Traditionally, the host team for the Babe Ruth State Tournament in Virginia receives an automatic bid to the prestigious playoffs. This year, as it turns out, the 13-year-old team representing host Falls Church-Annandale did not even need the free pass to the tournament, as they swept two games from Greater Fairfax last weekend to take the District 6 Prep League title.
In the first of two meetings in the tournament between the two powerhouse squads, FC-A downed Fairfax 4-3 in eight innings.
With the tie knotted at three runs apiece through the regulation seven innings, Falls Church-Annandale’s aggressive Colin Martin took matters into his own hands. After turning an infield roller into a single, Martin promptly swiped second to put the go-ahead run into scoring position.
Just moments later, Andrew Bladen plated Martin on a liner to left field, ultimately winning the game for the host team.
In the bottom of the eighth, stalwart defense by the “Big Green” shut the door on any scoring attempts Fairfax could muster. FC-A centerfielder Tom Terwilliger tracked down a pair of fly balls in the inning, while teammate catcher Tyler Duncan gunned a Fairfax runner down at second base to end the game.
David Peterson started on the mound for FC-A and went six innings, scattering six hits to surround six strikeouts while effectively neutralizing the Fairfax bats. Bladen pitched the final two innings, shutting out Fairfax to earn the win on the mound as well.
Fairfax jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but FC-A scored in both the second and fourth innings when Kellie Duncan drove in runs with well placed shots to right field. A RBI single by Mikey Ferguson in the fifth gave FC-A the lead, but Fairfax promptly answered back in the bottom half of the frame, tying the game at three.
The nine-hit FC-A attack was led by Terwilliger and Jon Freeman, with two hits apiece.
Just a day later, the two teams met again, but this time, the District title was on the line.
Fairfax started off strong, as a leadoff triple and a subsequent single gave them the lead in the top half of the first inning. However, their rally was effectively stifled, aided in part by an impressive unassisted triple play by Peterson, the FC-A shortstop.
After that, Fairfax managed only one more run against FC-A’s starting pitcher Bladen, who continued his outstanding tournament on the hill with a victory, throwing a five-hitter and striking out seven. Closer Kellie Duncan pitched a shutout sixth inning to seal the 9-4 championship victory for FC-A.
FC-A scored a pair of runs in the first inning on a Freeman single and doubles by Bladen and Ferguson. Another run came in the second inning when Ethan Leventhal singled and Freeman drove him home with a shot to right.
The Big Green stretched its lead to 7-2 in the third inning, when a Tyler Duncan sacrifice fly to left scored his cousin Kellie. Robbie Clark scored on a double by Alex Suarez, who scored on a bunt single by Leventhal, who in turn was plated by Freeman.
Freeman’s career day continued in the fifth, as he drove in Clark to push the lead for FC-A to 8-2. Freeman went a perfect 4-4 on the day to aid FC-A’s total of 11 hits in the bombardment of Fairfax.
FC-A will do battle in the State Tourney opener, at 11 a.m. Thursday, against District 5 champion Lane League, of Charlottesville-Albemarle. As FC-A is the host team for states, the tournament will be played at Annandale High School from July 19-24.
Note: Eight of the team's 13 players are alumni of the Falls Church Kiwanis Little League, which in 2005 and 2006 won the Little League District 4 championship and played at states. Tyler Duncan and Peterson were on both the '05 and '06 FCKLL title teams; Clark, Ferguson, Freeman, Terwilliger, William Nixon and Mike Pacheco were on the '06 squad.