"There's no place like home. . . there's no place like home. . . there's no place like home." Home for The Belt Team is Vienna, Virginia. Please stop by frequently and share with us all the things about life in Vienna that make Vienna truly the best place to live.

Welcome to Vienna, Virginia

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What Does The Future Hold for Vienna Real Estate in 2012?

The New Year is upon us. But if we travel back to 2007-2009 and first review the news headlines, one would think it was Halloween for several years in real estate. You may remember some of these news bytes:

Housing Horror”- Crain’s Business

U.S. Housing Crash Deepens in 2008 After Record Drop” - Bloomberg

Worst Case Scenario” CNN/Fortune

and on and on . . . .

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It was “Friday the 13th” every day for a while as literally every local market in the country experienced falling sales and homes values as buyers froze and the banking, mortgage, building, and residential brokerage industries came to a virtual standstill.

In Northern Virginia, depending on location and price range, values dropped between 25-50 percent from peak, new home construction slowed drastically, some national builders left our market or went out of business, and many local small builders went bankrupt or could not obtain construction financing. The number of real estate agents and mortgage brokers began to shrink. Consumer confidence was at all-time lows. And in 2009, the Northern Virginia area lost jobs for the first time since 1990-1992.

It’s good to learn from the past and not to live in it.

At the end of 2011 and headed in to 2012, local headlines read differently. Reminding ourselves that residential real estate is local, local, local and not a national market, our region has performed fantasticly compared to most every other market in the USA. Vienna in particular was ranked the #5 best housing market in the USA according to a recently released study by Bloomberg/BusinessWeek with median home values increasing almost 13% in 2011. Yes, 13%, that is not a “typo”! While not ranked in the report, many of the other local adjacent communities are doing comparatively well, especially as you get closer to Washington, DC. Thanks to a healthy local economy and extremely affordable interest rates for mortgages, we are experiencing the most stable market since the frenzied run up of 2004-2007.

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According to the GMU Center for Regional Analysis, Northern Virginia’s unemployment rate is at 4.5%, which is about one half the national rate. A significant number of new jobs were added in 2011 and many of those were filled with people relocating to our area. The market theme most weeks and almost every month in 2011 was a decrease in the inventory of homes compared to the week/month before and year over year. The latest numbers show that as of December 12, 2011 the Washington, DC region had 48,934 versus 64,266 units during the same week of 2010. That’s a whopping 23.9% decrease. The months’ supply of homes is now 6.1 compared to almost 8 months a year ago. Locally the month’s supply is between 2-6 months depending on price range, home style and type. A 5-6 month supply of homes is considered to be a balanced market between buyers and sellers.

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The data also shows that total sales volume for 2011 is less than 2010 and if you read news headlines highlighting this it can be misleading. The truth is that sales are off because there are fewer new listings, especially attractive homes that people want to buy. The result is a pressure on prices to increase, which we saw in 2011. Some headlines will also state the fact that in most areas the time to sell a home has increased and the percentage of list price is decreasing. Again, the uneducated buyer or seller that relies on headlines and sound bytes might think that it is a buyer’s market. The truth is that homes that are prepared properly, show well and are priced to what the market comparables indicate value is are selling quickly in weeks not months and in many cases with more than one offer.

So what is in store for 2012?

The local real estate market is not as volatile as the stock market and residential real estate markets move at a much slower pace. While we always experience temporary fluctuations in local housing activity that affect the psychology of buyers and sellers due to national news events like the recent credit rating downgrade by Standard & Poor’s or 911 or local incidents like the sniper attacks, weather, earthquakes, etc; the local trends we see in housing are expected to sustain in the new year. As long as mortgage rates remain at or near historical lows, affordability at all time highs and our local economy is healthy, expect 2012 to look very similar to 2011.

