Category: News

Grays end Alexandria’s two-game winning streak with 12-4 victory

By Chris Damond

After last week’s 15-3 slaughtering of D.C., Alexandria quickly realized this wasn’t the same team. The Grays walked into Frank Mann Field on Tuesday night and exacted revenge, downing the Aces, 12-4, on a beautiful day at the ballpark.  

“I still thought we battled out there,” manager Chris Berset said. “We had a ton of hard-hit balls right there that found fielders. Sometimes that’s the name of the game. They had some hits in there, they kept the pressure on us, and some of their balls found holes … Baseball’s a big game of breaks.”  

A stark contrast from the last two days’ high-scoring affairs, where the Aces (4-3) scored a combined 32 runs, this game was much less hectic. But like Alexandria’s past two wins, it faced an early deficit, except this time they couldn’t overcome it.  

D.C. (3-4) entered the night on a two-game winning streak and carried that momentum right into Tuesday’s game, hitting a solo home run in the first to set the tone. The Grays tacked on another pair of runs in the third to go up 3-0.  

Alexandria got on the board in the third. Matt Wolfe (Vanderbilt) singled and stole second, before Adam Tellier (Ball State) drove him in. Cade Law, a fellow Vanderbilt commit, hit a homer in the seventh. 

Drew Collins (Oakland) had the only other extra base hit of the game, when his RBI double scored Brendan Harrity (Western Michigan). 

But whenever Alexandria inched closer, D.C. countered. With their lead narrowed to 3-2 in the sixth, the Grays made it 5-2. When the Aces added another pair to make it 5-4, D.C responded with three runs in the eighth. They finished with 13 hits. 

What started as a fast-paced game dragged on in the later innings, as the Aces cycled through pitchers. Nobody could stop D.C.’s offense, though, and it continued to pull away.   

Alexandria had opportunities – they had eight hits on the day – but couldn’t make them count, stranding nine runners. Down 8-4 in the eighth, a single and two walks put Aces on every base. The next batter struck out, though, to end the inning. 

Britt Yount (George Mason), who also pitched against D.C. last week, was tagged with the loss. He gave up three runs in the first three innings but then settled down, pitching two scoreless frames before he was pulled.   

Jake Davidson picked up the win. He allowed three runs and pitched six innings for D.C., which allowed the Grays to use only three pitchers in the game. The Aces, whose bullpen was already tired from Sunday’s four hour, 43-run game, used five.  

Now, Alexandria travels to the Olney Boys and Girls Club tomorrow evening to face the Cropdusters, a team the Aces beat on Opening Day. 

“The message is the same every single day, we’re gonnna play hard, manager Chris Berest said. “We’re gonna swing the bat, we’re gonna find some holes out there, [and] the pitchers gotta throw strikes … we’ll be ready to go up there and have some fun.” 

First pitch is at 5:00 p.m.  

D.C. Grays Alexandria Aces

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Aces look for third straight against D.C.

The Alexandria Aces take on the D.C. Grays at Frank Mann Field tonight. First pitch is at 6:30.

Alexandria has won two in a row after a pair of thrilling games, which included a 23-20 victory over South County and a walk-off win last night versus Silver Spring. The Grays are also hot. After losing the first four games of the year, they are on a two game winning streak after beating the Cropdusters, 10-5, last night. They aren’t the same team that the Aces beat, 15-3, one week ago.

Britt Yount (George Mason) will take the mound for Alexandria, and Jake Davidson gets the start for D.C.

Hollingsworth walks it off for Alexandria to cap a career night against Silver Spring  

By Chris Damond

The man who scored Alexandria’s first run also drove in the winning one. Deadlocked at eight, Thomas Hollingsworth hit a walk-off single to down the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts, 9-8, on a hot and rainy Monday night at Frank Mann Field. The Mississippi native finished three-for-five with a triple and two singles, helping Alexandria (4-2) erase a 4-0 deficit to secure its second straight win. 

