Local baseball groups, veterans to be honored
The DC Grays have scheduled a series of tributes to community leaders for its Home Opening Weekend, as DC’s summer college baseball team starts its 2015 Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League season. The Grays’ season begins on Wednesday, June 3 with three straight road games before the Grays come home to the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy for games on Saturday, June 6 and Sunday June 7.
On Saturday, June 6 before its 7:00pm game with the defending league champion Baltimore Redbirds, the Grays will honor it’s “DC Youth Baseball Partners in Progress.” Players and coaches from three youth baseball organizations from “east of the river” – Mamie Johnson Little League, Southern District Little League and DC Knights Baseball – will be on hand to celebrate local youth baseball with the Grays. Players from the leagues – all of which play games at the Academy – will be treated to free hot dogs and sodas, courtesy of the Grays, and will go out on the field with the Grays players before the game. Players will also serve as Grays batboys during the game.
Also, prior to the first pitch that night, the Grays will honor the founders and board members of the Urban Baseball Foundation – a charity that has quietly funded baseball initiatives around the city since 2010. The UBF has donated thousands of dollars to fledging community baseball efforts around Washington – including efforts to start Mamie Johnson Little League and Southern District Little League. The Grays want to honor the leaders of this remarkable organization for the quiet work they have done to support youth baseball east of the river.
“Youth baseball is making a comeback east of the river,” said Paris Inman, community outreach director for the DC Grays and himself a longtime local Little League coach and volunteer. “The DC Grays want to be ‘ambassadors for baseball’ in Washington, DC and we are proud to join with the local Little Leagues, our partners at the National Youth Academy, and the UBF to bring baseball back to inner-city Washington.”
On Sunday, June 7 the Grays will host America’s veterans for the Grays 1:00pm game against the Baltimore Dodgers. In cooperation with Phoenix Bat Company, the Grays will host veterans from the U.S Soldiers and Airmen’s Home in Northwest Washington. The Soldiers and Airmen’s Home, also known as the Armed Forces Retirement Home – Washington, is home to 1,300 veterans with an average age of over 80. Many of these American heroes grew up in the Washington area and are longtime baseball fans – many can remember watching the old Negro League champion Homestead Grays (the namesake of today’s DC Grays) play at Griffith Stadium in the 1930’s and 1940’s.
“We are thrilled to honor these veterans from the Washington area,” said Michael Barbera, president of DC Grays Baseball. “It will be wonderful for our players to meet these American heroes, and for all of us to be able to thank them for their service.”
The DC Grays are a member of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League – one of the premier summer wood-bat college leagues in the country. The Grays roster is made up of top college players from around the country, who come to Washington to play championship caliber baseball and to experience the history and culture that only can be found in America’s capital city. The DC Grays are overseen by DC Grays Baseball, a 501c3 non-profit organization that is led by an all-volunteer board of directors. The Grays aim to be “ambassadors for baseball” in Washington, DC. The team hosts free baseball and softball clinics for youngsters from all over DC. The Grays are proud to play their home games at the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy. Admission is free to all Grays home games.
The DC Grays made great strides in their mission to be “ambassadors for baseball” in Washington DC when the team participated in the Washington Nationals Fan Fest at the Walter Washington Convention Center on Saturday, December 13. Members of the board of directors of DC Grays Baseball, and the Grays new manager Reggie Terry, interacted with hundreds of local baseball fans throughout the day. The Grays handed out souvenir hats, cinch-bag backpacks, and team schedules for 2015. Reggie Terry and board member Brad Burris assisted with youth baseball clinics organized by the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy. The Grays were invited to participate in Fan Fest by the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy – where the Grays play their regular season home games.
In the photos shown below, DC Grays board members Chris Spera, Thom Loverro and Mike Nannes talk to fans about the Grays and their mission to promote inner-city baseball in Washington DC.
By: Grays Press
Joe Donino, a pitching ace for the DC Grays in their 2012 inaugural season in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, has signed a professional contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Donino is the first Grays player ever to sign a professional contract with an MLB-affiliated club.
