Aces Lose Playoff Hand
Coming up on the short end of an 11-4 score, the Alexandria Aces bowed out of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Collegiate Baseball League Playoffs, ending the regular season with an overall record of 18-24. The fifth-seeded Aces were upset at Four Mile Run Park by the eighth-seeded Maryland Redbirds on July 29, in what amounted to a quarter-finals contest versus the teams.
After winning four of their final five regular season contests, Alexandria was not able to take control in what was arguably their most important game of the season.
Despite the setback, head coach and manager Eric Williams was still positive about the overall season. We did our best at drafting players. None of us really knew what to expect in this our inaugural season. It was great that our entire coaching staff was able to develop positive relationships with all of our players, he said.
It has really been great, Alexandria Aces President Pat Malone said. The fans have turned out and the volunteers have really been great. Alexandria is a special place. I totally expect us to be back here for the 2009 season and hopefully we can build [on what weve done in 2008].
Alexandria placed third of eight teams in the league in attendance this season, fifth overall in the regular season standings.
The Sleepy Thompson Summer League, named after one of the Saints most decorated head coaches/athletic directors, witnessed its southernmost member crowned as 2008 Champion, when C.D. Hylton High School (Prince William County) defeated Annandale High School (Fairfax County) 63-61 on August 1 for this seasons title.
Of the 13 schools that participated, four (St. Stephens/St. Agnes, Edison, Hayfield and Bishop Ireton) are from the greater Alexandria area. League director and SSSA head coach Kevin McLinton observed: It was a chance for the teams to work on their game and to develop chemistry, especially with the younger players.
Of the nine schools in the Alexandria area, five qualified for the playoffs in 2007. The Edison Eagles, coached by veteran Vaughn Lewis, finished the 07 season as Northern Region Division V Runners-ups. The Red, White and Blue Eagles finished the regular season 8-2 overall and went on to win their respective Northern Region quarter-final and semi-final contest.
In the heavyweight Northern Region Championship Contest, Edison fell to perennial powerhouse Stone Bridge (Loudoun County).
Edison H.S. will inaugurate the 2008 season when it hosts Robert E. Lee on August 28.
Tony Verduccis coaching propelled the Ireton Cardinals to end their 07 campaign with a solid 9-3 overall record, one of only a handful of winning seasons in Iretons 41 seasons. After finishing the regular season 8-2, the Cardinals defeated Flint Hill in the Virgnia Independent Schools semi-final contest, before travelling to Lynchburg. In the 07 VIS Title Game, the Cardinals were dispatched by powerhouse Lynchburg Christian.
On August 30, the Cardinal and Gold will open up the 08 season with a trip to the Nations Capital to square off with the Carroll Lions.
Ireton competes as an independent in football; in all other sports the Cardinals are members of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.
The West Potomac Wolverines, coached by veteran Eric Henderson, catapulted their 07 campaign to a playoff berth in the Northern Region Division VI bracket. West Potomac has enjoyed success over the past decade-plus under former head coaches Dale Eaton, John Howerton and now Eric Henderson, in his fifth season. The Wolverines will begin their 08 season when they travel to Centreville on August 29.
The St. Stephens/St. Agnes Saints, coached by veteran Dave Holm, started their 07 campaign 4-0, and finished the regular season 6-3.
The Saints advanced to the VIS semi-final round, where they had the unenviable task of heading to Lynchburg to face top-seeded Lynchburg Christian. Despite dropping that game, SSSA concluded their 07 season with a 6-4 record, a marked improvement over 06.
The Red, White and Green will open the 08 campaign on September 6 – when they travel to Richmond to lock horns with a very competitive St. Christophers squad.
The Mount Vernon Majors, coached by veteran Tom Glynn, qualified for the 07 Northern Region Division V Playoffs. Despite a first-round post-season loss, Mount Vernon concluded last seasons campaign with an overall record of 6-5.
The Majors compete in the National District versus Alexandria-area rival Thomas Edison, Arlington County rivals, Wakefield, Washington-Lee, Yorktown; and Fairfax County rivals: Falls Church and JEB Stuart.
Mount Vernon, which has produced a disproportionate percentage of NCAA collegiate athletes compared to other Northern Region Schools, will open the 2008 season on August 29 when they visit T.C. Williams, state title winners in three previous seasons: 71, 84 and 87.
The T.C. Williams Titans, coached by Dennis Randolph, concluded the 07 campaign with an overall record of 4-6.
The Red, White and Blue, members of the competitive Patriot District, will have to play inspired ball as they face district competitors Annandale, Hayfield, Lake Braddock, Lee, South County, West Potomac and West Springfield.
Under Mark Gowin, who has coached at Episcopal for more than 20 years, the Maroon witnessed one of their slimmest seasons ever. Hit hard by graduation following the 2006 season, the team started the 07 season with a 1-6 record, but rallied to win their final two contests to finish 3-6 overall. The high point of the campaign was a final game victory against arch-rival Woodberry Forest.
The EHS-Woodberry contest has been played for more than a century, believed to be the oldest continual rivalry in the entire South.
Episcopal will begin their 08 campaign when they host Flint Hill (Oakton) on September 13.
The Thomas Jefferson Colonials, coached by veteran Tim Puvogel, did not qualify for the Division V playoffs in 2007. Jefferson, a science magnet school since the 88/89 school year, is a member of the Liberty District. TJ will have to square off against District rivals Stone Bridge, Langley, Madison, Marshall, McLean, South Lakes and Woodson to qualify for the 08 playoffs.
The Red, White and Blue Colonials will host Falls Church of the National District on August 28.
The Hayfield Hawks, coached by veteran Billy Pugh, concluded the 07 season with one win (against Wakefield) for a 1-9 record.
Hayfield, which was hit hard when South County became a member of the Northern Region several years ago, will travel to George C. Marshall to kick off their season on August 29.