By Neal Comstock
Falls Church Times Staff
November 3, 2013
Falls Church teams wrapped up a terrific Fall Ball season in near perfect weather last week. Reflecting demographic growth as well as the increased popularity of baseball in our area (Natitude!), 281 players participated on 20 FCKLL teams this Fall, a remarkable 46% increase over last Fall.
Majors (ages 10-12)
Despite racking up a season-high 13 hits, the Falls Church Red Sox fell 17-8 to a strong Reston Angels team in five innings on Saturday October 26 at Westgate Park.
Will Jackson went a perfect 3-3 at the plate for the Red Sox to end his season with a team leading .696 batting average. He doubled in the first inning and singled in the third and fifth innings.
The top of the first saw the Reston Angels take an early lead with a solo home run to start the inning off. The Reston Angels pushed another run across on a wild pitch.
The Red Sox quickly matched the Angels’ strong inning with a two-run inning of their own in the first. The Sox scored on RBI singles by Hollman Smith and Gavin McNabb.
The Reston Angels added two more runs in the top of the third and then increased their lead with seven runs in the fourth inning.
Two runs in the bottom of the fourth helped the Red Sox close the deficit. A two-run single by Nate Jackson fueled the Red Sox’ comeback.
A four-run fifth inning helped bring the Red Sox closer. Key hits by Paul Weaver and Nick Bradford, an RBI single by Hollman Smith, a walk by McNabb, and RBI singles by Curran Gilster and Kailen Jordan set off the Red Sox rally which fell short as time ran out on the game. Weaver got a hit in each of his last three games and Smith ended his breakout season with a .700 on base percentage and a team high 10 RBIs.
AAA (ages 9-11)
The final week of Fall Ball was a good one for the Orioles, as they notched victories against two different Brewers teams to close out their season with an 8-5-1 record.
The third time was the charm for the Orioles on Tuesday, October 22, as they finally pulled out a 10-7 victory over the Falls Church Brewers after managing only a loss and a tie in their first two tries. Conor Glavin set the tone by leading off the game with a solid double which instigated a seven run first inning. Other key hits in the inning came from John Cascella (RBI), Aidan Cunningham (RBI), Kyle Dean and Austin Byrd. Byrd’s hit was his first since coming off the DL with a fractured wrist. The remaining Oriole runs came in the third on walks by Dean, Byrd and Ryan Shannon (who also stole home), and an RBI single by Ben Harper. Michael Hammond recorded six strikeouts while allowing only one run in 2 2/3 strong innings of relief, and Cunningham closed out the final inning, coaxing two strikeouts while giving up only one run.
The Orioles faced another Brewers team on Saturday October 26, this time from Reston, and the result was the same – a 15-13 win for the O’s. The Orioles jumped out to an 11-1 lead after two innings behind the excellent pitching of Tommy Shaw and Sam Sanders and first inning hits by Kyle Dean (RBI), Charlie Rowe (RBI), John Cascella, and Michael Pandula (2 RBI). Just when it looked like it was going to be a real laugher, the Brewers staged a furious comeback and were able to tie the game at 13 in the top of the fifth inning. The Brewers would have taken the lead if not for the exceptional defense of Michael Hammond, who made a diving catch in center field with two outs and two runners on base to end the comeback and set the stage for a dramatic finish in the bottom of the fifth inning. After singles by Rowe and Cascella and a strikeout and a fielder’s choice groundout put Sanders at first and Cascella at second with two outs, Pandula stepped to the plate and delivered a sharp double to right center that brought home Cascella and Sanders with the winning runs to clinch the victory. The Oriole bench emptied onto the field to swarm around Pandula and celebrate a fitting end to a successful and enjoyable season.
AA (ages 7-10)
The Mudcats jumped out to an early lead, but were unable to hold on and lost 2-1 to the Blue Claws on Tuesday, October 22. The second inning saw Mudcats score their only run on the day on an RBI single by Bobby Puentes. Jake Rodriguez baffled the Blue Claws, striking out eight batters. The Mudcats pitcher tossed three innings of shutout ball and allowed only four hits.
Despite strong hitting, the Mudcats were unable to score any more runs thanks to impressive fielding and pitching by the Blue Claws.