After compiling a 10-4 record and a 3.94 ERA in his college career at Columbia University, Donino spent the summer of 2014 pitching professionally for the Rockland Boulders of the Can-Am League. He finished with a 5-4 record and a 4.31 ERA. He helped lead the Boulders to their first-ever Can-Am League championship. He was signed by the Diamondbacks at the conclusion of the season.
Pitching for the DC Grays in the summer of 2012, Donino was one of the top pitchers in the Ripken League. He lead the Grays in games started (7), innings pitched (47.2) and strikeouts (50). He pitched much better than his 1-3 record – his 4.15 ERA was good for tenth in the league.
All DC Grays fans will be following Joe’s professional career closely, and we look forward to seeing him in a Diamondbacks uniform soon!
Here are some press articles about Donino’s signing:
By: Grays Press
The DC Grays are pleased to announce that three of its players were named to the 2014 All-League team for the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League.
Slugging Grays first baseman Webb Bobo (Southeast Louisiana) was named to the All-League first team. Webb led the Ripken League in hitting, scorching the ball for a .365 average to go with 3 homers and 20 runs batted in. Bobo, who was selected for the Ripken League all-star game, is the first DC Grays player to lead the league in batting.
The Grays not only boasted one of the league’s best hitters, but also the league’s top closer. Relief pitcher James Lengal (BYU) lead the league in saves, converting all eight of his save chances — and was named to the All-League second team. Lengal, one of the hardest throwers in the league, struck out 12 batters in 10.2 innings, and had a microscopic 0.84 ERA for the season.
Speedy center fielder Trae Sweeting (Georgia State) was named to the honorable mention All-League team. Sweeting, who batted .307, was second in the league in steals with 23 on the season. He was selected for the Ripken League all-star game.
“These three players were simply outstanding for the DC Grays this season,” said General Manager Antonio Scott. “They were great players on the field, but more importantly they are also fine young men. They represented their families, their colleges and the DC Grays with class and distinction. We thank Webb, James and Trae for spending the summer with us, and we congratulate them on a job well done.”
The DC Grays finished the 2014 season with a 15-25 record, good enough for 9th place in the 11-team league.
By: Grays Press
The DC Grays’ overall record and ninth place finish we’re disappointing to the team and it’s fans, but two Grays players distinguished themselves as among the very best in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League.
Slugging Grays first baseman Webb Bobo (Southeast Louisiana) led the Ripken League in hitting, scorching the ball for a .365 average to go with 3 homers and 20 runs batted in. Bobo, who was selected for the Ripken League all-star game, is the first DC Grays player to lead the league in batting. The Grays have been playing in the Ripken League since 2012.
The Grays not only boasted one of the league’s best hitters, but also the league’s top closer. Relief pitcher James Lengal (BYU) lead the league in saves, converting all eight of his save chances.
Lengal, one of the hardest throwers in the league, struck out 12 batters in 10.2 innings, and had a microscopic 0.84 ERA for the season.
“Both Webb and James were truly outstanding this season,” said Grays General Manager Antonio Scott. “They are terrific ballplayers, but more important they are fine young men. They represented themselves, their college programs, and the DC Grays with distinction. We are very proud of them.”
By: Anna Dunlavey
The DC Grays went out with a win. The Grays defeated the home standing Alexandria Aces 5-3 in their final game of the season Saturday night. The win brings their season record to 15-25, and they finished in ninth place in the eleven-team Ripken League.
Max Kaplow (George Washington) pitched his second 7+inning game of the week. Kaplow gave up the three runs on seven hits, and had four strikeouts. Jay Graham (Dartmouth), who started the night at first base, relieved Kaplow in the top of the eighth with no outs. As a pitcher, he gave up no runs or hits. As a batter, he drove in three of the Grays’ five runs. The other two were driven in by Webb Bobo (Southeastern Louisiana) in a game-tying two-run home run. Bobo ends the regular season with the highest batting average in the Ripken League. Bobo’s fellow All-Star team member Trae Sweeting (Georgia State) also hit a milestone last night. In the first inning, Sweeting successfully stole his 24th base of the season.
