SPORTS SHORTS/David Steinbacher – The Aces improve with win over Thunderbolts


The Alexandria Aces improved to 10-19 overall in their inaugural season with a hard-fought 15-11 victory on the road versus the Silver Spring-TakomaThunderbolts on Tuesday.

One day earlier, mother nature threw a curveball at the local college baseball squad as they faced the Maryland Redbirds at Four Mile Run Ball Park.

Trailing 1-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, the homestanding Aces put the tying run on third base when Josh Wilson, a rising junior outfielder at Armstrong Atlantic, belted a triple. (Games are only seven innings long when playing a doubleheader – nine innings long when playing a “solo” contest).

Moments later, the skies opened up and the rain came down with a vengeance, accompanied by significant lightning. It did not bode well for the successful conclusion of the game that evening.

Efforts were made to maintain the field during the periods of least rain, but the rain kept coming and coming and it appears that the conclusion of the July 13 first game and the entire July 13 second game will have to be made up at some future date.

During two hours of play on July 13, the Aces had zero runs on six hits with one error at the suspension of the game; whereas the Redbirds had one run on three hits and zero errors.

The Aces made their debut in the Cal Ripken, Sr. Collegiate Baseball League on June 6.

With the addition of the Aces, the Cal Ripken became an eight-team league with six squads in Maryland and two teams in Virginia – Alexandria and the Herndon Braves. Herndon joined the league in 2007.

“We’ve been quite pleased with the attendance,” said Frank Fannon IV, one of the members of the Aces board of directors. “We’re averaging about 200 fans per game which is second in the league. We could use as much community involvement as we can get.”

Fannon said that volunteers are always welcome for positions such as ticket takers or to help out with running the kids games. “The city has done a really great job in helping us to maintain the field,” Fannon said. 

Regarding the players, they are all virtually from different parts of the country and they get to stay with host families up here.

About 30 percent of the players are able to work some type of part time or full time job, but none of them are paid to play baseball.

The league is for college players with at least one season of eligibility still remaining. If one has signed any type of professional contract whatsoever, they are not allowed to play in this league.”

The Aces roster started with 29 players, but in the six weeks of play thus far the roster has been trimmed to 27.

Infielder Vinnie Sangemino, a rising senior at Rutgers, suffered a concussion approximately 10 days ago, and is not with the team due to his medical condition; infielder Nate Clark, a rising senior at Virginia Tech, also left the team to “iron out” his summer school requirements in Blacksburg.

A host of colleges are represented by the 27 remaining players on the roster.

Of the teams 10 wins, nearly half have been recorded by rising senior pitchers Kevin Cobb (Bryant College) and by Cody Walden (Armstrong Atlantic).

Another pitcher of note is rising Rutgers junior Kyle Bradley.

Bradley (a 6’3″ – 220 pound righthander) commented as to the value of the league – “The level of play has been very good. The coaching staff has been real helpful. The league will help us all in the sense that when we get back to school we will all be better players.”

The Aces are managed by head coach Eric Williams, who is aided by assistant coach Ben Krentzman and by pitching coach Brian Midkiff.

Upcoming home games include:
July 17 – Silver Spring-Takoma;
July 18 – College Park Bombers;
July 20 – Youse’s Orioles
July 23 – Rockville Express.

Three more home games will commence thereafter and the leagues playoff format is scheduled to commence July 29. The prestigious All-Star Game is scheduled for July 22 at Bethesda’s “Shirley Povich Field” – near I-270.

Summer hoops action  
At the prestigious St. Stephens/St. Agnes Boys Summer Basketball League, things are heading towards a conclusion.

The 13-team league, featuring teams from Alexandria City, the Alexandria area of Fairfax County, Greater Fairfax County, Arlington County, Prince William County and Washington D.C., will witness six teams qualifying for the playoffs.

In the contests of July 14, the St. Stephens/St. Agnes Saints defeated the Washington-Lee Generals 58-37; the Edison Eagles defeated the Annandale Atoms 62-50 and the Hylton Bulldogs defeated the Ireton Cardinals 55-52 in overtime.

In the Saints victory, the “Red, White and Green” were paced by rising junior shooting guard Jack Hamilton’s 15 points.

Other Saint players that have contributed significantly this summer, include: rising seniors Ian Mcleod and Reggie Newsome; rising juniors (Hamilton), Cohen Bond, Richard Pastorino and Laith Wallschleger; rising sophomore Donte Allison and rising freshman Justin Goldsborough.

Regarding the value of the league, Jack Hamilton commented – “The summer season gives us a good tuneup for the regular season. We were quite young last year [’07/’08]. The “parts” are really starting to come together for us this summer [for us to be successful this upcoming winter].”

The Saints are one of four teams virtually assured of a playoff spot this summer.

As of July 15, the “upper tier” standings are as follows: Hayfield and Lake Braddock (both 7-1), St. Stephens and Hylton (both 6-2).

More than likely competing for the final two playoff spots: Wakefield (5-2), Annandale (5-4), Herndon (4-3) and Edison (4-4).

The quarter-finals are scheduled to commence July 29; the semi-finals July 30 and the 7 pm Championship Contest August 1, barring no glitches.

St. Stephens/St. Agnes regular season head coach Kevin McLinton is the Director of the League. He is coincidentally the elder brother of Darren McLinton, who played at James Madison University a decade or so ago, under “Lefty” Driesell.

Amateur golf
The “Sun Trust State Open of Virginia” is scheduled for July 17-20 at the Independence Golf Club in Midlothian, Va. in Greater Richmond.

Alexandria’s Rob Menefee “punched his ticket” to the Open when he shot a one-under 141 (18 holes) at the Laurel Hill Course (Fairfax County) several weeks ago – a “zone-qualifying” tournament. Menefee is a member of the Belle Haven Country Club.

Titans Youth Football
The Alexandria Titans Youth Tackle Football Registration is heading towards a conclusion.

The practices are scheduled to commence in August and is open to youngsters 7-16 years of age.

Seven weight classifications are offered and interested persons may contact the Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities, 1108 Jefferson Street, Alexandria 22314, or 703-838-4345.