The Blue Claws took the lead in the fourth inning thanks to a rally that saw two runs cross the plate on two singles. Four relief pitchers made sure the win didn’t fall through the cracks for the Blue Claws. Zander faced four batters in relief, while Zach managed to record three outs to aid the victory. It was a great game that could have gone either way.
Saturday November 2 is “Try Hockey for Free Day” in Virginia, when kids ages 4-9 can put on the pads and try their hand at ice hockey at no cost. The George Mason High School and Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School Hockey Clubs are joining other area hockey programs to promote the effort at Mt. Vernon Ice Rink, 2017 Belle View Boulevard in Alexandria at 3:15pm Saturday.
“This is a great way for kids to try ice hockey,” said Stan Fendley, coach of the GMHS club team. “No equipment costs, no team fees – just gear up and chase the puck around. It’s a lot of fun.”
Certified coaches will be on hand to teach the basics, Fendley said.
Additional information is available at http://www.tryhockeyforfree.com/.
To register for the Saturday session at Mt. Vernon Ice Rink, visit http://www.active.com/framed/event_detail.cfm?CHECKSSO=0&EVENT_ID=2115157.
By Neal Comstock
Falls Church Times Staff
September 24, 2013
Below are game reports from the Falls Church Kiwanis Little League (FCKLL) Fall Ball season. Game reports were prepared by FCKLL Managers, Coaches and parents.
Majors (ages 10-12)
Kailen Jordan did all he could to give the Falls Church Red Sox a boost, but it was not enough to get past the Mason District Braves, as the Red Sox lost 8-4 in six innings at Mason District Park on Saturday, September 21. Jordan caught the first three innings, pitched a scoreless inning and got key hits in the second and sixth innings.
The Braves led the whole game after the first inning, when they scored four runs on an RBI single and a three-run triple.
After pushing across three runs in the top of the third, the Red Sox Fall faced just a 4-3 deficit. An RBI triple by Mark Comstock, an RBI groundout by Gavin McNabb, and an RBI double by Will Jackson set off the Red Sox rally. The Red Sox third inning threat came to a premature end when Hollman Smith was called out on a single for sliding headfirst into first base (in violation of Little League rules) when he actually tripped just before reaching the bag.
One run in the top of the sixth helped the Red Sox close their deficit to 8-4. An RBI single by Jordan gave the Sox life before the Braves closed out the game with the tying run on deck.
AAA (ages 8-11)
On Saturday, September 21, the Falls Church Angels defeated the visiting Reston Phillies 11-8 at Westgate Park. Scott Trundle, Ru Orabaton, and Ryan Doherty threw well in their Fall pitching debuts, striking out three, three, and one, respectively.
In addition to his solid pitching, Doherty scorched two line drives: a single in the third, and a triple that rolled to the fence in right field to score two in the decisive fourth inning. Orabaton, Trundle, Emmett Wood, Will Chapman and Will Izdepski also had hits for the Angels. In the field, Trundle picked up a sharp grounder at shortstop to force out a runner at second base and Wood tracked down back-to-back pop-ups to close out the top of the fourth.
It was a full, exciting week for the Falls Church Orioles, as they faced the undefeated Falls Church Brewers on Tuesday, September 17 and the Alexandria Eagles on Saturday, September 21.
Bragging rights were on the line on Tuesday, as the Orioles and Brewers faced each other for the first time this season. They had each won both of their previous games against other Falls Church teams. The game went down to the wire and ending in a 12-12 tie.
Michael Hammond earned the game ball for the Orioles by scoring three runs, pitching two strong innings and making the play of the game — with the potential winning run on base, he made a diving stop of a grounder and threw out the runner at first to end the game and preserve the tie.
Sam Sanders got his first trip to the pitcher’s mound and proved to be a workhorse, completing three innings while recording five strikeouts. The offensive fireworks came by way of Tommy Shaw’s three-run homer in the first inning. Conor Glavin scored two runs on a double and two walks and Charlie Rowe collected a double, a single and a run scored.
The Orioles next squared off against the Alexandria Eagles on Saturday, September 21 in what many were calling the “Orange Bowl”, with both teams sporting bright orange uniforms. Only an overcast sky kept the spectators from temporary blindness!
