Matt Kilby wasn’t pleased with his performance at the plate, but the Alexandria native was glad to be back home.
Kilby, a former T.C. Williams baseball star who recently completed his freshman season at Navy, played in his first home game as a member of the Alexandria Aces on June 7. Kilby finished 0 for 2 with a base on balls against the Southern Maryland Nationals while transitioning to game use of wood bats in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League.
Kilby wasn’t the only Ace who struggled with the stick. Alexandria went hitless for six innings and fell behind 3-0. A late Aces rally made things interesting, but the team’s record fell to 1-3 with a 3-2 loss at Frank E. Mann Field.
Kilby’s first game was June 5 on the road against the Bethesda Big Train.
"It’s a great feeling being back home and being able to come out to the field and play," said Kilby, who batted cleanup and was the designated hitter on Tuesday. "… I love hitting with wood. It’s how you can tell if someone’s a good hitter."
As a senior at TC, Kilby hit .476 with six home runs en route to second-team all-state honors. He batted .459 with five home runs and a single-season school record 37 RBIs during his junior season.
During his freshman season at Navy, he went 6 for 22 (.273) with one double and two RBIs in 10 games, including two starts. He said the pitching he’s seen as a member of the Aces is comparable to what he faced during the spring.
"It’s college pitching, the same thing I was facing," Kilby said. "I’ve just got to get back into the groove and everything and start swinging it a little better."
Kilby will miss two weeks while fulfilling a Navy training commitment in Norfolk, but plans to return by June 25. First-year head coach Corey Haines said he plans to use Kilby primarily as the designated hitter, but the former Titan could see time in the outfield.
"I think Matt’s a big power guy," Haines said. "He brings a threat to the lineup. That’s why I’ve got him in the middle of the lineup. I think he’s got a chance to hit a few balls out and get a lot of RBIs in the middle of the lineup, that’s why I put him there."
Kilby is one of many newcomers to an Aces team that returns only one player — pitcher Daniel Stinsman (Felician College).
"I think they’re jelling pretty good," Haines said. "We actually have some roles filled now that are doing pretty good. They all have nicknames for each other, so that’s one way you can figure out how they’re liking each other, getting to know each other a little bit. I think it’s going well even though we’ve only got one returner and it’s a first-year coaching staff with a whole bunch of new guys, so there’s no complaints there."
Jordan Oncay (Wilmington University) went 2 for 3 for the Aces on Tuesday, including a seventh-inning triple that broke up a no-hitter. Mike Goodwin (Wilmington University) went 1 for 3 with two RBIs.
Haines said the Aces’ goal this season is to make the playoffs.
Alexandria will host the Herndon Braves at 7 p.m. on June 11.