In a contest featuring the top two teams in the American Legion 17th District, Falls Church Post 130 topped Arlington Post 139 13-5 at Marshall High School on Sunday.
The 18 combined runs in the game showed an entirely different brand of baseball, compared to the last time the teams met. Just two weeks prior, Falls Church needed a three-run ninth to come back to edge out Arlington 6-5 on a game-ending error.
On Sunday, Post 139 quickly broke the game open in the top of the first, scoring five runs. A three-run homer by designated hitter Matt Demsky and RBI doubles by Tim Edwards and Jeremy Seipp led to an early exit for Justin Britt, Post 130’s starting pitcher.
Falls Church responded in kind in the bottom of the frame with four runs of its own. Kevin Nutter smacked a lead-off home run over the left-centerfield fence before Alex Prewitt, Lonnie Millard, Greg Goldsmith and Mike Straub strung together four consecutive base hits, narrowing Arlington’s lead to one.
After the five-run first inning, Post 130 managed to shut down the Arlington bats for the final eight innings thanks to dominant pitching performances by Mike Straub and Walter Beck.
“It didn’t really cross my mind at first how much I was about to be needed,” said Straub who earned the win pitching six shutout innings in relief. “I just figured I would go in there and do my thing, and try and shut those guys down long enough for us to walk away with a win. I threw a lot of first pitch strikes which helped just put me in the position to throw my out pitches.”
While Straub and Beck, who pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth for Post 130, kept the Arlington offense off the board, the Falls Church offense continued to produce. Lonnie Millard, who hit his first career home run in Saturday’s All-Star Game at Waters Field, followed it up on Sunday with a blast over Marshall’s short porch in right-center.
“One through nine, everyone hits the ball, there’s no one that doesn’t know their job and get it done,” Millard said. “A strong part of that is Nutter leading us off. He’s always on base three quarters of the time it seems like, and he’s our spark at the top.”
On Tuesday, Post 130 again asserted its offensive prowess, using an 11-run third inning to blow the contest wide open against third-place Vienna Post 180 at Oakton High School, winning 14-9.
Falls Church took advantage of six Vienna errors and, while it was out hit 16-13, rode timely RBIs and solid efforts on the mound from Goldsmith and Justin Britt to its second win of the year against 180. Nutter and J.E.B. Stuart’s Dan Falkenstern each had three hits, while Millard and Falkenstern drove in three runs apiece.
With this week’s two wins, Falls Church improved to 13-2 overall, and remained atop the district standings. Post 130 has six games left in its schedule, including a July 12 against Springfield Post 176, one of two teams to have beaten Falls Church this year.