This is what the final report from The GMU Center for Regional Analysis titled “Housing the Regions Future Workforce. Policy Challenges for Local Jurisdictions” stated in the summary of key research findings in the 4th quarter of 2011:

Over the next 20 years, the Washington DC metropolitan area will add more than a million net new jobs. At the same time, the region will need 1.8 million replacement workers to fill jobs vacated by retirees and others. The ability to absorb these new workers into the region and to ensure robust regional economic growth depends critically on providing a sufficient amount of housing of the right types and prices and in the right places.” “If each jurisdiction provided enough housing to accommodate all of its future workers, the Washington DC region needs to add 731,457 net new housing units between 2010 and 2030.”

If the research and forecast for population and job growth is even remotely accurate, the future for housing in our area is sound. Happy selling and buying in the new year to come!

If you are looking for an advocate to help you navigate & negotiate in TODAY’s market, email The Belt Team or call us at (703) 242-3975. Our expertise is the Northern Virginia real estate market and we are #1 in Vienna. Call now to schedule a Buyer or Seller consultation, to request a FREE WRITTEN REPORT of your home’s value or to be put on our FREE PRIORITY NOTIFICATION LIST for special buying opportunities that are not in the MLS or on the Internet. You can’t afford not to. (Why You Don’t Want To Miss Out On “The Belt Team Experience”!)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

It May Be Flu Season, But Vienna's Real Estate Market Is Healthy!

We normally try to keep our blog posts on "There's No Place Like Vienna (Dot Com)" about things other than real estate. (We publish a separate blog where we cover the Northern Virginia real estate market.) And over the past year, we've written about lots of reasons why we love living in Vienna - its historythe big-hearted people, free fitness opportunities, Vienna's "Secret Side", baseball, the music scene , the fun of cross-town rivalries, the fab restuarants, school spirit & more.

But you can't really talk about why you love living somewhere without sometimes talking about the real estate market - especially when it's so good. In fact, Bloomberg Business Week recently listed Vienna as the #5 Best Housing Market in the country!

You may have noticed that the blog post published previous to this one was posted back in September. It's not because we ran out of reasons why we love living in Vienna. It's because we have been so busy helping our Buyer & Seller clients. And while it may be flu season, the real estate market in Vienna is healthy!

If you want to know more about what's specifically happening in the Vienna housing market, you can read more on our blog - weekly statistics, advice for Vienna buyers & sellers , etc.

The real estate market is healthy here - just another reason why we LOVE living in VIENNA!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Back-to-school time always reminds me of the New Year - new routines, new resolutions and a time for renewal. My co-worker reminds me that back-to-school time also means that Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and a time of reflection, is approaching. So "Happy New Year" everyone!

The new school year is a time for getting back into routines ("early to bed, early to rise" for example). Camps end and practice schedules begin. Pools close and schools open. It's also often a time for a fresh start. Children get new teachers, start at new schools, make new friends, try a new sport. Parents make resolutions too - about getting out the door on time in the morning or having family dinners together at night or volunteering more (or volunteering less!).

So in honor of back-to-school resolutions, here are some ideas for "Fitness For Free". Don't have the money to hire a trainer or join a gym? No problem. Whether you are getting in shape, staying in shape or just want to spend more time with your family, Vienna offers lots of opportunities!

W&OD Trail

The W&OD (Washington & Old Dominion) Trail is named after the railroad that used to track from Alexandria to Purcellville. It goes right through the "Heart of Vienna". This is the perfect place for a walk (for you AND your dog!), a jog, a run, a skate or a ride. No matter your pace - the scenery is great. (Check out what you might see along the trail here.) Just make sure you follow the "rules of the road' - slow movers stay to the right, fast movers pass on the left.  (Here's a map of the W&OD Trail.)

Nottoway Park/Moorefield Park

A myriad of opportunities exist at Nottoway Park & the adjacent Moorefield Park - and they are all FREE! You can play basketball or volleyball (and tennis for a small reservation fee). And did you know that NBA player Grant Hill used to play pick-up basketball regularly on these very courts? There's also a fun fitness trail. (More info about Nottoway Park)

Glyndon Park, Meadow Lane Park, Peterson Lane Park & Southside Park

These parks are all Town of Vienna parks. Between them, they offer lighted tennis courts, basketball courts, ballfields, a sand volleyball court, playground equipment & a walking trail. (More info about Town of Vienna parks)

Faith Baptist Church

Faith Baptist Church is getting ready to open their gym to the community on Monday nights from 7-9PM. If you like to play basketball or volleyball, this is the place for you. They are conveniently located at 301 Center St South - right across the street from Waters Field.

