matching their run total from game one in the first inning of game two, jumping out to a healthy 5-0 lead, which they would not relinquish. The Aces swept the two-game set versus the Cropdusters, and the win streak is now at 13.

“Any time you can win two in a double-header, it’s pretty special,” Aces head coach Chris Berset said. “It’s especially hard to do against such a great team in [the] Olney [Cropdusters].”

Combining both games, Aces’ Nick Gregory of Ball State University led all hitters with 4 RBIs. 

“I’ve been struggling a little bit lately; in the first half of the season, I was just trying to find something I could handle,” Gregory said. “A couple things went my way [last night] . . . I put some good swings on it, and after that, you can’t really do anything about it.” Gregory recorded hits in four of his six at-bats of the evening.

The Aces’ starting pitching proved stellar in both games; the Seton Hall tandem of Anthony Ehly and Ryan Reich combined for nine innings and no earned runs across both games. Reich, the game two starter, dealt five innings without surrendering a hit; he also tallied nine strikeouts.

“The offense really helped me out . . . putting up five in the first inning . . . it made me comfortable on the mound,” Reich said. “We’ve all been working really hard, and it’s showing.” Reich was relieved in the sixth inning, and the no-hitter at hand was broken up two innings shy of the finish line—double-headers in the Cal Ripken League play only seven innings.

“It was not [my decision to exit the game], but it was the right decision,” Reich said.

The Aces return to action tomorrow night with an away matchup versus the Metro South County Braves (10-16). Tonight, the Aces were slated to send 15 players, a league-high, to Olney, Maryland, for the Cal Ripken League All-Star Game—unfortunately, tonight’s game has been canceled due to thunderstorms.

“These kids deserve [to be named All-Stars],” Berset said. “I’m really, really proud of them. I’m proud of their effort, and everything they do.”

The Aces’ 15 honorees are listed below in alphabetical order:

Sam Belliveau, Pitcher — Davidson — 2.31 ERA

Anthony Ehly, Pitcher — Seton Hall — 4-0, 2.88 ERA, 28 SO

Michael Gillen, Pitcher — Seton Hall — 3-0, 3 SV, 3.00 ERA

RJ Hamilton, Infielder — Vanderbilt — .289 AVG, 1 HR, 11 RBI

Ethan Houghtaling, Pitcher — Western Michigan — 2-0, 3.60 ERA, 26 SO

Cameron Keshock, Pitcher — Auburn — 1 SV, 1.92 ERA

Thomas Lamar, Pitcher — Lehigh — 2-0, 2.63 ERA

Gavin Miller, Infielder — Auburn — .289 AVG, 17 RBI

Tim Nicholson, Catcher — George Washington — .358 AVG, 14 RBI

Matt Ossenfort, Infielder — Vanderbilt — .328 AVG, 5 HR, 23 RBI

Jonah Oster, Infielder — Campbell — .314 AVG, 16 RBI

Ryan Reich, Pitcher — Seton Hall — 3-0, 2.59 ERA, 33 SO

Cory Taylor, Infielder — Eastern Michigan — .364 AVG, 4 HR, 17 RBI

Alex Wade, Outfielder — Auburn — .263 AVG, 15 RBI

Asa Wilson, Catcher — Pennsylvania — .273 AVG

Aces’ Matt Ossenfort Walks-Off For Aces Tenth Straight Win

By Peter Rainey

For a second time in a week, the Alexandria Aces (17-2) erased a five-run deficit and walked away with a home victory at Frank Mann Field. After falling behind 7-2 in the third inning, the Aces stormed back—most notably with a four-run fifth—eventually retaking the lead 9-7 in the bottom of the seventh. In face of the deficit, Aces’ reliever Brent Herrmann of Allegheny College dealt through two and a half innings for no earned runs, stalling the Grays’ offense and giving the Aces’ bats an opportunity to chip away.

“That’s the life of a reliever,” Herrmann said. “You come into a game down, but then come back—you know, that’s the rollercoaster of a baseball game.”