The Aces produced another solid offensive performance, registering 10 hits to the Thunderbolts’ seven.  

“We’ve got some guys who are here to work, and we’ve stuck to our approach,” manager Chris Berset said. “It’s a testament to their hard work and we’ve erased some deficits that are big. We don’t want to live there, but it’s definitely nice to get the “W” though.”  

Witnessing all the action were kids from the Fort Hunt Little League. They had the opportunity to take the field, talk to and get autographs from the players and watch some high-quality baseball. Some even tried their hand at announcing in the press box. 

After mustering two hits in the first four frames, a six-run fifth saw Alexandria storm back for the second straight night. Down 4-0, Thomas Hollingsworth (Mississippi Gulf Coast JC) tripled to open the inning and shift the momentum. Brandon Harrity (Western Michigan) followed his example the next at-bat, singling to drive in Hollingsworth for the Aces’ first run. From there, Alexandria blew the game wide open. 

Silver Spring’s Keyshaun Mays, who had stifled the Aces offense through four, was pulled after giving up three more runs to tie the game. Then, Connor Offshack (Elon), who led the team with four RBI on Monday, singled to drive in two more, putting Alexandria up 6-4.   

“That was the spark we needed right there,” manager Chris Berset said when talking about Hollingworth’s triple.  

Hollingsworth led off the sixth with another hit and eventually scored to extend the Aces’ lead to 7-4.    

While the Aces struggled offensively in the beginning, the Thunderbolts scored four runs, highlighted by a two-run homer in the fourth, off Aces’ starter Jacob Hartlaub to go up 4-0. 

Alexandria’s inability to find the zone in the seventh put Silver Spring right back in the game. Six straight at-bats were either a walk or hit by pitch, which helped the Thunderbolts score three runs to knot the contest at seven.  

Connor Offshack  put Alexandria up 8-7 in the eighth after he popped a ball high into the sky. Three Thunderbolt players neared it, but no one made the catch as the ball dropped right between them, bringing in Cade Law from second. 

Dylan Koontz (Campbell), who typically plays at first base, pitched 2.1 solid innings late in the game, throwing four strikeouts. But Silver Spring responded once more in the ninth, leading to cheers from the Thunderbolt dugout, who were vocal all night.  

Another position player pitched in the ninth, as Beck Urofosky took the mound and was tagged with the loss. He walked three straight Alexandria batters and then Hollingsworth finished the job.  

The Aces finish off their two-game homestand tomorrow night, when they face the D.C. Grays, a team they mercy-ruled last week, at Frank Mann Field. First pitch is at 6:30.  

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Aces outduel Braves in crazy 43-run slugfest

By Chris Damond

Fans expecting a normal baseball game at South County High School were massively surprised on Sunday night. In a game that lasted over four hours and featured 43 combined runs, it was anything but ordinary. 

On top of that, the Alexandria Aces crushed five homers and erased two huge deficits – one of eight runs and another of five – to shock the South Country Braves, 23-20, at South County High School in one of the most chaotic Cal Ripken League games of all time. The contest wasn’t short of hits, walks, wild pitches, stolen bases, pitching changes, and passed balls. It even featured an ejection. 

Deadlocked at 20 in the ninth, a wild pitch brought in Cory Taylor from third. Alexandria then added two more runs for insurance to secure the victory. 

After two straight losses, the Aces (3-2) return to the win column. South County (1-3) loses its third consecutive game. 

In the first, JT Carter doubled to bring in a run and give Alexandria an early lead. 

But from there, it was all Braves for the next two innings. Aces’ starting pitcher Sasha Kamensajevic (University of Fraser Valley) and his third-inning replacement, Ryan Osinski (Bucknell), struggled throughout, giving up 10 runs in the first three frames. Bad throws also contributed to South County’s early offensive explosion. Alexandria finished with five errors in the game, and five of those ten Braves’ runs were unearned. By the end of three, the Aces were down 10-2.  