Vienna Community Center

The Vienna Community Center has FREE drop-in programs that include basketball, volleyball, roller skating and even pickleball. There's something for all age groups - from Senior Citizens to toddlers. Details are on the Vienna Community Center's web site.

Madison High School

My husband's favorite place to work out is at Madison High School. There's a track for running/walking. The football stadium provides plenty of stairs for a great workout. And - you always run in to someone you know. Perfect when you need a breather between activities!

Do you have a place we should add to our FITNESS FOR FREE list?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The "Secret" Side of Vienna, VA (Shhh Don't Tell Anyone!)

Did you know that Vienna has a "secret side"?

Well, it's really not so secret - if you know where to look!

We can't share ALL our secrets (after all, then they wouldn't be secrets any more!), but here are a few to get you going. And feel free to share your Vienna secrets below!


Recently, I went to a "secret concert" at one of my favorite music venues - Jammin Java. If you've never been there, you're really missing something special. As one of the band members said that night, "The rumor that this is a coffee house is out the window!". You might think by its name (including the word "Java") that it's a coffee house. They do have coffee (along with a full bar and great food). But you'd be missing the "Jammin" part. And boy was it jammin last time I was there!

And that brings me back to the "secret" part. I follow Mei, the "Jammin Java Door Gal" on Twitter. And one night, lo and behold, a tweet came out saying there would be a "secret concert" the following night. If you recall, Taylor Swift was recently in town and Need To Breathe, the band that had opened for her at the Verizon Center, was going to "secretly" appear at Jammin Java for their own concert. Needless to say, the secret spread quickly. Not so secret anymore. And tickets that went on sale at 10PM were sold out by 5AM the next morning - the fastest this band has ever sold out.

I can't tell you how much fun it was. The band had a blast and their joy was contagious. You could tell how much they appreciated "jammin" together in such a small venue after traveling the country in big venues like the Verizon Center. It was truly a magical night.

And this isn't the first time Jammin Java has had a "secret show". If you have teenage daughters (or "tweeners"), you might recognize the name Nick Jonas. So who performed "secretly" at Jammin Java back in February - the day before he performed at The White House? Yup - you got it - Nick Jonas.


One of our favorite Vienna restaurants is Maple Avenue Restaurant - MAR for short. (For you "old-timers" - it's where the "old Anita's" used to be, for you "newcomers" - it's across the street from Panera). MAR offers a super intimate, fun dining experience. (You can read a review here.) Their menu changes frequently, but it's always fresh & inventive.

Now comes the "secret" part. If you follow MAR on Facebook or Twitter, they sometimes announce "secret menu items". The servers will not mention them as specials when they bring your menu, but if you tell them you saw it on Facebook or Twitter, then you get a sweet opportunity to sample something extra special. Sometimes it's items that are being demo'd. Sometimes it's because they only have a small quantity of something. But it's always yummy. We liked the baked mac special one night. I know that doesn't sound exciting - but boy was it good! Chef Tim Ma has a way of taking something you might think of as pedestrian and turning it into a culinary masterpiece. (He also has a hilarious sense of humor with comments on Twitter like "Did we get pulled over on our scooter by vienna police? Yes. Was it because they were bored? yes. Was it embarassing, absolutely." and "MAR will close early tonight, staff will be taking pickleback shots, then heading over to the potato sack slide at #vivavienna. don't judge.")

Other local restaurants & eateries let you in on the "secret" when they have new menu items or when they are about to take items off the menu so you can get them one last time before they disappear.


In today's economy, who doesn't want a discount? Well, a lot of Vienna's local businesses are turning to social media to spread the word about their products and services. It's no or low cost advertising for them. AND, if you pay attention - you can take advantage of the "secret discounts" they often offer. Here are some examples we've made the most of (note - these are not current discounts - most of these "secrets" are for one day only and sometimes just for a few hours).

