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East All-Stars win big in resumption of District 17 July 4 game

Winning team had 11 hits and an eight-run inning

After a decade’s absence, the all-District 17 American Legion all-star baseball game resumed on its traditional July 4 summertime date this season, and the result was a one-sided finish at Waters Field in Vienna.

The competition included players from all eight district teams (four teams per side), with the East squad winning in a blowout, 12-1, behind 11 hits.

Such a contest consisting of all District 17 participants was last played in 2014. A Legion all-star game of any kind involving District 17 was last held in 2019 when District 17 hosted players from Southern Maryland at Waters Field.

“It’s nice to have this game back, but it’s a lot of work putting everything together,” said winning East-team manager Ray Zdancewicz, who leads the Falls Church Post 130 team.

The East squad took a 1-0 lead in the second inning, added three runs in the fifth, then eight in the sixth. The West team, led by Vienna Post 180 manager Nick Good, scored its run in the sixth.

Helping the East to the victory was D.J. Reichert of Arlington Post 1995. He was chosen the game’s Most Valuable Player.

Reichert was the winning pitcher, throwing two scoreless and hitless innings of relief with four strikeouts. With the bat, Reichert had an RBI double and scored two runs, getting hit by a pitch his other at-bat.

“My slider was working well for me on the mound,” said the 2024 Yorktown High School graduate, who will play community college baseball for Garrett College in Maryland. “I didn’t hit much during the high-school season, so I wasn’t trying to do too much with the bat.”

James Pilot was another Arlington Post 1995 player who had a good game. He had an RBI single and a two-run double, and pitched one scoreless inning, allowing a hit and striking out three.

Also for the East, Charlie Bonds of Kingstowne Post 17 had two hits and an RBI, Arlington’s Luke Harnishfeger had an RBI single, Aiden Han of Marshall High and Post 130 singled, as did Zach Plank (Post 130), Jake Guffey (Post 1995), Duncan Blake (RBI, Alexandria 24) and Paul Simonik (Kingstowne). O’Connell High grad Ben Cogar, Colin Regan (Post 130) and Alex Gallicano (Kingstowne) also pitched for the East.

Arlington’s Bradley Labant and center fielder threw out a runner at home.

 The West had just three hits, singles by Vienna’s Carter Tuft and Dan Kissel and Caleb Alberts of Fairfax Post 177. Vienna’s Drew Hall, who will play at Division III Elizabethtown College, walked twice and stole a base for the West and made a good defensive play at third. West catcher Madddox German of Post 177 threw out a runner trying to steal second.

There were 12 walks and six hit batters in contest.

NOTES: Prior to the all-star game, former and longtime Springfield Post 176 manager Al Vaxmonsky was on hand and honored for leading the District 17 team for 32 years, winning more than 600 games and multiple district-tournament championships. He also threw out the first pitch at the all-star game . . . Other players from local Legion or high-schools chosen for this year’s all-star game were Will Thompson of Post 1995; Harold Heller of Post 130; Ben Grimsley, Jackson Bourdeau, Henry Novario, James Robinson and Ty Ordonez of Post 180; and Cameron Tallent, Kiran Sharma and Mark Zanovetch of McLean Post 270 . . . Players and coaches from each team received certificates and read all-star T-shirts for participating in the all-star game.