Alexandria Little Leaguers visit Rep. Steve Scalise

Alexandria Little Leaguers visit Rep. Steve Scalise
<strong> Pictured: </strong> Cooper MacKay, Evan Devereux, Kyle Miller, Robbie Engelberg, Ryan Osinski, Gavin Brunsman, Congressman Scalise, Kevin Dols, Jakob Mensinger, Jack Kelly, Will Keough, Joshua Ayala (Photo Credit: Capitol Hill Staff Photographer Andrew Shult)

By Alexa Epitropoulos |

The Alexandria Little League 13U All-Star Team, the 2017 Virginia State Champions, visited Capitol Hill on Feb. 16 following an invitation from Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.).

The team became the first Alexandria Little League team to win the Virginia championship in July. The team advanced to the regional tournament that was held later that month in Kernersville, North Carolina, where they ultimately lost to South Carolina’s team. The team was practicing for its district tournament at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park the night before the June 14 shooting, which left Scalise critically injured.

Coach Pete Mensinger said the team was connected with Scalise through Don Simpson Jr., a member of the family that the ballpark is named after. Scalise was initially set to present the team with their championship trophies, but was unable to attend the event. Instead, he invited the team and their families to Capitol Hill for a visit and a private tour.

During the visit, Scalise told the team about the responsibilities of his position as majority whip, his passion for baseball and how he plans to regain his position as second baseman on the Republican Congressional Baseball team, Mensinger said.

Mensinger said Scalise also encouraged team members to persist through adversity, to prioritize relationships and teamwork and to get involved in politics at an early age, regardless of party affiliation.