Caffe Amouri - "50 cents off iced drinks"

Pure Pasty - "Buy a chicken marsala pasty and get a 2nd one for $1"

Whole Foods Vienna - "After you get your chicken breasts for only $3.99/lb head to customer service and say "I'm not chicken, but I'm all natural". You'll get a delicious bottle of marinade on the house."

Sweetleaf Cafe - Get an extra veggie topping on a salad "created by you" for free.

(If all this sounds too complicated, just follow The Belt Team on Twitter. We tend to "retweet" all kinds of great info about Vienna, because as you know, WE LOVE LIVING IN VIENNA and THERES NO PLACE LIKE VIENNA (Dot Com!) (And for Vienna real estate "secrets", you can follow us on our blog or find us on Facebook.)

There are lots more things to find on Vienna's "Secret Side" - but some things just have to stay secret! What are you favorite secrets about Vienna?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Not Your Mother's Summer Camp

Summer camp in Vienna ain't what it used to be - and we think that's a GOOD thing!

Check out what Guest Blogger Susan Hussey shared with us about some of the camp happenings in Vienna last week. They might make you wish you were young again! (Susan is a member of The Belt Team and Mom to Grace (age 7) and Matthew (age 6).)

There can be no doubt . . . The Belt Team loves Vienna. The answer to what makes Vienna so special often lies with the families and events that shape our lives here. Here's an example:

Last week, many of Vienna’s children had the opportunity to learn and have fun at two truly unique summer camps.

Westbriar Elementary School's PTA hosted "Camp Invention" again this year. Camp Invention is designed to spark creativity and give kids a unique hands-on experience building and creating their own inventions. The kids brought items from home to inspire their creativity. I’ve heard they explored and recycled everything from alarm clocks to satellite dishes!

Another unique camp opportunity for Vienna children last week (including my children Matthew & Grace) was Holy Comforter’s Vacation Bible School. The theme this year was "Christian themes in the Harry Potter novels". Children explored JK Rowling’s engaging plots from a deeper perspective and had lots of fun in the process. Here, students arrive by “Hogwarts Express”.

In very broad terms, the plot of the Harry Potter novels can be described as a young boy's transition from ordinary . . . to someone who is mature, learned and extraordinary. Exceptional teachers and mentors help him all along the way.

Activities included everything from games of Quidditch - to Care of Godly Creatures - to feasts in the Great Hall! About 155 children took part as "students", in addition to 25 youth who acted as "prefects" and 10 adult "professors". (Pictured here are Grace and Matthew with Hagrid, Professor of Godly Creatures!).

Last week in Vienna, our children experienced the “magic” of growth under the guidance of exceptional volunteers at these two camps. If you missed it this year, mark your calendars now to check them out next summer!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


In 2009, I got a crazy idea that I wanted to write a blog. I've lived in Vienna since 1972 and I am passionate about the town I live in and the people that share this town with me. I grew up here. I raised my family here. And one day I hope to retire here. I'm also part of the #1 Real Estate Team in Vienna (The Belt Team - Keller Williams Realty) and I thought it might be a great way to share our wonderful community with folks who are moving here from other parts of the country.

Ninety posts later, it's June 2011. I've written about Vienna history, Vienna sports, Vienna real estate, Vienna entertainment, Vienna restaurants, "good deeds" that Vienna residents have done and more. Each time I write, it comes from the heart.

So today I must take this opportunity to write to you again from my heart - but this time about something much more important than dining or sledding or sports.

Last night, I attended a Mass & Prayer Service that was held at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church in Vienna. In case you haven't caught the local news recently, a well loved member of our community has gone missing. And last night the community gathered to pray for his safe return.

TOM DUESTERHAUS (Photo Credit: Bishop O'Connell High School Web Site)

Tom Duesterhaus is a Vienna native. Like me, he graduated from Bishop O'Connell High School and then from The College of William & Mary. But instead of going into business, Tom went on to a life of service and youth ministry - both as a teacher at O'Connell and as a consecrated lay member of Youth Apostles. (If you're not familiar with Youth Apostles, you can read more here. I can tell you from personal experience that my family has been blessed many times over by the involvement of various Youth Apostles in our lives & community.)

