Alexandria Aces third baseman Connor Offshack showed why it's imperative to have a don't-dwell-on-your-last-at-bat approach if you're going to succeed in a sport like baseball. Offshack's walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh of the first game of a doubleheader Thursday at Shirley Povich Field, gave the Aces a 5-4 win over the Bethesda Big Train.
After striking out in his previous three appearances at the plate against multiple Big Train pitchers, Offshack hit a two-run single off Jordan Little (East Carolina) to bring in Jacob Friend and Dylan Koontz to give the Aces a surprising comeback win. The victory moved the Aces (23-10) within 1.5 games of the Big Train (25-9) in the league standings.
The Big Train have two games remaining in the season — Alexandria, D.C. Grays — and the Aces have three — Bethesda, Metro SOCO Braves, Gaithersburg Giants —in the race to the regular season title.
With the Big Train leading, 4-3, in the bottom of the sixth, manager Sal Colangelo turned to his top reliever. Little entered with three saves to his name and without having given up a run in 21 innings this summer.
But after a sparkling bottom of the sixth in which he recorded three outs on eight pitches, Little uncharacteristically allowed a walk, a single and hit a batter to load the bases before Offshack lifted a single over the head of first baseman Sean Lane (Maryland) to give Alexandria the win.
Batting in the top innings — Thursday’s affair was a rescheduled contest from a rained out game in Alexandria on July 12 — and on A Tribute to Latin Baseball and Host Family Appreciation Night, Bethesda took an early 2-0 lead in the third after Aces pitcher Sasha Kamenjasevic balked in Luke Nowak (East Carolina) and Peyton Schulze (UC Berkeley) singled in DM Jefferson (Notre Dame).
An inning later, Nowak brought in Garrett Felix (Nicholls State) and TJ Rogers (Austin Peay State) with a two-run single to give the Green and White a four-run advantage.
Bethesda jumped on Alexandria starter Kamenjasevic, who came into the game with a 5.50 ERA, allowing 22 hits through 18 innings. The soft-throwing southpaw went three frames and gave up four runs on three hits and issued a pair of walks.
Facing a four-run deficit, the Aces refused to go away. The league’s second-place team got one run back in the bottom of the fourth with a Michael Eze RBI double against Merritt Beeker (East Carolina).
Beeker then gave up two runs in the fifth before getting hooked in favor of Andrew Johnson (Maryland), who recorded the final two outs of the inning with men on first and second to keep Bethesda's narrow 4-3 lead.
The late Aces victory undid a solid start from Bethesda pitcher Brayden Jones (Ole Miss). The Mississippi native racked up three strikeouts with no runs on two hits over three frames and lowered his ERA to 2.73. Jones, who worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the second, has thrown a team-high 29.2 innings and been strong throughout.
Following the loss in game one of the doubleheader, Bethesda is 2-3 on the season versus the Aces and has been outscored 33-20 through five games.
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