Alexandria’s 9/10 Little League All Star Team won the District 4 Championship Friday, only the second time an Alexandria team has won the title. The first was the 12 year-old majors division team in 1999.
Alexandria came into the tournament as overwhelming underdogs to the regional powerhouse Vienna which fields 3 All Star teams. It compiled a 6-1 record along the way beating all 3 Vienna teams.
On Thursday, it triumphed over Vienna American 9-8 with a come-from-behind rally in the bottom of the 6th inning, a staggering achievment as the Little Leaguers were behind 6-2 going into the bottom of the 5th.
They tied the game in the 5th inning, only to give up two runs in the top of the 6th. But the boys showed true grit and determination by mounting an amazing comeback in the bottom of the inning to take the semi-final game and head to the finals.
On Friday night in McLean, Alexandria squared off against the perrenial favorites from Vienna National.
After jumping out to an early 2-0 lead, Alexandria gave up 3 runs to Vienna on two throwing errors by the usually solid Alexandria fielders. But spectacular pitching by Alexandria held Vienna long enough for the boys to mount another amazing comeback.
In the bottom of the 5th, Alexandria got the bats going. A lead-off single got the team rolling. Vienna made their first big error of the game, trying to throw the runner out at first from short right center. The ball went into the Alexandria dugout and the runner was awarded two bases.
The next batter blooped one to the right of second base; the Vienna second baseman and center fielder couldn’t get to it. Tie score. After falling behind 0-2 in the count, our number 3 hitter lined one past first base into right field. With men on 1st and 3rd, still no outs.
A double to the right field gap put Alexandria ahead 5-3. A single tacked on an insurance run to make the score 6-3 going into the top of the 6th.
Alexandria was three outs from claiming an unlikely championship.
After yielding a lead-off walk, Alexandria went to a new pitcher who quickly struck out the next Vienna batter. One out.
Another walk brought the tying run to the plate but the batter went down on strikes. Two outs.
The next batter sat on a flat fast ball and drove it high and far, way back to the wall in left field. For one moment, the Alexandria contingent in the stands held their breath willing the ball to stay in the park. It fell in front of the fence as the left fielder arrived, picked it up and gunned it back to the shortstop who quickly turned and held the remaining runners from scoring. Still two outs, men on 2nd and 3rd. Score 6-4.
In a blur of five pitches the count went to 3-2. But after a final desperate hack against a changeup on the outside corner, the umpire called “strike three!” and the Alexandria All-Stars rushed to the mound to celebrate their championship moment while the fans cheered them on.
Next stop for the Little Leaguers is the State Championship Tournament at Freedom Park in Leesburg, with the first game on Friday night, July 18 at 7 p.m.