The momentum began to shift in the fourth inning, as the Aces blasted three home runs to bridge the gap. However, the last one was marred by controversy. After Vanderbilt teammates Cade Law and Matt Wolfe each homered to make the deficit 5-10, Eddie Hacopian hit a foul ball that was caught by the catcher. Originally, it was called a good catch, ending the inning and swinging the momentum right back to South County.  

Upon further review, though, the catcher was deemed to have stepped out of play. The call was costly for the Braves, as Hacopian immediately homered to bring in two more runs, which led to South County’s manager getting ejected after he screamed at the umpire in frustration. At the end of four, Alexandria was down 7-10.  

Dylan Koontz’s home run set the tone for the fifth inning, which was followed by two more Alexandria runs to tie the game at 10. The Aces then took a 12-10 lead in the sixth, scoring 10 unanswered runs to do so. 

The Aces’ pitching was superb through the middle innings with Corey Knauf at the mound. But when he was taken out in the sixth, South County had another big inning, as they drew five walks and recorded three hits en route to a seven-run inning to regain the lead, 17-12.  

Alexandria’s resilience was on full display Sunday night, as it staged another comeback. The Aces picked up a pair of runs in the seventh, before scoring six in the eighth to take a 20-17 lead. Michael Eze started things off by hitting the third consecutive double of the inning to bring two runners home. Soon after, Hacopian walked to tie it and Brendan Harrity bolted home on a passed ball to retake the lead, 18-17.  

Once again, South County would not go away. They crossed home plate three times to knot the game at 20, but they didn’t respond after Alexandria scored three runs in the ninth. 

Alexandria begins a two-game homestand tomorrow against the Silver Spring-Takoma T-bolts at Frank Mann Field. First pitch is at 6:30.  

 

 

Aces look to get back in win column against Braves

By Chris Damond

After a heartbreaking loss to the Bethesda Big Train on Saturday night, the Aces have now dropped two straight after winning the first two games of the season. Their opponent tonight, the South County Braves, is in the same boat, beating the Grays to open the year before losing on Friday and Saturday.  

Both teams hope to get back on track when they square off at South County High School on Sunday night. First pitch is at 7:00 p.m.  

For Alexandria (2-2), an 11-4 loss to Gaithersburg and a 2-1 loss to Bethesda, which featured a two-run Big Train rally in the ninth to win it, have the Aces facing adversity for the first time this season. However, Alexandria arguably played the more complete game in both contests, outscoring the Giants 4-1 in the final seven frames and leading the Big Train for most of the night. In both cases, wild pitching led to their downfall. If Alexandria can cut out the careless mistakes, it will be a force to be reckoned with in the Cal Ripken League this year.  

But that’s easier said than done. Much of the responsibility tonight falls on Sasha Kamenjasevic (University of Fraser Valley), who is expected to take the mound for Alexandria. The Canadien needs to be accurate, which is something the Aces’ have struggled with a bit this year. Last night, though, they were solid, particularly starter Alex Walsh (Lafayette), who struck out four batters while allowing just one hit and two walks in four innings. But a bad ninth, which saw Bethesda score two runs off wild pitches, erased all that work.  

On the offensive end, Alexandria excels at drawing walks and baserunning. The Aces are composed in the box and aren’t afraid of long at-bats, as seen Tuesday night against Olney, where Alexandria drew a season-high 13 walks. Last night at Bethesda, Alexandria showed its speed on the base paths, stealing five bases. However, hits have been inconsistent this year, with Alexandria averaging just four in its two losses. More of those, and fewer runners will be left on base. 

The Braves (1-2), on the other hand, are excellent at hitting but are not great at driving those baserunners in. South County registered 10 hits on Friday and still lost 11-4 with 11 runners left on base. Saturday wasn’t much better, as the Braves’ nine hits were not enough to beat Olney.  