The Aces scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the second, but the Grays immediately answered back. After Sweeting walked and Lucas Martinez (New Mexico State) was hit by a pitch, Bobo singled to load the bases with no outs. Graham then drove in Sweeting with a sacrifice fly to tie the game.
The score remained tied until the bottom of the fifth, when the Aces scored two runs with two outs in that inning to make the score 3-1.
In the top of the seventh, after a base hit from Max Geller (Santa Fe), Bobo blasted his third home run of the season, and second two-run homer in a week, to tie the game again. The game stayed tied until the top of the ninth, when the Grays struck again. After Geller hit a double, Sweeting drew a walk and Bobo was intentionally walked. The bases were loaded for Graham, who ripped a double down the third base line to give the Grays the 5-3 lead. Graham then pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth for the win, his first of the season.
This game concludes the Grays’ 2014 season. Thank you for following the DC Grays this summer, and we will see you next year.
By: Anna Dunlavey
The DC Grays came back from a four-run deficit on the road last night to beat the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts 10-8 in their penultimate game of the 2014 season. The Grays’ record has now improved to 14-25 as they head to their final game on Saturday.
The game definitely started in favor of the T-Bolts, who scored three runs in the second inning and one run in the fourth before the Grays could even get on the board. The Grays’ luck began to turn late in the game, in the top of the sixth. Jay Graham (Dartmouth) got the inning started with a single, and Joe Tietjen (UNC-Asheville) immediately followed with a walk. Then, Brandon Chapman (George Washington) blasted a double to score both, cutting the T-Bolts’ four run lead in half.
The Grays took the lead for themselves in the top of the seventh. Lucas Martinez (New Mexico State) walked and Webb Bobo (Southeastern Louisiana) singled to start the inning. Graham then hit the ball back to the pitcher, but an overthrow at second meant that Graham was safe at first and Martinez was able to score. After Tietjen walked to load the bases, Chapman singled, scoring Bobo with the tying run. A sacrifice fly from Eric Urry (Brigham Young) scored Graham to give the Grays a 5-4 lead. During the next at bat, Chapman and Tietjen stole second and third, respectively, and an overthrow by the catcher allowed Tietjen to score the fourth run of the inning.
The Grays continued to increase the lead in the later innings. In the eighth, after Michael Breen (San Jose State) singled and Bobo walked, Graham hit a double to deep centerfield to score them both. Tietjen doubled to score Graham.
Although the Grays had the lead 9-4, the T-Bolts came back to score four runs in the bottom of the eighth to make it a one-run game going into the ninth.
The Grays got an insurance run in the 9th. Urry walked, reached second on a wild pitch, and took third on a balk. Aaron Tovsky (Davidson) then drove him in for the Grays’ tenth and final run of the game.
Ari Kaufman (Lafayette) had his first start of the season last night. He pitched 3.2 innings and gave up four runs on eleven hits. Harry Thomas (Delaware) relieved him during the fourth inning, and gave up one hit and no runs in his 3.1 innings of work. Thomas also had six strikeouts, the most he has had in a single game this season, and was credited with the win, which was his first of the season. TJ Maioriano (University of the Sciences-Philadelphia) came out in the top of the eighth, and gave up four runs on three hits. Tovsky, who had been at third base to start the game, finished pitching the eighth, and gave up one hit and no runs. James Lengal (Brigham Young) got his eighth save of the season after he pitched the ninth. He gave up no hits or runs, struck out two, and lowered his ERA to 0.84.
Tonight, the Grays will play their final game of the 2014 season in Alexandria against the Aces. Max Kaplow (George Washington) is the expected starting pitcher for the Grays.
By: Anna Dunlavey
The DC Grays and the Rockville Express kept last night’s game close the whole way through, but in the end, the Express prevailed. The Grays dropped their final home game of the season 5-4, and their record for the season goes to 13-25.
The Grays took the early lead. In the bottom of the first, leadoff hitter Trae Sweeting (Georgia State) was hit by a pitch and stole second. Desmond Stegall’s (Grambling State) two out double scored Sweeting for a 1-0 Grays lead.
