Andrew Houghton 7/19/13
The Grays beat the last-place Herndon Braves 18-11 on Friday to retain their slim hold on the sixth and final playoff spot with a record of 18-18 on the season. The offensive onslaught started early for the Grays as the game’s second batter, Brandon Kiser (Grambling State) hit a home run to give the Grays a 1-0 lead. The runs kept coming as Chris Bzozowski (Keystone College) hit an RBI double, Casey Hicks (Gallaudet) added a run-scoring single, and Bzozowski came home on a wild pitch to give the Grays a 4-0 lead after one. They started the second right where they left off in the first when Greg Olenski (Delaware) knocked a two-run single, and then two batters later Bzozowski clobbered one over the wall to score three and extend the lead to 9-0. It wouldn’t last, though, as in the bottom of the second the Braves put up six against Grays starter Mitch Leeds (Lafayette), in an inning highlighted by a two-run home run by Braves right fielder Austin Bream (Liberty University). The Braves would cut the lead even further in the fourth, scoring two runs to make the score 9-8 and prompt Leeds’ exit. Reliever Sherman Graves (Savannah State) entered with one out in the inning, escaped the jam, and then proceeded to fire three more innings of scoreless ball, allowing only one hit. The offense gave him a little bit of insurance in the fifth when Olenski singled home shortstop DJ Miller (Delaware State), and then broke the game open with six runs in the sixth. Second baseman Jayson Yano (Stevens Tech) hit a two-run single, Kiser followed with a sac fly, and Olenski tripled home two before being chased in himself by a single off the bat of designated hitter Harrison Farmer (Furman). The Grays would add two in the eighth with Bzozowski adding another RBI to his total as he finished 5-6 with five RBIs and three runs scored, missing the cycle by a triple. Olenski got the triple and also finished with five RBIs and three runs scored, although he only had three hits. Miller did a great job setting the table at the top of the lineup, recording four hits and four runs scored from the leadoff spot.
With this win, the Grays maintain a half game lead over both Youse’s Orioles and the Southern Maryland Nationals for the sixth and final playoff spot. The Vienna River Dogs are also lurking, just a game behind. From now on, the race will be constantly updated at the end of every recap.
The Grays play next on Saturday, July 20th at 5:00 pm against the league leading Bethesda Big Train at Hoy Field. Come on out to support your Grays as they make the push for the playoffs!
Ripken League Press 7/18/13
The River Dogs’ offense dominated tonight’s game. After taking an early lead, the River Dogs scored five runs in the sixth inning to secure their win. With the bases loaded, Brandon Angus (VMI) hit a triple and was then singled in by Aaron Scoville (Radford). Angus was three-for-five with two doubles on the night and Scoville was two-for-three with a double and three RBI. Quinn Pippin (Tampa) recorded two RBI for the River Dogs. Despite the loss, Grays’ Kelton Caldwell (BYU) had three doubles and Peyton Fuller (Troy) had two hits and an RBI.
The Grays next game is July 19th versus the FCA-Herndon Braves at Alan McCullock Field at Herndon High School (700 Bennett Street, Herndon, VA 20170). First pitch scheduled for 7:00p
Andrew Houghton 7/17/13
Even though the Ripken League all-star game doesn’t confer home field advantage on the winner, the Grays players were taking the game no less seriously than the MLB players had the night before. “It’s great to be named an all-star in such a prestigious league, and I just wanted to go out there and give a hundred and fifty percent”, said Grays catcher Cody Walker (Mississippi State), who started the game for the South Division team.
The accolades for the Grays started even before the game did as outfielder Greg Olenski (Delaware) won the home run derby, hitting three bombs in the first round and two in the finals to take home the crown.
The successes didn’t stop when the game started as Walker singled and scored in the first to give the South Division the lead. In the third, he just got under one, flying out to the warning track in left to end his day.
The Grays pitchers were similarly successful as first Mitchell Leeds (Lafayette), and then Henry Sisson (North Carolina) pitched a scoreless inning to hold the South Division lead.
Olenski entered the game late in left field and showed no ill effects from his derby victory, as his first at-bat produced a scorching line drive that was unfortunately snared by the North Division third baseman. He struck out in the ninth, but by that time the South Division had already wrapped up their 4-1 victory, a victory helped in no small way by the contributions of the Grays players.
