Even after suffering its first loss of the season in embarrassing fashion, Falls Church Post 130 is still poised to lock up an American Legion District 17 regular season championship, provided that the squad wins one of its final two games.
On Tuesday night, Post 130 suffered a setback in its quest for the title, dropping both ends of a two-game stint with Alexandria Post 24. Just hours before getting three-hit and crushed 17-0, Falls Church fell in the 11th inning of a continuation game.
After the June 13 contest ended in the bottom of the ninth due to lightning, Post 24 picked up action Tuesday at Hayfield High School with runners on first and second. Falls Church reliever Kevin Nutter induced a double-play ball to third baseman Mike Straub to get out of the jam. Post 24 ended the game innings later on a two-out bunt single, winning 6-5.
In the game that shortly followed Alexandria’s walk-off win, Falls Church succumbed to a stellar outing by West Potomac graduate Danny Peterson. Peterson struck out the first two batters of the game and never looked back, rolling to a seven-inning, 12-strikeout win in a contest shortened by slaughter rule.
Post 130 was held hitless until the third inning when Danny Zdancewicz doubled off the glove of Post 24’s centerfielder. Falls Church never seriously threatened to challenge Alexandria’s lead, as just four runners reached base.
With Falls Church’s top pitchers resting, Post 24 took advantage of a young staff, plating a pair in the bottom of the first off a two-run blast to left center. Alexandria scored six in the second frame and seven in the fourth to surge ahead, never looking back. Not until Post 130’s pitcher Michael Nassoy took the mound did the bleeding for Falls Church stop.
The 17-0 loss blemishes an otherwise stellar record for Falls Church (16-4). On Sunday, Falls Church moved its magic number down to one with a gritty 9-7 win over Springfield Post 176. Springfield, who on June 27 dealt Post 130 one of its four losses, fell victim to an early offensive surge by Falls Church and Nutter’s lockdown pitching.
Nutter, a 2009 Marshall graduate who will attend William and Mary in the fall, hit two home runs and stifled a late Post 176 rally on the mound. Nutter finished with four hits while first baseman Andrew Lieber, who recently graduated from George Mason, blasted his first four-bagger of the season.
Greg Goldsmith started on the mound for Falls Church, working 6.1 innings and striking out five. However, he left in the seventh, a frame in which Springfield plated six runs to mount a comeback. Nutter, though, worked out of the jam, striking out five over 2.2 innings of work.
Just the day before, Falls Church swept a doubleheader at Marshall High School against Chantilly Post 1995. Lynchburg College pitcher Mike Straub worked the full seven innings in the first game, striking out 12. Lonnie Millard drove in four runs for Falls Church, who won 8-5.
In the nightcap, Justin Britt got the win for Falls Church, scattering three hits and one walk over four innings of work in the 12-0 effort. Dan Falkenstern, a recent Stuart High graduate, pitched two perfect innings. Nutter drove in five runs on a pair of doubles to lead the offense.
Falls Church will need one of the following to happen in order to lock up the district title: a win in Wednesday’s game against Post 1995, – for which results were not available at press time – a victory on Thursday versus Vienna Post 180, or a loss on Wednesday by Arlington Post 139.
Regardless of whether or not Post 130 wraps up the regular season championship, it has clinched a first-round bye in next week’s District 17 double-elimination tournament.