Even after surrendering their sizable lead, the visiting D.C. Grays (8-15) continued to battle—a very gutsy team led by first-year head coach Maurice Bankston. In the top of the eighth inning, Grays’ Myles Sergeant of the University of Maine sent out a game-tying two-run homer over left field, evening the score at nine. The Aces were blanked in the bottom frame, setting up a fresh ballgame in the ninth.

The Aces turned to their most reliable closer, Michael Gillen of Seton Hall University, who sports a team-high three saves. Gillen entered and, as always, delivered efficient work in the clutch, retiring the Grays scoreless with three strikeouts and setting up the Aces’ offense with a premier opportunity to walk it off.

“Just had to go out, attack the hitters, get the boys back in the dugout, and let them do their thing,” Gillen said. “It’s fun pitching out there when you have such a good lineup on the sheet every morning.” Gillen would go on to be named the night’s winning pitcher, his third win of the season—all in relief.

Less than a week ago, Vanderbilt commit RJ Hamilton crushed a three-run walk-off homer into the trees over left field, capping off a 9-6 extra innings victory over the Gaithersburg Giants (8-14). Last night, the Aces’ hero came in the form of another Vandy commit, rising freshman Matt Ossenfort. With no one on and one out in the bottom of the ninth, Ossenfort looked at a first-pitch ball before sending out a 330+ foot bomb over right field to win the game on the second pitch of the at-bat. Ossenfort leads the team with five home runs on the season.

“The approach was to stay short and get on base; we needed it going into a tie game,” Ossenfort said. “I got a pitch that was absolutely hung and just turned on it.”

Aces head coach Chris Berset offers Commodore fans a glimpse into the talent they can look forward to next season: “[Vanderbilt] has got two special kids right there (Hamilton and Ossenfort), really, really special kids who live in the moment . . . [Ossenfort] is the hardest worker, and for these guys to get rewarded is awesome,” Berset said.

The Aces will enjoy Independence Day with an ongoing ten-game winning streak before returning to action tomorrow night at home against the Southern Maryland Senators (9-14). The first pitch from The Frank is slated for 6:30 PM.

“We have to clean up some of our ball,” Berset said. “[Last night] was a really sloppy game, and the Grays really deserved to win that ballgame . . . but finding ways to win shows character.”

RJ Hamilton Heroics Cap-Off Aces Comeback Win

By Peter Rainey

The Alexandria Aces (14-2) returned to Cal Ripken League play last night after a two-day hiatus, meeting a cross-division foe in the Gaithersburg Giants (6-11). The Aces, riding a six-game winning streak into last night’s game, ate an early gut punch as the Giants’ bats drove four runs across in a second-inning rally. An inning later, the deficit grew to 5-0. Alexandria was playing in front of a great turnout at Frank Mann Field; 180 paid fans were on register for last night’s ballgame, but easily over 200 were in attendance as little leaguers entered for free due to the franchise’s collaboration with the local Fort Hunt Little League. With families enjoying an evening of Aces baseball, Gaithersburg appeared more than poised to play the role of spoiler.

That all changed in the bottom of the fourth inning. Opened by an RBI sacrifice fly from Tim Nicholson of George Washington University, the Aces would rally for a four-run inning of their own, bringing the game back within reach at 5-4. Aces’ Jonah Oster of Campbell University clutched a two-RBI single with two outs down.

“I was just trying to find pitches I could handle,” Oster said. “My first couple of at-bats, I was swinging at bad pitches, so I was really trying to find pitches in the zone that I could handle and get the job done.”

With both starters out of the game by the fifth inning, the game evolved into a battle of the bullpens—a pitcher’s duel with two very different approaches. The Giants stuck through until the ninth inning with just one reliever, Jackson Bauer of Catonsville CC. Bauer dealt masterfully, surrendering just two hits and no earned runs through four and a half innings of work. The Aces, on the other hand, utilized the arms of five different relievers down the stretch. A reliever tandem of Tucker Narkinsky of Tallahassee CC and Josh Rivera of UMBC combined to retire 12 straight Giants batters, cruising the Aces defense through the backstretch of the game before being relieved in the ninth inning. After exchanging four-run rallies in the early going of the game, both offenses had run dry. By the ninth inning, the game remained a 5-4 deficit for the Aces.