The Grays would like to congratulate Cody Walker, Greg Olenski, Mitch Leeds, and Henry Sisson on their all-star selections and performances.
Grays Press 7/18/13
The DC Grays are pleased to announce that Courage Performance East has become the official Strength and Conditioning Program of the DC Grays. Founded by former George Washington University and Siena baseball player Josh Courage and run by former Princeton baseball player Andrew Whitener, the Courage Performance East facility provides a state of the art training facility for the Grays’ players with expert, baseball-specific strength training and conditioning. The downtown DC location on Oglethorpe Street is co-located with the new Washington Baseball Academy and is convenient to the Gray’s home field.
The Grays are pleased to begin this partnership with Courage Performance, look forward to this feature as an huge amenity for our current and future players and thank Josh and Andrew for making this happen.
Check out the Courage Performance East website at http://www.courageperformance.com/cp-east.html.
Andrew Houghton 7/16/13
The Grays scored three runs in the first inning and held on to beat the home-standing Alexandria Aces 4-3 on Tuesday. The win moves the Grays back to .500 at 17-17 before the all-star break.
The Grays got off to a hot start in this one when Jud Sherrill (Alabama-Huntsville), Greg Olenski (Delaware), and Peyton Fuller (Troy University) all recorded RBI hits in the top of the first, giving starter Tom Murphy (Williams College) a three-run cushion before he even took the mound. Murphy pitched well, battling through 5.2 innings but giving up single runs in the first, third and sixth and leaving with the game tied at three. Jayson Yano (Stevens Tech) then got the call from manager Arlan Freeman and responded brilliantly, pitching 2.1 innings of one-hit relief while striking out four. Meanwhile, the Grays offense took the lead back in the eighth when Fuller and Casey Hicks (Gallaudet) walked with one out, center fielder Eric Ramsey (Wake Forest) reached on a mishandled bunt, and shortstop DJ Miller (Delaware State) grounded out, scoring Fuller. Yano shut down the Aces in the bottom of the eighth, and Chris Nee (Catholic) did the same in the ninth, as the Grays moved into sixth place in the Ripken League.
The Ripken League all-star game is on Wednesday, July 17th at 7:30 pm at Shirley Povich Field in Bethesda, Maryland. Greg Olenski, Cody Walker, Mitch Leeds, and Henry Sisson will represent the Grays on the South Division team.
The Grays play next on Thursday, July 18th at 7:00 pm against the Vienna River Dogs at James Madison High School in Vienna, Virginia.
Andrew Houghton 7/14/13
Outfielder Greg Olenski (Maryland), catcher Cody Walker (Mississippi State), and pitchers Mitch Leeds (Lafayette) and Henry Sisson (North Carolina) will be the Grays representatives to the Cal Ripken League all-star game on July 17th at Shirley Povich Field in Bethesda, Maryland. They will play for the South Division team.
Olenski has been one of the league’s best hitters this season, leading the circuit in RBIs and placing second in home runs so far. With an even .500 slugging percentage, he has been a constant source of power in the middle of the Grays lineup.
Walker is also a great hitter, leading the team with a .321 batting average and .840 OPS. However, it would be wrong to overlook his defense, as his laser throws to the bases and receiving skills have helped his pitchers out of many a jam and marked him as one of the best all-around players in the league.
Leeds has been one of the league’s premier pitchers so far, as his five wins in seven appearances have tied him for the league lead. With his four-pitch mix, Leeds has kept batters off balance to the tune of a 2.48 ERA in 36.1 innings, recording 27 strikeouts against just 11 walks.
Sisson, meanwhile, has been the workhorse for the Grays, taking the ball on Opening Day and never stopping as he has logged a league-leading 43.2 innings in his seven appearances. His 2-3 win-loss record doesn’t paint an accurate picture of his performance, as he has recorded a 2.27 ERA on the season.
Andrew Houghton 7/14/13
Chris Bzozowski (Keystone College) hit a walk-off single for the Grays in the bottom of the tenth inning on Sunday as they beat the Vienna River Dogs 5-4 at Hoy Field. The dramatic victory moved the Grays to 16-17 on the season.
After the first three batters reached in the tenth to load the bases, Bzozowski’s softly hit ground ball trickled just inside the first base line, scoring pinch runner Jacob Williams (George Washington) from third.
