October 10 - Liam Best pitched six scoreless innings and Michael Walsh collected four hits and scored four times to lead the Loudoun Aces Red over the MVP Terps Black, 12-3, in the 14u Columbus Day Tournament championship last night at Westfield High School.
Best started on the mound for the Aces and set the first 12 batters down in order, facing the minimum through four innings. He allowed just two hits while striking out five and was the benefactor of nine fly ball outs.
“Ever since warm-ups we knew he was going to have a good day,” Walsh said. “[Liam] was really throwing well.”
“Liam pounded the zone early and when we throw strikes, we are typically a hard team to beat,” Aces’ coach Jason Bagby said.
Walsh had himself a day at the plate, going 4-for-4 and driving in two runs on three doubles. The lefty sprayed the ball all over the field, going the opposite way for two hits then pulling the ball for two more hits. Walsh also swiped two bags.
“I was looking fastball and just threw my hands and got a hold of it,” Walsh said. “Hit the ball where it’s pitched.”
“It obviously doesn’t hurt that your three-hole hitter goes 4-for-4,” Bagby said. “[Michael] was banging the ball around and we had a lot of guys that swung the bat well today.”
After scoring three runs in the first, the Aces added four in the third and two more in the fourth to take a 9-0 lead. Wes Stanford and Declan McCann each had multiple hits and drove in a run while Michael Hafer picked up two RBI on a couple of productive outs for the Aces.
Walsh's fourth hit of the game in the sixth put runners on the corners with no outs. From there, three consecutive errors would lead to three more runs for the Aces and a 12 run cushion.
“At that point you are feeling pretty good the way Liam was throwing the baseball,” Bagby said.
Best pounded the zone with his fastball and used a timely breaking pitch to set down 18 of 20 batters. He ended his outing with back-to-back strikeouts in the sixth to give him five for the game. Ryan Sloyer took over in the seventh and allowed three runs on three hits and a walk.
Jaime Quinn-Irons drove in two runs with a base hit in the seventh for the Terps, however made the final out of the game attempting to advance to second base. The Terps’ four base runners in the seventh were twice as many as they mustered all game against Best.
“[Best] located well and changed speed,” Terps’ coach Galvin Morris said. “He was just better than our hitter’s today.”
“We didn’t play our best and at the end of the day, it’s baseball and they were the better team today. We tip our cap to them,” Morris added.
The Terps will look to rebound this Wednesday as they take on the Nova Storm at Centreville High School. The Aces will play next against the MVP Terps Gold at Briar Woods High School on Saturday.
Photo by Josh Belanger