Several rain outs and a 1-4 start have provided for a disappointing beginning to the summer for a talented Falls Church Post 130 American Legion team.
The team stumbled out of the gates mainly because of players being unable to attend games due to graduation events, college visits and other player vacations. Head coach Frank Solomon has been forced to mix-and-match lineups, making do with the players he has on a given day.
In addition to players missing games, ace pitcher Byron Mendenhall had to quit the team prior to the season opener because of conflict with his college workout program. Mendenhall had an outstanding freshman season for Randolph Macon College this spring going 7-1 with a 2.33 ERA. His sizzling cutter, and uncanny feel for the strike zone were expected to dominate opposing hitters this summer in the 17th Legion district.
“This hurt us because at this stage in the season, we were unable to replace him because most players are committed to other teams,” Solomon said about the loss of his ace.
With the loss of Mendenhall, Solomon will be heavily relying on another college pitcher in David Acosta. Acosta graduated from Falls Church High School in 2007, and pitched for Christopher Newport University this spring. He has stepped in as the anchor of the pitching staff, and has taken the role pretty well.
“David Acosta stands out because he has made all of the games and has pitched very well in his starts,” said Solomon.
George Mason High graduate Mike Straub and Marshall graduate Justin Britt will be the other two starters for Falls Church Post 130, with Marshall senior Greg Goldsmith as the primary reliever.
Despite the star-studded pitching staff, the team has lost four out of their first five games chiefly because of their offense. The offense has struggled to string hits together, and put up runs in bunches.
“Right now [hitting] is our weakness. We are not hitting very well as a team, and I really can’t name a best hitter. We have had some great one game performances by players like David Acosta hitting two home runs in one game, and Daniel Blakely going three for four with a single, double and a triple in another game. However, we just have not had enough of these performances,” said Solomon on the offensive woes.
While the rain may never stop this summer, things are expected to clear up for Falls Church Post 130. The offense is on the verge of breaking through, and the pitching seems poised to be dominant. When asked about his expectations, an optimistic Solomon said, “Our future looks great. We will get better. We will soon have everyone back and our pitching rotation will be set. When we start hitting, we will begin to increase the number in the win column.”