The River Dogs had looked to have the game in hand with a 4-2 lead and two outs in the bottom of the ninth but pinch hitter Harrison Farmer (Furman) sliced a 3-2 pitch down the first base line to score two runs for the Grays and send the game to extras. Colin Kelly (Catholic University) got the start for the Grays and held the River Dogs in check for nine innings. Reliever Sherman Graves (Savannah State) got the win, as he pitched a spotless top of the tenth to set the stage for Bzozowski’s walk-off.
The Grays play next on Tuesday, July 16th at 7:00 pm against the Alexandria Aces at Frank Mann Field in Alexandria, Virginia.
The Grays and the Baltimore Presstman Cardinals were both featured in this recent Baltimore Post-Examiner article stressing both teams efforts to give African-American ball players an opportunity to play in a highly competitive league.
Read the article here.
Andrew Houghton 7/13/13
The Grays split two close games with the Gaithersburg Giants on Saturday, losing the first 4-3 and then winning the nightcap 6-5 at Kelley Park to move to 14-17 on the season. Henry Sisson (North Carolina) started for the Grays and pitched well early, matching zeroes with Giants starter Connor Hibbs (Delaware) through three innings before giving up two runs on three hits in the fourth. The Grays got them back the very next inning though, scoring two runs of their own on an RBI single by Brandon Kiser (Grambling State) and a sac fly by Kelton Caldwell (BYU) to force Hibbs’ exit. Sisson stayed in the game but gave up the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth as the Giants successfully pulled off a double steal with runners on first and third, the lead runner sliding across the plate before the out was recorded at second. With time growing short (doubleheaders in the Ripken League are two games of seven innings each), the Grays clawed back again to tie it in the top of the sixth when Peyton Fuller (Troy University) singled to left with the bases loaded. The score remained knotted at three until the bottom of the seventh, when with two outs Sisson gave up a walk and a single to load the bases, and then a walk-off single to left by Gaithersburg second baseman Josh Ingham (Central Connecticut State) to end the game.
The Grays would fight back in the second game though. After their starter Enrique Oquendo (McLennan CC) was battered around for three runs in the bottom of the first, the Grays offense responded with four in the top of the second, with Peyton Fuller (Troy University) hitting a two-run single and Casey Hicks (Gallaudet) hitting his second home run of the week, a two-run shot that put the Grays ahead 4-3. But it wouldn’t last as the Giants scored single runs in the second inning off Oquendo and in the third off reliever Jayson Yano (Stevens Tech) to take the lead back. Yano and fellow reliever Chris Nee (Catholic University) held them there, however, and the Grays tied it up in the fifth when Kelton Caldwell (BYU) doubled and scored on Cody Walker’s (Mississippi State) RBI single. After scoreless frames for each side, Hicks singled to open the top of the seventh for the Grays. Pinch runner Brandon Kiser (Grambling State) was picked off first base, but center fielder Eric Ramsey (Wake Forest) doubled two pitches later and scored when shortstop DJ Miller (Delaware State) reached on an error to give the Grays a 6-5 lead. Nee then shut the Giants down in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the slim one-run lead and give the Grays the victory.
The Grays play next on Sunday, July 14th at 1:00 pm against the Vienna River Dogs at Hoy Field on the campus of Gallaudet University.
Andrew Houghton 7/12/13
The Grays lost 7-1 to the Baltimore Redbirds at Carl Crispino Field on Friday, as the offense once again struggled to score. The Redbirds took full advantage, dropping the Grays to 14-16 on the season.
Baltimore jumped on Grays starter Jacob Williams (George Washington) early, scoring three in the first on a home run by designated hitter RJ Dennard (Armstrong Atlantic State). Williams settled down from there, not allowing another run until the fifth. Redbirds starter Pete Macke (Pittsburgh) held the Grays hitless until the sixth, when Jud Sherrill (Alabama-Huntsville) singled with one out and Chris Bzozowski (Keystone College) doubled him home two pitches later to chase Macke from the game. That was it for the Grays though, as two Baltimore relievers combined to allow no baserunners over the last 3.2 innings to finish the two-hitter.
The Grays play a double-header on Saturday, July 13th against the Gaithersburg Giants at Kelley Park in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The first game starts at 3:00pm.