The first team to break ice in the ninth were the Gaithersburg Giants, who brought across one run of insurance on an RBI fielder’s choice hit by Kazuya Jordan of Virginia Military Institute. Arriving in the bottom of the ninth, the Aces trailed by two, 6-4. Aces’ lead-off man Tim Nicholson got aboard with a dribbler through the infield, and the Aces’ home crowd began to come alive. Two batters later, Gavin Miller of Auburn University pulled a line drive fair of the left field foul line for a double, advancing Nicholson to third and putting the tying run, himself, in scoring position. Next up, Aces’ Jonah Oster. Oster entered the batter’s box and laid good contact with back-to-back baseballs, the first falling just foul and the second landing fair. His second two-RBI single of the night brought Nicholson and Miller home, tying the game at 6-6. Oster would go on to steal second and enter scoring position, but the side was retired before he could do more—extra innings forced.

In the top of the tenth, the Aces turned to Michael Gillen, a rising sophomore out of Seton Hall. Gillen answered the call terrifically, retiring the Giants swiftly in three batters. Gillen would go on to be named the night’s winning pitcher—his first win of the season to go along with two saves.

With a chance to win it in the bottom frame of the tenth, the Aces went down two outs with no men on base. A single from Aces’ Nick Gregory of Ball State University gave the offense life, putting the winning run aboard. Following his act, Tim Nicholson grounded what should have been a routine inning-ending out to shortstop, but a critical E-6 put the throw to first in the dirt, and Nicholson advanced safely. With two on and two out, Aces’ RJ Hamilton, a Vanderbilt commit out of Hoover, Alabama, approached the plate with his head bobbing to “Russian Creme” by Key Glock—his coined walk-up song. Cool, calm, and collected, RJ crushed the first pitch he saw, sending a walk-off moon shot into the night over left field, a three-run home run.

“It feels so good that my work in the lab is all coming out to fruition,” Hamilton said. “It was a really good moment for me and my teammates . . . it’s special having the Alexandria community come out and support this team.”

Aces head coach Chris Berset offered high praise for Hamilton in the aftermath of the game: “What a special kid, very respectable young man; just credit to his parents for raising him so well. Vandy is getting a special one,” Berset said.

The Aces, now with their win streak extended to seven, will look to settle down from last night’s high before locking in for a road double-header this afternoon at the Olney Cropdusters. The Cropdusters, despite coming in off a loss last night against the Silver Spring Thunderbolts (5-11), lead the Northern Division with a 13-5 record. The Cropdusters gave the Aces their first loss of the new season on June 11th, a 6-4 defeat.

“We have a great team [today] that we’re playing in the Cropdusters,” Berset said. “Day in, day out, it’s a little bit of a grind.”

The Aces face a four-game road trip through Saturday before returning for an extended home stand, with games at the Frank July 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 8th.

“We are looking forward to a well-attended home stand,” Aces Team President Frank Fannon said.

The Alexandria Aces Celebrate 17 Years With a 15-5 Win Over The South County Braves

By Peter Rainey

The Alexandria Aces (8-2) celebrated the 17th anniversary of their inception last night with a 15-5 victory over the visiting Metro South County Braves (4-7) at Frank Mann Field. Team co-founder Patrick Malone threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the ballgame.

“I see this program growing every year,” Malone said. “Chris Berset (head coach) has got a good program with the Aces. What he’s done [with] Jen Hammond (assistant coach), and then coach [Chris] Rooney (assistant coach); the three of them are a good core that we got here.”

The Aces bounced back in a big way offensively with last night’s victory, bringing across 15 runs just a night after being shut out by the rival Bethesda Big Train (10-2). Aces’ Tim Nicholson of George Washington University headlined the rallying Aces, adding five RBIs, highlighted by a three-RBI double that cleared loaded bases in the fifth inning.