Powered by an eight-run second inning, the Orioles were able to claim a 14-9 victory. Key hits in that inning were provided by: Ben Harper, John Cascella, Michael Hammond, Michael Pandula and Kyle Dean. Aidan Cunningham closed out the last two innings to get the save, which included striking out the final batter to end the game.
The game ball was awarded to Ryan Shannon, who collected two hits and scored two runs, but impressed most with her short stint on the pitcher’s mound. In the top of the first inning, with three runs already in, Ryan was called in to pitch with two outs and the bases loaded. In her first ever pitching appearance, Ryan calmly recorded the third out to end the threat.
Another star of the game was John Cascella, who reached base all three times, with a single, a walk and a smoking double over the head of the Eagles’ left fielder. John also recorded several outs on defense, including a fine grab of a liner for the last out of the fourth inning, when the Eagles were trying to mount a comeback.
AA (ages 7-9)
The Falls Church Bats played the Mason District Blue Jays on Saturday September 14, winning 9-3. Adam Peterkin pitched a stellar two innings striking four out of eight batters. Four Bats went 2 for 2 to power the team’s offense: Peterkin had two RBI’s, one run, and four stolen bases; Roberto Herrera scored twice and had four stolen bases; Noah Grossman scored and had two stolen bases along with an RBI; and Tyler Artilles scored and added two stolen bases. Last but not least, Ariana Cataldo proved that she could hit with the best of them going 1-1 with an RBI, stealing two bases and scoring. Game balls were earned by Peterkin and Cataldo.
On Saturday, September 22, the Falls Church Threshers (named for the Clearwater, FL Threshers, a Class A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies), playing with only eight players, moved to 2-2 with a shutout victory over the Mason District Tigers at Idylwood Park. Ethan Bomersheim, Davis Kendrick, and Joel Haas all pitched and combined for four innings of shutout baseball. Jackson Pierce, a recent transplant to the League, got on base and scored twice while contributing strong catching. Liam Stirling and Joseph Dakin also contributed by scoring runs and playing tough defense. Henry Thatcher continued his torrid hitting streak by getting on base three times. Sam Mostow made his catching debut and got on base by getting hit by a pitch.
By Falls Church Times Staff
Sept. 18, 2013
We knew there would be growing pains during the inaugural season for George Mason’s varsity field hockey team. Playing against more experienced teams was expected to be a challenge, and that proved true as the girls lost their first four games.
But they provided fans some excitement at Monday’s home game and moved closer to a victory at the same time, tying the score 1-1 with less than a minute to play on a powerful shot by sophomore midfielder Caroline Stricker.
Unfortunately, the Mustangs succumbed in overtime to Arlington’s Wakefield High School Warriors, 2-1.
Earlier, the Mustangs’ junior varsity team beat Wakefield, 2-1, with Lydia Gorman scoring both goals for Mason. That improved the JV’s record to 2-2, with one tie.
By Laurie and Ian Graig
Special to the Falls Church Times
Sept. 5, 2013
The George Mason High School girls field hockey team plays its second ever game and first home game tonight.
The Mustangs face the Pioneers of Patriot High School, with the junior varsity game kicking off the action at 6 p.m., followed by the varsity game at 7:30. Come cheer for the newest addition to the GMHS Fall Athletic Lineup!
Mason just added the field hockey program this year; the team is being coached by former University of Virginia field hockey goalie Amanda Crider.
The team opened their inaugural season Tuesday with a loss by the varsity to Bishop O’Connell High School, 6-1. They fell behind 3-0 in the opening five minutes. The first goal scored by the team belongs to Callie Gaskins, with an assist from Caroline Striker, who provided a well-placed pass to set it up.
The JV team tied O’Connell, 1-1, with a goal from Mason’s Gabe Brown.
By Laurie and Ian Graig
Special to the Falls Church Times
August 27, 2013
September 3 will mark not only the opening of a new school year in Falls Church City, but also the beginning of a new chapter in George Mason High School sports.
For the first time, Mason will boast both Varsity and Junior Varsity Girls Field Hockey teams this fall — after two years of the game as a club sport.
