Florida challenges set up Prime Time Aces 15U for strong fall finish

By DN WRITING STAFF | October 29, 2023

Dominic Alia beats out a fifth inning infield single for the Glouceter County Blue Sox.

By Rich Bevensee

Facing the top 15U club baseball team in the country during a trip to West Palm Beach, Florida, didn’t do much for the win-loss record of Prime Time Aces-Casey, but the experience has carried over to the rest of the fall season, according to Will Lepre.

The Arlington, Virginia-based Aces, coached by Colin Casey, went 1-3 in Florida, including a decisive loss to top-ranked Wow Factor.

“That was a rough game for us, but we didn’t really have any expectations,” Lepre said. “It was a good tournament. Our record wasn’t the best but we played some close games and got a lot of good experience.”

Getting exposed to upper echelon competition may have allowed the Aces to bring what they learned back to the Mid-Atlantic and, more recently, the Northeast. Lepre cracked two RBI triples and Ryan Fontenot pitched a three-hit shutout to lead Prime Time to an 8-0, six-inning victory over the Gloucester County Blue Sox in a 15U Halloween Mash pool play game on Saturday morning at Diamond Nation in Flemington.

Seven Aces in the 13-man lineup collected at least one hit, including No. 12 hitter Rhys Meyer who went 2-for-2 with an RBI. No. 8 hitter Henry Williams ended the game via the mercy rule with a two-run single in the bottom of the sixth inning.

“Yeah, it’s nice to see everyone doing well, especially in this warm weather this late in the year,” Casey said. “I trust all 13 to get hits. I never know what to do with the lineup.”

Prime Time swept its Saturday doubleheader and clinched first place in Pool B when Luke Larimore homered and the Aces defeated the Hunterdon Black Hawks 11-1. Prime Time was to conclude pool play against the Powerballers on Sunday at 10 a.m. The playoffs begin with the second and third seeds squaring off at 2:15 p.m., and the winner faces the top seed for the championship at 4:30 p.m.

Lepre was one of three batters who logged an extra base hit in the first inning. Kyle Peterson led off with a triple and scored on a Lucas Grubb double. Lepre followed with an RBI triple to give the Aces a 2-0 lead.

“We have a lot of power throughout the order, and the first couple kids are always hitting balls far, every game, pretty much,” said Lepre, a 6-2, 165-pound freshman at The Heights School in Potomac, Maryland. “I’ve been seeing the ball pretty well and letting the ball come back to me. Today the pitches were not too fast so I could sit back and wait for my pitch.”

Fontenot, primarily a shortstop, was pressed into service this weekend and performed admirably. Using only a fastball and curveball, he allowed three hits and two walks while striking out seven. 

“Today was one of my better outings, although I missed a few spots,” said Fontenot, a 5-10, 150-pound freshman at Bishop O’Connell in Arlington, Virginia. “My catcher (Sutton Denny) was calling a great game. I try to go to my curveball at 0-2, 1-2, and 2-2 sometimes, but mainly fastball when I get down.”

William Lepre belted a pair of RBI triples for Prime Time Aces-Casey of Arlington, Va.

Fontenot allowed just the two walks through four innings and did not permit a base hit until the fifth. And the Aces defense turned in an errorless performance behind him, handling 11 chances without a blemish.

“He was commanding the zone, throwing first-pitch strikes, and just landing everything in the zone and letting the defense work,” Casey said. “ Honestly, he’s a shortstop first and with extra games this weekend we gotta’ have guys throw strikes. I trusted him to do that.”

The Aces padded their lead in the second inning when Williams scored on a passed ball and Meyer singled in a run for a 4-0 lead.

Lepre made it 5-0 in the third with another RBI triple, and the Aces led 6-0 when Peterson drove in Meyer with a hit in the sixth. 

Reed Murphy, Dominic Alia and Jonathan Abrams were the only Blue Sox to earn a base hit off Fontenot. Trent Horton (1⅔ innings), Reed Murphy (2⅓) and Jacob Lezotte (2 innings) handled the pitching for the Sox.

The Blue Sox rebounded from its weekend-opening loss by defeating the Powerballers 7-2. They were set to take on the Hunterdon Black Hawks on Sunday at 10 a.m.

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