Pitching has also been an issue for South County. The Braves let up six runs in the first inning yesterday; however, they didn’t allow a run through the final eight frames. Max Moore, who takes the mound for South County tonight, needs to carry that momentum into Sunday’s matchup.  

The game tonight is crucial for both squads. Alexandria wants to avoid dropping below .500, while South County hopes to shift the trajectory of its season by evading a 1-3 hole.  

Bethesda stuns Alexandria with ninth-inning rally

By Chris Damond

Up 1-0 heading into the final frame, Alexandria could smell victory against the defending champions but ultimately fell short. A two-run Big Train rally stunned the Aces in the bottom of the ninth, as they lost, 2-1, to Bethesda at Shirley Povich Field on Saturday in a game with only three hits. Bethesda (4-0) remains undefeated, while Alexandria (2-2) has now dropped two straight after winning the first two games of the season.  

In a contest with so few hits – Alexandria didn’t get one till the eighth – walks, hit by pitches and defensive mistakes are how both teams scored.  

Bethesda’s ninth-inning rally was started by a walk and a hit by pitch, which put runners on first and second. Bad defense then brought them home. A passed ball advanced the runners, before two wild pitches scored them both. The Big Train didn’t register a hit in the ninth.  

The defense was sloppy on both ends, as the Big Train recorded the only two errors of the game – one of which, along with a handful of other defensive mistakes, directly led to an Aces’ run. After getting walked in the fifth, Michael Eze (Georgetown) stole second. Then, an error by the shortstop put Cory Taylor (Eastern Michigan) on first and moved Eze to third, before a passed ball brought him home moments later to put Alexandria up 1-0. 

It seemed like the Aces would hold on, as Bethesda was not hitting well, and Alexandria’s pitching was solid. Alex Walsh (Lafayette) got the start for the Aces and dominated through four innings, allowing just one hit and zero runs. He also struck out four batters. Besides in the ninth, the Aces’ relief pitchers excelled too, as they let up one hit in the final five frames.  

But the Big Train’s pitching was excellent too, as it had been all year. It took the Aces till the eighth to record their lone hit of the game, when Brendan Harrity (Western Michigan) broke the ice with a single. Alexandria mainly reached base because of walks and fielding errors. And when they did, they capitalized. Alexandria’s baserunning was superb, as it stole five bases throughout the game. Adam Tellier even stole second and third during the same at-bat in the fourth. But without the hits, it wasn’t enough.  

Ryan Brown (Ball State) was tagged with the loss, while Todd Mozoki picked up the win. 

Alexandria returns to action tomorrow against the South County Braves at South County High School. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. 

Aces look to bounce back against undefeated Big Train

By Chris Damond

The last time the Alexandria Aces and Bethesda Big Train met, they were playing for a league championship. Bethesda won in two games, ending a spectacular 2021 campaign for Alexandria that saw them finish second in the regular season standings.  

Ever since the Cal Ripken League began in 2005, Bethesda has been a step above the competition, with 11 regular season titles and nine championships – including the past five. Tonight is the Aces’ chance to exact revenge when they face the undefeated Big Train at Shirley Povich Field at 7:00. Alexandria will also have a chance to bounce back from a tough loss to the Giants. 

Against Gaithersburg, the Aces (2-1) gave up 10 runs in the first two innings. They played well the rest of the game, outscoring the Giants 4-1 in the final seven frames, but it was too late. Alexandria’s starting pitchers have been shaky on the road thus far, with nobody lasting more than three innings. That is mostly due to poor accuracy, and the Aces need to find the zone if they do not want a repeat of Thursday night.  

Alex Walsh, a righty out of Lafayette, is expected to take the mound Saturday night. The Ashburn native was a star at Flint Hill in high school, where he was named to the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference All-Conference Team. This will be Walsh’s first time pitching this season.  