The varsity team will have a top quality former player as their coach: University of Virginia graduate Amanda Crider, who was goalie for two squads that reached the national semifinals.
Kaitlyn Jones, a former high school field hockey player and current Mt. Daniel teacher, will lead the JV team.
A high level of interest in the new sport is apparent in the strong turnout. Mason will be able to fill two full squads, with a total of 42 players on Varsity and JV (including several eighth graders).
Coach Crider says that she is thrilled to have the chance to “work with such a driven group of young ladies and be a part of such a supportive community.”
The Mustangs’ preseason provided solid preparation for the upcoming season in the form of scrimmages against two AAA schools: the Wolverines of West Potomac High School on August 20, and the Jaguars of Falls Church High School on August 22. The Varsity and JV teams both performed well against these larger schools, which also have more established field hockey programs.
The Mustangs’ first game of their inaugural season is an away game against Bishop O’Connell High School September 3, with Varsity playing at 4 p.m. followed by JV at 5:30 p.m.
Everyone is encouraged to come out and cheer the Mustangs on as they face Patriot High School in the first home field hockey games ever played at GMHS on September 5. The action begins with the JV game at 6 p.m. followed by Varsity at 7:30 p.m. at GMHS Moore Cadillac Stadium.
The Mustangs’ complete Fall 2013 Field Hockey game schedule can be viewed at: http://www.masonathletics.org/inex.cfm?action=main.teamschedule&id=71415
By David Witzel
Falls Church Times Staff
May 30, 2013
George Mason’s Boys and Girls varsity soccer teams won both sides of a double-header last night to assure trips to the State Tournament.
In the semi-final round of the Region B Tournament, the Mustang Girls defeated Appomattox County 7 to 0, while the boys overcame a tough Nelson County team to win 2 to 1. The victories guarantee a trip to the 2013 State Championship Tournament which will start with quarterfinal games for both teams at home on June 4.
In a spirited display, all seven of the Girls goals came with Mason playing one player down following a questionable red card in the middle of the first period. The boys dominated their game against Nelson County but had a hard time finding the net. Heroic work by the Nelson goalkeeper Francisco Becerra-Torres and several shots off the frame kept the game tight.
The Girls enter the State Tournament on a quest to win their 6th straight state title and 8th overall. The Boys return to State for the third time in four years after failing to leave District play last year.
The Mustang Girls won the Bull Run District regular season in a play-off game against Clarke County 3 to 0 and then lost the final game of the District tournament, again to Clarke 1 to 0 at home. They finished the regular season with a 14-2-0 record, both losses 1 to 0 against Clarke County.
The Boys team went through the regular season and District Tournament undefeated, beating Clarke County in the Tournament 2 to 1. The boys finished District play with a 12-0-1 record, marred only by a scoreless tie against last-year’s Virginia Group A State Champion, Manassas Park.
The Girls travel to Stuarts Draft High School on Friday 5/31 for the Region B Championship game at 6pm. Stuarts Draft defeated Clarke 2 to 1 on their way to the Region title game.
The Boys travel to Stonewall Jackson High School for their game, also on Friday, at 7pm.
Join the GMHS Athletics Boosters for the Mustang Lights Charity Softball Game. Local celebrities will take on the the GMHS Mustangs on April 27th from 6-9 pm at the GMHS baseball field.
The Mustangs and all area teams that use the George Mason High School baseball and softball fields need your help! Everyone loves our new lighted fields, but we still need to raise money to cover the costs. So as a fundraiser, “local celebrities” will play a battle royale softball game against select members of the GMHS Baseball and Softball teams in what is sure to be the event everyone is talking about.
“Step up to the plate” and make a donation. Bring your checkbook. No donation is too small or too large, and all donations are tax-deductible.
Join Mustang Sally, MEH Husky, TJ Tiger & Danny the Hippo at this Family Fun Event! Attendees can test their skills in a throwing, accuracy competition and win raffle prizes such as Nationals Tickets, “Throw Out the First Pitch,” GMHS Spirit Wear and more.
Dinner will be available for purchase from great local favorite restaurants.
Plus sno-cones and cotton candy while supplies last.