“We have guys all around, so it’s really fun to hit in front of guys that are going to Vanderbilt and Auburn. I just kind of put good swings on, and guys happened to be on base,” Nicholson said. He’s set to enter his junior season with the Colonials next year.

A pair of Allegheny College standouts earned the pitching honors of last night’s victory: Aces’ Brent Herrmann tallied a relief win after pitching the Aces out of two innings with no earned runs; his teammate Mark Schweickert finished the job by dealing a scoreless ninth inning to earn the save.

“I had to come out and revive my team a little; you know, just had a flame lit under my butt again.” Herrmann said, boasting his effectiveness in getting the Aces out of a 4th inning jam where he was called to service. Herrmann now carries an impressive 1.92 ERA through three mound appearances for the Aces.

The Aces are back in action this afternoon on the road versus the Gaithersburg Giants (4-6), a team they shut out just five nights ago on home dirt. Ryan Edmonds of George Mason University will make the start for the Aces.

“[Edmonds] threw fantastic for us against the Cropdusters last time, so I’m really excited to see him,” Aces head coach Chris Berset said. Edmonds tossed five full innings in his start last week versus the Cropdusters; today will be his second appearance. First pitch for tonight’s ballgame is set for 4:00 PM at Kelley Park.

Champions Return: The Alexandria Aces 2023 Opening Night

By Peter Rainey

The Alexandria Aces open their 2023 regular season in the Cal Ripken Senior Collegiate Baseball League tonight at 6:30 PM versus the Silver Spring Thunderbolts. The Aces, led by head coach Chris Berset, enter their 2023 campaign as the league’s defending champions; the team swept the postseason last year with 2-0 series wins in the league semifinals and championship.

“There may be some teams coming for us … They always want to knock off the champ,” said Berset. “These boys are excited for that … With basically a whole new squad, nothing changes in our goal to develop and set the expectation of a championship-caliber team.” Berset is set to begin his fourth season at the helm of the Aces; as aforementioned, he led the team to a league championship in 2022.

Opening the season on the mound for the Aces is Seton Hall standout Anthony Ehly. Ehly, a rising sophomore, tossed for an impressive 2.53 ERA in nine appearances with the Pirates this season, including four saves.

“Looking to attack the hitters, be competitive, and play to win,” Ehly said.

The Aces will open the season tonight on home turf at Frank Mann Field. The ticket booth opens at 5:30 PM ($5 entry), with pre-game festivities beginning at 6:00 PM prior to a 6:30 PM first pitch. Can’t make it in person? Follow the team’s live online broadcast at

History in Alexandria. Aces derail Big Train for first championship.

By Chris Damond

Alexandria is now the city of champions. After securing the regular season title last week, the first-seeded Alexandria Aces downed the second-seeded Bethesda Big Train, 5-3, on Saturday night at Shirley Povich Field to win the Cal Ripken League Championship for the first time in team history.  

Alexandria swept Bethesda, 2-0, in the best-of-three series and stopped them from winning its sixth consecutive title. The Aces went a perfect 4-0 in the playoffs on their way to victory.  

Both teams went back and forth for much of the night until the ninth inning, when tied at 3, the Aces broke through with two runs to put the game away. 

Dylan Koontz (Campbell) led off the ninth with a walk, advancing to second on CJ Boyd’s (Appalachian State) groundout in the next at-bat. Then, on his steal attempt, the Big Train committed one of their three costly errors on the night. Catcher Baylor Cobb missed the throw to third, bringing Koontz home for the go-ahead run.  

Moments later, Cade Sullivan (Western Michigan) launched a solo homer and was mobbed by his teammates after trotting the bases. It was Sullivan’s third home run of the playoffs. A thunderous “Let’s Go Aces” chant followed by the Alexandria faithful and, for a second, it seemed like everyone was back at Frank Mann Field. 

