October 19 - The Loudoun Aces scored a run in each of the first three innings, then piled on six more in their final two frames to beat the South County Stallions, 9-6, and clinch the 11u Columbus Day championship last night at Good Times Park.
With his team holding a 6-5 lead, Ashton Peshke sealed the win for the Aces, driving in two runs with a double that one-hopped over the short fence in left field. Peshke would later come around to score to give his team a four-run lead.
“Ashton is our silent assassin,” Aces’ coach Mark Stinnette said. “He has been consistent for us all year and he comes through in clutch situations.”
“I didn’t know where it went,” Peshke said. “I thought it was going to be a long out, then I saw it go over [the fence]. It was a ground-rule double and we got two runs for the team.”
The Aces were out-hit in the contest, however were able to find consistent offense by getting multiple runners on-base every inning. Dom Hartley and Quin Miller each scored two runs while Jack Rosenkranz drove in a run in each of his two at-bats for the Aces.
Peshke started on the mound for the Aces and surrendered two early runs in the first inning. The Stallions’ first two batters of the order, Liam and Aiden Ward, both came around to score after Landon Hawkins drove in Liam with a base hit with the game’s first run while Aiden scored on a wild pitch.
The Stallions would not score again until the fifth inning. After Peshke pitched a scoreless second inning, the Aces would get two more scoreless innings from Cameron Summersgill and Hartley.
“We had fun getting ready for this championship game but sometimes that gets you a little too hyped, and that’s a learning experience for the kids,” Stallions’ coach Tony Combs said. “They had a couple of good pitchers, tip your cap to them, but that’s one thing that we can take away from this game as something we need to work on.”
Stallions' starter Braeden Cooch was able to limit the damage through the first three innings, but ran into trouble in the fourth. Cooch did his best to work around six walks and a couple of errors, but both ultimately caught up to him.
“We kicked a couple of balls and made a few errors but he stayed pretty consistent up there and got right back up on the hill and did a great job,” Combs said. “I couldn’t have asked more from him tonight, he did a great job.”
In the fifth, the Stallions would make a final charge down 6-2. Sparked by three extra-base hits, including a run-scoring double by Tyler Orth, the Stallions would score three runs to trim the Aces’ lead to one.
The Aces would answer in the bottom of the inning with Peshke delivering a two-run double and later scoring on an RBI from Evan Lee. Miller, who came on in relief of Hartley with two outs and two strikes on the batter in the fifth inning, needed just one pitch to end the Stallion's rally. He then held the Stallions to a lone run in the sixth to close out the game.
“We actually ran out of pitching throughout the whole tournament and the strategy was to just pump strikes, let the other team hit it and let our defense play,” Stinnette said. “It really came down to our defense and pitching.”
Photo by Josh Belanger