Meet your 2011 Alexandria Aces

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Though the citys collegiate summer baseball club has yet to play a game, Alexandria Aces head coach Corey Haines already is eyeing the squads first playoff run in team history.

The boys of summer trickled into Alexandria over Memorial Day weekend and took the field together for their first team practice Wednesday. Haines, a newcomer to the Aces program, has high hopes for the squad of college ballplayers hailing from across the country.

With just days to go before the start of the season, Haines has nailed down four of what he hopes will become a five-man pitching rotation. Led by University of Maryland junior right-hander Michael Boyden, the set starters also include Monmouth University sophomore left-hander Andrew McGee and DeSales University junior right-hander David Drinks.

But Haines is in the market for more than one pitcher. The team lacks a designated closer and the new coach is looking for a hot arm and nimble athlete to take on the high-pressure role.

[Youve] just got to be really athletic closer, you have to command two pitches and you have to have an electric fastball, pushing 90 [mph]. Youve got to be lights out, Haines said. I think the biggest thing is athleticism. Its late in the game, the leadoff guy gets on and theyre bunting youve got to be able field that.

Off the mound, expect to see Wilmington University senior Mike Godwin behind the plate catching and next to it swinging. The Delaware native earned an honorable mention from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America for his spring performance. The catcher hit .355, drove in 45 runs and led the league in doubles.

Godwin plans to bring some of his veteran prowess to a youthful squad.

From the looks of it, we do have a young team. We have a lot of young guys. I hope I can bring some experience to the team, he said. Being able to play college ball for a couple more years, the [skill] level is going to get a little bit better, but the talent level is going to be the same. Experience makes the difference.

Monmouth University sophomore John Guida and University of Maryland freshman John Brucker will anchor the infield while Edison High School grad and Frostburg State University senior John Barrett will rack up some game time in center field.

Barrett hit .309 at Frostburg State, scoring 24 runs and 26 RBI in 139 at bats.

Hes not the only local to appear on the Aces this year. T.C. Williams High School standout pitcher Matt Kilby, now hurling for the Navy Midshipmen, joins the Aces after his first year in Annapolis. But the freshman will miss opening night to play against University of Virginia, the countrys No. 1 team.

Haines has high hopes for the Aces 2011 incarnation, but theyll have to get by the Bethesda Big Train for a shot at the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League title. The rival Maryland squad is coming off two consecutive summer league championships.

With their opening day matchup against the Vienna River Dogs set to get underway Friday night, Haines is happy to see the group of upper and underclassmen already coming together.
 
Some of the guys know each other from playing against each other in the spring time and most of them are from the east coast so a lot of the guys know each other a little bit, he said. I think theyre clicking a little bit. Theres no awkwardness, which is always good.

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