The Arlington Catholic Herald profiled Tom earlier this year. If you ask Tom, he'd probably say that he's just a "regular guy doing what he's called to do". But the outpouring of pain & love that has come from his disappearance tells me otherwise. He has had a profound effect on those he loves & serves.

Tom was last heard from on Friday, June 17th. He was scheduled to start a retreat the following Monday  and was spotted taking a swim in Virginia Beach on Saturday, June 18th. A bag of personal items was found abandoned on the beach. However, his car, car keys & credit card (which has not been used) have not been found. Nor has Tom. The police do not believe he drowned and say there is no evidence of foul play or criminal activity. But they are worried about Tom's safety. Tom apparently received bad news on Friday that his teaching contract at O'Connell was not being renewed and family members believe this could have led to Tom's disappearance. He's now been gone for 12 days.

As I walked into the church for last night's service - the skies were dark & threatening. Thunder rolled and raindrops began to fall. It was truly a reflection of the emotions swirling in the air. Imagine if your son, your brother, your friend, your beloved teacher just disappeared - almost into thin air. I don't know Tom personally, I went to school with his sister, but like many others in the church - I came to support this family in prayer. That's what community is all about.

As I entered the church and shook off the rain, I was immediately greeted with an embrace from a friend I had not seen in a while. No words were exchanged and no words were needed. Hearts all around were heavy.

And then I entered the sanctuary. The dark skies were replaced by light. And as the sound of thunder faded I realized that a harp was being played. It was a most incredibly peaceful and beautiful sound - somehow very comforting. And I settled into my pew and poured my heart out to God.

Mass began. And as Father Jack put it so perfectly, it was a "refuge" for all those gathered. Vienna Patch has some of the moments on video, the Arlington Catholic Herald captured it beautifully, and as Dante Gil-Alvarado commented on Facebook: "Prayer service for Tom was uplifting and reassuring. Father Jack's gentle spirit and trust in God's love gave us all peaceful hearts."

Near the end of the Mass, Tom's father, Rich Duesterhaus, got up to speak. In a gentle voice, he asked for prayers for Tom's safe return. And he thanked the community, the police & the press for their support. He pointed out that this is not a "manhunt" for Tom and that Tom may just need time away to reflect and "that's ok". His manner was gentle, loving and accepting - but with an unspoken yearning to have his son home. But he was not without trust in God or hope.

Mr. Duesterhaus concluded by saying that he would welcome a report from Tom or someone close to him that "all is well". And that is where YOU come in!

Please pass the information below* on to everyone you know - regardless of what part of the country they are in. We need YOUR eyes and ears. You may think it's a long shot, but YOU NEVER KNOW! (Up-to-date info, including a Missing Person poster that can be downloaded can be found at http://tom.duesterhaus.net/ )

As I left the church after Mass, this is the sight that greeted me. I believe it was a sign of HOPE sent especially from Our Lord to Tom & his family & friends.


After Tom's disappearance, Father Jack Peterson happened to walk by the door to Tom's room at the house and he noticed something he had not noticed before - there was a Scripture reading posted on the door. This is what it said:

Please join in prayer for the safe return of Tom Duesterhaus.

*Here is the information from the Fairfax County Missing Person poster:

On June 17, 2011, Thomas Duesterhaus voluntarily left his residence in McLean, Virginia. Mr. Duesterhaus was distraught and there is concern for his wellbeing. Mr. Duesterhaus may be operating his 1999 blue Buick LeSabre bearing Virginia registration XMT-8126. Mr. Duesterhaus may be in the Virginia Beach area. Mr. Duesterhaus has been known to frequent parks and shelters. Mr. Duesterhaus and his vehicle have been entered into NCIC. White Male, 37 years old, 6 feet 3 inches, 190 pounds, blonde hair, green eyes. Anyone with information pertaining to the whereabouts of Thomas Duesterhaus is asked to contact Detective Chris Flanagan at 703-246-7860 or the Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131 or Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Passion, Perspective & Perfection

One of the things I love about living in Vienna is the passion people bring to whatever they are doing. Whether it's gardening, sports, work, raising money for charity - whatever it is that they are involved with, they give it 110%.