All-star Ryan Brown closed out the game with a quick 1-2-3 inning. After his strikeout to retire the side, the Aces – along with staff, family and more – rushed the field to celebrate.   

“It feels unbelievable. I can’t even put it into words,” series MVP Eddie Hacopian (Maryland) said. “We just came out there, and out dogged them from start to finish. That was our motto all year – just dogs being dogs.”  

The Potomac, Maryland, native was just minutes away from his hometown when the Aces won the championship in Bethesda at Shirley Povich Field.  

On whether that added any additional meaning to the victory, Hacopian said, “I’d be lying if I said it didn’t, but anywhere I could win it with this group of guys is really awesome.”  

Hacopian, the Aces leadoff hitter, recorded four hits in the series and scored the first run on Saturday after Adam Tellier (Ball State) smacked a double that bounced off the center field wall in the third.  

Starting pitcher Sasha Kamenjasevic, one of two Canadiens on the team, pitched three scoreless innings. But Bethesda still had several baserunners early on, and after Kamenjasevic allowed a leadoff single in the fourth, fellow Canadien and University of Fraser Valley teammate, Josh Berenbaum, entered the game and retired three straight batters.  

The Aces held a 1-0 lead until the fifth, when Bethesda plated two runs to go ahead. Alexandria equalized in the sixth thanks to Connor Offshack’s (Elon) RBI single, but the Big Train scored once more in the bottom half of the inning to take a 3-2 lead.  

With two outs in the seventh, Koontz lofted a ball that curved towards the left-field line for a triple. Boyd hit a grounder right to the shortstop in the next at-bat, but the first baseman dropped the ball, which took a short hop, allowing Koontz to come home and tie the game.  

Boyd, who started the game in left field, then pitched a shutout eighth inning that ended in a double play. 

In 2021, the Aces made the championship but were swept by Bethesda. This year, celebrating their 15th season in the league, they finally broke through.  

Alexandria Aces


Aces 5 8 2
Big Train 3 6 3

Bethesda Big Train


Aces take Game 1 of the LCS Championship against the Big Train.

By Chris Damond

Frank Mann Field was packed on Friday night for Game 1 of the LCS Championship. 360 Aces and Big Train fans flooded the bleachers, stood by the fences and cheered until their voices were hoarse as the action unfolded.  

In perhaps the biggest game the Alexandria Aces have ever played, they outslugged the Bethesda Big Train, 8-6, to win Game 1 of the LCS Championship. First-seeded Alexandria now leads the second-seeded Big Train in the best-of-three series, 1-0.  

“It was really just a team effort, Adam Tellier (Ball State), who had a team-high three RBI, said. “From pitching to defense to hitting, we were able to come together and put one together for us.”  

The Aces were hot early, building an 8-2 lead through six innings. Tellier, Alexandria’s regular season leader in batting average and hits, blew the game open with his two-run homer to left field in the fourth, putting the Aces up 4-0.  

“At that moment, I was just trying to do whatever it took to get the win,” Tellier said about his home run. 

While Alexandria built a lead, starting pitcher Matt DeLano (MGCCC) kept Bethesda at bay. He pitched five scoreless innings and allowed just two hits on his way to picking up the win.  

DeLano showcased his strong arm on Friday night with both his pitches and pickoff attempts. In the fourth, he spectacularly threw out a runner at second. The Mississippi native faced several runners in scoring position throughout the game, but he stayed calm and got out of the jams.  

“Every time I go out there, [I’m] making sure [I’m] focusing, getting ahead in the counts, and putting batters away,” DeLano said pre-game. He certainly did that on Friday.  

As if their four-run lead wasn’t enough, Alexandria doubled its tally in the sixth to energize the crowd even more. Leadoff hitter Eddie Hacopian (Maryland) got the party started, as his grounder was thrown over the head of the Bethesda first baseman, allowing Brendan Harrity (Western Michigan) to score from first. It was one of the Big Train’s two errors in the game. 

Tellier doubled to plate Hacopian in the next at-bat, before stealing third and scoring off a wild pitch. Dylan Koontz (Campbell) walked right after and eventually came home after another wild pitch.  

