They became champions the hard way.
After losing their opening game of the double-elimination District 6 Babe Ruth Tournament, the Arlington Senior Babe Ruth 15-under all-stars rebounded to win three straight baseball games to successfully defend their championship.
In order, those three wins came over Springfield, 8-2, on July 7 in the losers-bracket final, then over Vienna, 11-2, also on July 7. Against Vienna again in the July 8 championship game, Arlington rallied from deficits of 6-0 and 8-7 to win 9-8 by scoring two unearned runs, with the help of two errors, in the top of the seventh.
Vienna had runners on second and third with two outs in the last of the seventh when third baseman Charlie Connally charged a slow-rolling ground ball and threw out the runner at first to end the game, with Henry Watson pitching the final two innings to earn the win.
Vienna defeated Arlington, 5-3, in the competition’s opening contest. The tournament was played at Waters Field in Vienna.
Arlington did not make a defensive error in the title game and won despite walking 12 batters, hitting four more and throwing four wild pitches.
“We rallied twice, that doesn’t happen often,” Arlington manager Graeme Fineman said. “We weren’t feeling too good when they were up 6-0. But when our backs are against the wall like that, our kids want to keep playing and they get locked in. We had a lot of players make a lot of big plays.”
Watson was Arlington’s fifth pitcher. With the bat he had two hits, including a two-run double. Jake Arrowsmith had an RBI triple, Jack Sharp doubled, Jakob Mandleur tripled, Jack Mallett had a hit and two RBI, including the game-winning sacrifice fly to score A.J. Haines, and Sam Dozier and Graham Lynch had hits. Lynch had the other seventh-inning RBI when he reached on a ground-ball throwing error. Luke Rubin had an RBI squeeze bunt in the game.
In the win over Springfield, Ryan Upton pitched 62/3 innings to get the win. Oliver Grove had two hits and an RBI and Mallett and Arrowsmith each had a hit and an RBI. Arlington six hits.
Against Vienna in the 11-2 triumph, Arlington amassed 10 hits and took control with seven runs in the fourth inning. Lynch had three hits, Watson added two hits and two RBI, Dozier had two RBI and Grove had a big hit. Dozier struck out eight in 51/3 innings.
In its opening-game 5-3 loss, Arlington fell behind 5-0. Arlington scored two runs in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Rubin to send home Mallett, who tripled, then an RBI fielder’s choice by Haines. A bases-loaded walk by Connally (two hits) forced in Arlington’s third run in the sixth.
Upton doubled for Arlington and starting pitcher Mandleur singled. Arlington stranded nine runners.
In 22/3 innings of relief pitching, Watson struck out six, allowed one hit and no runs.
Now its on to the state tournament for Arlington, which begins July 13 in Glen Allen. Arlington faces host Glen Allen at 7:30 p.m. July 13 in its first game.
* With a 2-0 record, the Arlington Senior Babe Ruth 14-under all-stars won the District 6 tournament at Yorktown High School and now head to state competition.
In its first game, the 14s blanked Vienna, 7-0, behind the pitching of James Tallon and Bobby Mcdonough, then defeated Vienna again, 11-1, in the championship contest.
In that 7-0 victory, Mcdonough, Ben Langsam, Dillon Bass, Landon Thomas and Alex Zur had big hits. Arlington amassed 13 hits. On the mound, Tallon fanned eight in 52/3 innings.
In the 11-1 win, Ketz Murray started on the mound and struck out four in five innings. Thomas had three hits and three RBI and Costas Tzoumas had two hits and two RBI.
Arlington had eight hits and scored eight runs in the first inning.
Other players for the 14s are Zachary Moss, Quinn Brennan, Patrick Church, Michael Keefe and David Haley. Dan Pototsky is the manager and Pete Cain the coach.
The state tournament begins July 12 in Manassas with a first-round game against Stafford.
* In the 13-under District 6 tournament, the Arlington Senior Babe Ruth all-stars went 2-0, nipping Vienna, 11-10, in its first game, then nipped Vienna again, 9-8, in the championship contest.
Arlington rallied to win both contests, trailing 8-2 in the first game and 7-3 in the second.
“We battled back in both games and a bunch of kids did their jobs,” 13s manager Mike Cowell said. “We pulled off two safety squeezes from our No. 8 and 9 batters, and basically got things done at crunch time. It was good baseball by the boys.
See more later at www.insidenova.com/sports/arlington.
* In the Babe Ruth age 16-18 state tournament at Barcroft Park, the Arlington Senior Babe Ruth all-stars finished 0-2.
Arlington lost to winners-bracket finalist Southwestern Youth Association, 11-5, in its opening, then fell to Northern Fairfax County, 7-2, in a losers’-bracket contest.
* Four Arlington Babe Ruth baseball all-star teams from ages 8 to 11 won their district tournaments over the last two weeks and moved on to state competition.
Arlington Babe Ruth Storm teams at the 8, 9, 10 and 11 age groups defeated Herndon and Alexandria teams to win District 7 crowns.
While each Arlington team posted big scores, most notable was the 8-under squad that defeated the Herndon Hawks in two games and Alexandria Pioneer in a single game by a combined score of 36-4.
Next, the 8-under squad won the state tournament with a 4-0 record, defeating Fluvanna, 8-4, and 13-12, in its final two games. Its other wins were over Augusta, 8-5, and Glen Allen, 12-8.
Next for the 8s is the region tournament, starting July 19 in Ocala, Fla.
Also at the state tournament, the 9s and 10s went 1-2 and the 11s finished 2-2.
See more later at www.insidenova.com/sports/arlington.