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Del Ray Bats Its Way to Victory in Annual Softball Game Against Old Town

Photos: John Cannery

By Jordan Price

Alexandria, VA – On May 23, the evening was filled with excitement when two rival softball teams took to the ballfield for the fifth year to settle the 2-2 game tie between the Del Ray and Old Town Business Associations.

The event was a true community affair, with moms, dads, neighbors, friends, and kids all coming together to fill the bleachers. The air was thick with anticipation as fans from both sides hoped for victory.

At 6 p.m., Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson threw out the first pitch, and in a moment or two, the umpire called, “Play Ball!” Restaurant owners, bartenders, servers and retailers suddenly became players with a purpose.

The game was a fierce battle, with fly balls being effortlessly caught and grounders producing homers, often with the bases loaded. The tension was palpable throughout the five-inning match to capture the John Porter Cup. This year, Alexandria’s retired sheriff, Dana Lawhorne, relinquished his umpire duties to call the game from the broadcast booth.

From this writer’s viewpoint, ringers were brought in from local high schools with teens whose expertise in the field was well-established. All the players brought their A-game, which kept the action focused and fast-moving. The game ended in an incredibly close score of 22 – 19 in favor of Team Del Ray, led by legendary coach Bill Blackburn of the Homegrown Restaurant Group. Team Old Town was coached by Chadwick’s restaurant owner Trae Lamond

At the end of the third inning, the much-anticipated annual mascot race around the bases fired up the crowd and made them laugh.  The Zebra’s “Newzie” joined Burke and Herbert’s “Runyon the Parrot” as well as the Del Ray Turkey, from Turkey Trot fame, a pizza mascot racing for Jet Pizza, and Trae Lamond’s son dressed as a taco, representing his dad’s Old Town eatery, Chadwicks.

Off the field, kids frolicked on the grass, chasing bubbles and getting selfies from inside SnapStream’s retro Airstream photo booth, where they could choose from an array of comic props to record the moment. Food trucks offered an enticing selection of on-the-go eats, while grownups could partake of ice-cold beer from sponsor Port City Brewing Company, who were featuring their latest product, “275,” heralding Alexandria’s upcoming 275th birthday celebration in July .

Other sponsors included Yates Service and Burke & Herbert Bank, whose contributions, in addition to raffle ticket sales, helped the event raise money for the Alexandria Little League.

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