But the Big Train, winners of the past five LCS Championships, would not go away quietly. As the rain started to come down, they turned it on with a four-run inning of their own in the seventh, scoring all their runs with two outs.  

In the eighth, they threatened once more with runners on first and second. Alexandria native Ryan Osinski (Bucknell) retired the side, though, as Bethesda hit a grounder that Connor Offshack (Elon) fielded before tapping third base to end the inning. 

Osinski closed out the game in the ninth with a quick 1-2-3 inning. He picked up the save.  

Both teams had eight hits.  

Alexandria is now one win away from its first championship in team history. Last season, they finally broke through and made the finals but were swept by the Big Train. This year is different. The Aces won the regular season title for the first time ever last week, picking up the number one seed in the playoffs and securing home field advantage. They held onto it tonight.   

The Aces will try to win the title tomorrow at Shirley Povich Field in Game 2 of the LCS Championship. First pitch is at 7:00 p.m.  

Bethesda Big Train


Big Train 6 8 2
Aces 8 8 3

Alexandria Aces


Aces advance to LCS Championship for second consecutive year after eliminating Metropolitan

By Chris Damond

The Alexandria Aces are headed to the LCS Championship for the second consecutive year, and they did it by smacking four home runs in a 12-4 rout of the Metropolitan Braves at South County High School on Wednesday night.  

Alexandria’s victory in Game 2 of the LCS Semifinals gave them a 2-0 sweep against Metropolitan in the best-of-three series.  

In typical Aces fashion, they started off slow, before exploding for 10 runs in the final four frames to put the game away.  

At the center of Alexandria’s offense were Western Michigan teammates Cade Sullivan and Brendan Harrity. Sullivan put the Aces on the board with his solo homer in the second and then had another in the seventh.  

Harrity had three doubles in his four at-bats, including one that took a wonky bounce off first base that plated two runs in the eighth. He finished with a team-high three RBI.  

With a 5’10” and 170-pound frame, Harrity isn’t the biggest guy on the team, but his technique makes up for it. 

“[Just] keeping short to the ball, letting it get deep and letting it catch the barrel,” Harrity said on how he hits for power.  

The second baseman is batting .500 throughout the playoffs. Only two Aces have higher averages – Eddie Hacopian (.600) and Cade Law (1.000), who entered the game late and blasted a homer that bounced off the scoreboard in the ninth.  

But before the offensive onslaught, Metropolitan scored three quick runs off starting pitcher Britt Yount (George Mason) in the first, taking a lead that would hold for five more innings.  

The turning point came in the sixth with the Braves hanging on to a 3-2 lead. Connor Offshack (Elon) ripped a two-run shot that he watched soar over the left field wall before dramatically flipping his bat and trotting around the bases. The homer put Alexandria ahead 4-3.  

Alexandria native and Alexandria City High School graduate Reese Crochet (George Washington) replaced Yount in the sixth and picked up the win. He pitched two innings of one-run baseball. Brody Valentine (Salve Regina) and Josh Berenbaum (U Fraser Valley) closed out the game in the eighth and ninth, respectively.  

Nick Frazier was tagged with the loss. Alexandria drilled 13 hits compared to the Braves’ seven. It was a great bounce-back game for the Cal Ripken League’s number one offense, who were held to a measly four runs the day before.  

Now, the first-seeded Aces will face the second-seeded Bethesda Big Train, winners of the past five titles, in the LCS Championship. 

 Last season, Bethesda swept Alexandria in the best-of-three series, but the Aces are riding a high after clinching their first regular season title in team history, which gives them home field advantage in the championship. That bodes well for Alexandria, who haven’t lost at home since June 21.  

“We’re just gonna keep playing our game, keep playing aggressive and loose,” Harrity said. 

Game 1 is Friday at Frank Mann Field. First pitch is at 6:30.  

Alexandria Aces


Aces 12 13 1
Braves 4 7 2

South County Braves