Play-In Games Over, Aces and DC Advance in Heart-Stopping Finishes

Much more tomorrow, but the two play-in games in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League have concluded, and the DC Grays and the Alexandria Aces have moved on to the Semi-Final Series. The Aces will play the Bethesda Big Train at Shirley Povich Field, and the DC Grays come to Blair Stadium to face the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts.

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Both games start at 7 pm.

The Grays, playing as the home team at Criswell Automotive Field against the Gaithersburg Giants, jumped out to an early 6-0 lead highlighted by a three-run third inning. The Giants cut the deficit to three by the eighth after Cade Doughty homered. In the top of the ninth, Brandon Greim scored two runners on a two-out single for the Giants, cutting the margin to one. Greim then stole second and Cade Doughty came to the plate. This time, however, with the tying run at second, the Giants slugger struck out on a 2-2 pitch, ending the game, and giving the Aces a 6-5 upset victory.

Cam Fowler pitched seven innings for the Grays and earned the win giving up one earned run. Nick Parker took the loss for the Giants, giving up four earned runs in 2.2 innings.

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The story was similar at South County Field in Lorton where the favored Braves fell behind, 6-0 to the Aces by the sixth inning. The Braves began a comeback scoring one in the seventh and two in the eighth, to trail, 6-3. After retiring the Aces in the top of the ninth, the Braves loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the inning. Marcos Pujols hit a sacrifice fly to right, bringing in one run.

Ryan Morash struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. With runners on second and third, due to a wild pitch, Wesley Lane was called out on strikes, and the Braves went down, 6-4, to the Aces. Brandon McGaw went seven innings for the Aces, allowing only one earned run to get the win. Noah Short came in after Hugh O’Hara injured his shoulder in the bottom of the ninth, and earned the save. Jack Cone of the Braves went 3.2 innings, gave up four earned runs, and was tagged with the loss.

We’ll examine the Grays-Bolts matchup in depth tomorrow, but if the play-in games are any harbinger of what’s to come in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League playoffs, there should be plenty of drama ahead,