Falls Church opened its spring baseball season with a spirited celebration of the league’s 60th anniversary. On hand at Westgate Park to help initiate the season were Falls Church Mayor Robin Gardner, Delegate Jim Scott and more than 425 young players ranging in ages from 6-12.
League President Cheryl McMillen welcomed the visiting dignitaries, players and their families by reminding them that Falls Church is the oldest league in the state of Virginia.
“These young athletes exemplify what is best about our community and our country,” McMillen said, addressing the crowd. “The skills and character they develop while playing Little League baseball will serve them well as they have move on in life. We are proud of all of them.”
Filling up the entire field in their colorful uniforms, the young players responded enthusiastically when several veterans of the league, now all playing on areas high school teams, were introduced, including David Roffman (McLean High School); Justin Britt, Charlie Ashley and Austin McNabb (Marshall High School); Ethan Harris (Falls Church High School); and Alex Prewitt, Ted Peetz, Mike Straub and Peter Campanelli (George Mason High School).
Nationals vs. Red Sox
On April 12, 2008, the Nationals won their home opener 16-2 against the Red Sox. Ethan Anderson started for the Nats, yielding only two runs on two hits. Anderson was also 2-for-3 at the plate, including a double. Daniel Butler provided strong relief pitching, striking out six while facing only 10 batters over three innings. Nick Roberson went 2-for-4, with a double and scoring three runs. Jesse Jones provided the defensive highlight with a slap tag at second base on a throw from Butler, thwarting an attempted steal and potential Red Sox rally. For the Sox, Ted Tewilliger pitched well in relief, yielding one run over two and two-thirds innings, while striking out three.
Orioles vs. Yankees
The Orioles prevailed 3-1 over the Yankees in the season opener. Alex Handley pitched five strong innings to earn the win, allowing only one run on a hit and two walks. Yankees' starting pitcher Jon Strader pitched out of bases loaded jams in the first and fourth innings allowing only one run. Will Bernicke led off the Orioles' half of the fifth inning with a triple and Conor Boyle and Handley followed with singles to bring the Orioles score to three runs. Marcus Bunaugh pitched a scoreless sixth inning giving up only one single to Alex McMillan to earn the save for the Orioles.
Cubs vs. A’s
The last game of the FCKLL Opening Day 60th Anniversary Celebration ended in grand fashion as the Cubs defeated the A's 9-8, providing plenty of excitement for the local fans.
The A's were led offensively by David Mathis and Maggie Goldsmith who each produced a single and RBI doubles. Matt Ledder and Aidan Fitzpatrick also each sparked the A's offense contributing a base hit and scoring two runs apiece. The Cubs were bolstered by starting pitcher Austen Adcock who gave up just three runs over four innings and closing pitcher Will Iacobucci. Offensively, the Cubs were led by the bat of second baseman Daniel Anderson who had two singles and a triple and catcher Vincent Kanyan with two line drive doubles. Defensively, the Cubs used key plays by catcher Ben Torpey and shortstop Daniel Schlitt to end the A's last inning rally. First baseman Ryan Leonard put the Cubs on the scoreboard in the 2nd inning by smacking a solo home run to right center field for his first career home run and the first of this FCKLL season.
Raptors vs. Express
The Raptors emerged with an 11-9 win over the Express in an opening day slugfest that lasted five innings and featured thrilling plays by both teams, including a double play by the Express in the second inning. Nick Haddock led the Raptors offensively and defensively, scoring three runs and hitting a crucial double in the fifth inning. Hopes of a comeback by the Express were dashed in the bottom of the fifth, when pitcher Diego Joaquin combined with first baseman Ryan Barrett for the final out at first.