Cal Ripken League.. Alexandria Aces Have A Charged Battery
Having a name that everyone can recognize is the goal of every business. So when people read about the Cal Ripken League, there is an irresistible pull of memories for those who can appreciate the legacy that the father and son combination built as major league baseball icons. As a Collegiate Summer League, it carries the same aura of progress and excellence as did the hardworking shortstop Ripken Jr, and the highly demanding manager that was Ripken Sr. The story starts and ends in the city of Baltimore where both the league is headquartered, and the Ripken duo created their mystique. In the new summer of ’10, the Cal Ripken League is as prominent as they come, with the Youses Orioles leading the league in the standings with a winning percentage of .667 and the Alexandria Aces sitting with what would seem like a dull record of 4-4 in 4th place. But interesting things come about in life as in baseball with just a little imagination.
The battery of a baseball club is like the backbone of a human torso. Amazing pitchers connect with a trustworthy catcher, and as magic is dazzled in the 90 feet of space between the mound and home plate, stories mix in hearts and minds alike. The Alexandria Aces have an All-Ivy League Honorable Mention junior behind the plate that is leading the league in hitting 8 games into the season. Will Davis started the year in the spring with the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania. Although his batting average was only .281, he had a Slugging Percentage of .615 which was the second highest on the team, and his 12 homeruns were #1 in the team. Enter summer ’10; Davis is catching for the Aces and has officially climbed to the top of the entire league in batting. In his last two games he’s gone 6 for 8 and pushed his batting average to .483 as he passed up league mate Mark Rhine. As a catcher, the biggest responsibly is to learn how to handle the best pitchers, and to give experienced instruction and inspiration to pitchers still growing. Will Davis is performing just that task.
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The Aces are showcasing a talented junior pitcher named Max Knowles. He comes to the Aces via N.C Wesleyan University where he struggled with a 3-4 record and an ERA of 3.69. He allowed an excessive 77 hits in his 63.1 innings of work, and despite having thrown a complete game; his losing record is indicative of a pitcher missing his spots or of a lack of movement on his pitches. Once again, a summer league swoops up a baseball player for further tutelage. Currently, Knowles is knocking out quality innings. In his last outing, he pitched 7 innings of a gem, but the game was suspended due to darkness. I’m not sure if Knowles will get credit for his efforts or it will get tossed away like a wasted idea. But the truth is that even before the gloom fell upon the sky on June 13th, Knowles was 2-0 with an ERA of 1.69 after 16 innings of work that included a 3 hit shutout against the Herndon Braves on June 9th. Only in Collegiate Summer leagues can you watch an Ivy League Division 1 catcher and a Division 3 pitcher transcend those differences and fuse talents as teammates on a baseball field. The Alexandria Aces are averaging 400 fans per game. In its first 3 games, 1,200 fans were at hand to cheer on the Aces. As long as nature and the heavens above our cluttered heads don’t collapse on us, I’ll be watching how this nucleus of Davis and Knowles finish the summer in the Cal Ripken League.
By Adrian Nevarez
DFN Sports Staff Writer