On offense, the Aces have been solid, with a 15-run affair against the D.C. Grays on Wednesday highlighting the year. Eddie Hacopian and Adam Tellier are hitting well, and Jacob Friend’s composure in the box is on another level, drawing three walks against Gaithersburg on Thursday. 

Bethesda, on the other hand, is missing some athletes due to the 2022 NCAA Baseball Tournament. However, they are still 3-0 and tied for first place in the standings with Gaithersburg. The Big Train are coming off a 5-2 win over the D.C. Grays on Friday night. None of Bethesda’s victories have been blowouts this season, but their pitching has been stellar, holding teams to no more than two runs this year. Bethesda has only given up six runs in three games.  

On offense, the Big Train hasn’t been great, especially considering its lofty standards, averaging around 3.5 runs per game. Hopefully, that’ll give Alexandria’s pitching some leeway, but they need to hit well to win.  

It’s an exciting opportunity for the Aces, as they are pitted against the league behemoths for the first time this season. A victory could signal that the tides are turning in the Cal Ripken League.  

Aces drop first game of the season to Giants

By Chris Damond

Gaithersburg scored 10 runs in the first two innings to put the Aces in a hole too deep to dig out of on Thursday night at Criswell Automotive Field. But that didn’t stop Alexandria from trying, as they attempted to mount a comeback before falling, 11-4, to the Gaithersburg Giants on the road for their first loss of the season. 

Alexandria’s pitching was key to its downfall. Ben Koomey (RPI) got the start for the Aces (2-1) and gave up three runs in the first and two more in the second. He could not find the zone, walking four out of 11 batters he faced.  

After scoring 12 runs in the fifth against the Grays last night, Alexandria was on the other end of a high-scoring inning tonight, as it gave up seven runs in the second. Koomey walked two of the first three batters before he was pulled, putting his replacement, Joe Shapiro (Western Michigan), in a tricky situation. Shapiro was more accurate but gave up four earned runs off four hits, including a two-RBI triple. By the end of the second, the Aces were down 10-0.  

From that point forward, Alexandria’s pitching turned a new leaf, as the Giants (2-0) scored just one run the rest of the game. Matt Delano pitched three dominant innings, striking out three while allowing two hits and one unearned run. Jacob Snell, a fellow teammate from Mississippi Gulf Coast, struck out the side in the sixth, before holding Gaithersburg in the seventh. Lastly, Caleb Neal closed out the game with a solid performance.  

Alexandria looked like a different team in the final seven innings, offensively and defensively. When it seemed like the mercy rule would come into effect after they were down by ten, Alexandria responded with a three-run inning. Two walks and an Eddie Hacopian single (Maryland) had the bases loaded for Michael Eze (Georgetown), who drove in two runs with a single. Soon after, he was caught stealing, which allowed Cade Sullivan (Western Michigan) to reach home for another run. 

In the fourth, JT Carter and Qingyang Feng were replaced by Thomas Hollingsworth and Brandon Harrity, which immediately paid dividends. They both singled in back-to-back at-bats early in the inning, and the bases were soon loaded. Adam Tellier drew a walk to score Hollingsworth and narrow the gap to 10-4.  

Alexandria ended up with seven hits, while Gaithersburg racked up 10. Tyler Russo picked up the win for the Giants, while Ben Koomey was tagged with the loss for Alexandria. Eddie Hacopian led the Aces with two hits, and Jacob Friend showed his composure in the box, drawing three walks. 

The Aces have a rest day tomorrow before facing the undefeated Bethesda Big Train at Shirley Povich Field on Saturday night. First pitch is at 7:00.  

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Aces look to continue their winning ways in Gaithersburg

By Chris Damond

Two games, two wins for the Aces. A gutsy performance against Olney in which Alexandria only managed five hits, was followed by an offensive onslaught versus the D.C. Grays last night.  

The Aces scored 12 runs in 17 at-bats in the fifth inning en route to a 15-3 triumph over D.C. in their first road game of the year. Alexandria was so dominant that the mercy rule was enacted, which caused the game to end after seven innings.  