The Express tied the game up in the top of the second, and after scoreless third and fourth innings, the Grays took the lead again in the bottom of the fifth. David Kimbrough (Delaware State) singled, and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Austin Sanders (University of Alabama-Huntsville) then walked. Webb Bobo (Southeast Louisiana) singled, scoring Kimbrough. Sanders was called out at the plate to end the inning.
The top of the seventh was when things began to turn sour for the Grays. Jay Graham (Dartmouth) was called in to relive starting pitcher Caleb Evans (Liberty) in the middle of a bases loaded jam with no outs. Three Express runs ended up scoring before the Grays could make it out of the inning, turning the score to 4-2 in favor of the Express.
In the bottom of the inning, however, the Grays tied the score again, thanks to a clutch two-run homer by Bobo.
Graham was in a jam once again in the top of the eighth, when two singles and an intentional walk loaded the bases with no outs. After another Express run scored on a bases loaded walk, Harry Thomas (Delaware State) came out to relieve Graham. A fly out to third and a double play at home plate and first base ended the half-inning. Although no more Express runs scored under Thomas’ watch, the Grays were unable to score any runs of their own.
Evans, in his first start of the season, pitched six-plus innings and gave up four runs on three hits. Graham pitched one complete inning, giving up one run on three hits, and was tagged with the loss. Thomas pitched two complete innings, and gave up one run.
Tonight, the Grays will head up to Silver Spring to play the Thunderbolts in their second to last game of the season. Ari Kaufman (Lafayette) is the expected starting pitcher for the Grays.
By: Anna Dunlavey
The DC Grays played their next-to-last home game of the season on Wednesday, and fortunately, it ended in a win. The Grays beat the Baltimore Dodgers 4-2, and have now notched at least one win against every team in this year’s Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League. Their record also improved to 13-24 on the season.
The Dodgers were the first team to score. Starting pitcher Colin Kelly (Catholic) walked the leadoff batter of the second inning, his first walk of the game, and after a passed ball and a single, that batter was brought home. The Grays were sent down in order in the bottom of the inning, and no runs were scored in the third.
The Grays finally fired back in the bottom of the fourth inning, when eight batters came to the plate. The inning’s first three batters, Jay Graham (Dartmouth), Lucas Martinez (New Mexico State) and Desmond Stegall (Grambling State) all singled to load the bases with no outs. Joe Tietjen (UNC-Asheville then hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Graham and tying the game. A single from Austin Sanders (University of Alabama-Huntsville) loaded the bases again. Both Martinez and Stegall scored on a single from Trae Sweeting (Georgia State). At the end of four, the score was 3-1 Grays.
The Dodgers scored their second run of the game in the top of the fifth, reducing the Grays’ lead to one run. In the bottom of the eighth, the Grays struck again. With two outs, Tietjen and Sanders both walked. Then Michael Breen (San Jose State) hit a double to right that just barely stayed fair. It’s a good thing it did—Breen brought Tietjen around to score the insurance run and make the score 4-2, which is where it stayed.
Kelly pitched eight innings, his longest outing of the season, and gave up two runs on six hits. James Lengal (Brigham Young) pitched the ninth and got the save. He gave up one hit, but his ERA decreased to 0.93, one of the lowest in the league.
Thursday will be the Grays final home game at the Nationals Youth Academy this year. They will take on the Rockville Express, and Joe Kinee (West Chester) is the Grays’ expected starting pitcher.
By: Anna Dunlavey
Last night, one of the sponsors of the DC Grays, The Amway Corporation, hosted a reception at the company’s townhouse on Capitol Hill to acknowledge the Grays and the work the team has done to promote baseball in inner-city Washington DC.
The Grays organization has aspired to be “ambassadors for baseball” at their new home stadium, the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, and several Members of Congress attended a Capitol Hill reception in the Grays’ honor.
Many members of Congress attended the reception as well. Congressman Lou Barletta (R-PA), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA), Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA) were all present at the event. Norton was a major force behind the construction of the Nationals Academy, and last night she was finally able to meet the Grays, the first summer college baseball team to call the facility home.
The Grays have four more games before the end of the season, two at home and two away. The penultimate home game will be played tonight, against the Baltimore Dodgers.
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