That is something the Gaithersburg Giants, tonight’s opponent, have in common with the Aces. They mercy ruled D.C., 12-0, the night before. Now, these teams look to continue their hot starts when they face each other tonight at Criswell Automotive Field in Gaithersburg. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. 

After drawing 13 walks against Olney on Opening Day, Alexandria (2-0) proved it could hit last night. Cade Law (Vanderbilt), who made his first appearance in the starting lineup against the Grays, set the tone by hitting a two-run homer in the fourth, the Aces’ first of the year. One inning later, with two outs in the fifth, Alexandria racked up hit after hit as it went through 14 batters before D.C. could get the final out.  

However, the Giants (1-0) are much less likely to let that happen. In their home opener against the Grays on Tuesday, they allowed zero runs and four hits, while exploding for 12 runs off 10 hits on the offensive end. Also, Gaithersburg is coming off a rest day after its game versus the Thunderbolts was canceled last night due to weather. This will be Alexandria’s third straight game. 

On the pitching side, Ben Koomey (RPI) is expected to get the start for the Aces. He also started Sunday’s scrimmage against the South County Braves. The Arlington native was a three-year starter at Yorktown High School and recorded a 3-2 record this past season at RPI in nine appearances.  

Koomey will try to reverse a concerning trend for Alexandria these past two games – poor accuracy. Aces pitchers have struggled to find the zone so far this season, with a high number of walks and wild pitches bringing in runs in both of their previous contests.  

Gabe Barrett (San Francisco) will take the mound for Gaithersburg in his first start of the year.  

So far, Alexandria and Gaithersburg are trending in the right direction, and the outcome of this matchup should give a glimpse into just how good these teams really are.  

12-run inning propels Aces past Grays

By Chris Damond:

When the fifth inning started, the Aces led the Grays in a tight 3-2 contest. By the end, the game was all but over. 

17 batters helped 12 runs score for the Aces in the fifth, as Alexandria downed the D.C. Grays, 15-3, at the Washington Nationals Youth Academy on another rainy night to improve to 2-0. The game was suspended early because of the mercy rule, which is enacted if a team leads by ten or more runs after seven innings. This is the second straight contest the rule has been implemented for D.C., as they trailed Bethesda, 12-0, last night.  

Alexandria’s offensive onslaught began with two outs in the fifth, as JT Carter (Coastal Alabama South CC) put the Aces up 5-2 with a two-RBI double. Then the inning turned disastrous for D.C. after a string of hits and walks followed, putting the game increasingly out of reach. It took the Grays 14 batters to finally register an out to end the inning. By then, the damage was done. 

But what ended as a blowout started as a close affair. Through the first four innings, the Aces only led 3-2.  

The Grays were the first on the board in the second inning after a passed ball brought in a D.C. runner from third. Aces’ starting pitcher Britt Yount (George Mason) didn’t let up another run but was still pulled in the third, as he struggled with his accuracy all night, walking six batters in less than three innings.  

Grays’ starting pitcher Kai Cummings (Mt. St. Mary’s) had similar problems, as he walked a handful of batters. He was pulled in the fourth, but not after the Aces had scored three runs off him to take the lead. 

Alexandria equalized in the third when Adam Tellier (Ball State) singled to bring in Eddie Hacopian (Maryland), who doubled in his at-bat. The Aces then took a 3-1 lead in the fourth, as Cade Law (Vanderbilt) hit a two-run shot to right field for Alexandria’s first home run of the year. 

D.C. narrowed the gap in the fourth with a solo home run off Reese Crochet (George Washington). Besides that – and another Grays’ run in the fifth – Alexandria’s closers were strong, stifling D.C.’s offense to ensure the mercy rule would be enforced.  

Next up, Alexandria continues its road stand with a game against the Gaithersburg Giants at Criswell Automotive Field tomorrow night. First pitch is at 7:00 p.m.