If you have followed our blog regularly, then you know one of our passions is baseball. We've written about Yeonas Park, Warhawk baseball, "Small Town Baseball & Big City Dreams" & more. And so this week, we have the final wrap up about Madison High School's baseball season. It's written by one of those Vienna folks I love - someone who is passionate about baseball, but more importantly who is passionate about his family.

Dave Graham (father of Madison baseball player Jonny Graham) retired several years ago and is a fixture at the Madison High School baseball games. At the home games, you'll find him right behind home plate - with scorebook in hand and taking notes for the post-game write ups he does after each game. Being a scorekeeper myself, I enjoy sitting with him and discussing the game as it plays out - hit or error, good call or bad, did you mark that as a double or a single advanced to second on an error?

But really as we sit and watch the games, I find that I am learning about much more than baseball from him. I'm learning about more important things - love, sacrifice, priorities, faith in action. I can't share all of that with you here - but I have definitely been given a gift by watching this man and the devotion he has for God, his wife & 4 children and how he lives out his faith & love through action. When you read his post below, you'll get a glimpse of what I'm talking about. Because for Dave, it's about passion, perspective & perfection.

The Madison season is over, but if you get a chance to come to a game next year, you just might want to pull up a chair behind home plate next to Dave Graham. You never know what gift he may give you.

Here's Dave Graham's season wrap up:


The title to last year’s epilogue was “A Season to Savor…and Build On.” You will note that this year’s title is similar. Some may not feel like savoring this season, at least not yet, which is why the “(Really)” was added.

So much of life is driven by how we choose to view things. Is the glass half empty or half full? Chuck Swindoll captured it by saying that life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it. The season recap is an opportunity to put that philosophy into action. The epilogue is a challenge because unless the team wins a State championship, the season ends on a losing note. Often our impression of something is heavily influenced by our most recent experience. Will we let a season ending loss color our perception of the whole year?

Those that choose to think the glass is half empty would say that we didn’t do any better this year than last year. While we won three more games in 2011 than 2010, those additional victories came in a Spring break tournament that was tough but not as tough as the one we went to last year. Last year we finished second in the Liberty District regular season while this year we tied for the second best record and were the third seed due to the tie breaker. Last year we could blame our loss in the ultimate game on a freak injury that sidelined our best pitcher. It is a much bigger stretch to blame this year’s loss on a freak rainstorm that lasted for twelve pitches. Finally, at least last year our season ended with a loss to the eventual State champion. This year the team that beat us lost in the State championship game.

The glass is half full argument is much more compelling. Nineteen wins was the most since 2007. This team repeated as champion of the Liberty District tournament. How many teams have done that in the last fifteen years? Other than Madison, none. This year we were one of four teams in the Northern Region who were still playing in June. How many Northern Region were not playing in June? Twenty six. How many of the four teams in last year’s Northern Region semifinals made it back to the semifinals this year? Two, Madison and Lake Braddock. Ironically, the teams that lost in the semifinals this year (Madison and Stone Bridge) eliminated the teams that played for the championship last year (West Springfield and Woodson).

So, to dismiss this year’s accomplishments by saying that we didn’t do any better than last year ignores how hard it is to win a Liberty District championship and get to the Northern Region semifinals once, let alone in back to back seasons. The last loss was disappointing but we can’t allow it to cloud that fact that we had a great year.

We have to admit that we lost to a better team. We could have beaten them but we would have had to be perfect, or at least near perfect. Imagine trying to recap the season for South County. After ending our boys’ season they went on to win three more games and stood on the brink of matching Madison for the only perfect season in State history. Then one of their key players got hurt in the semifinals and couldn’t pitch in the next game. Sound familiar? His replacement pitched well but the team lost in the championship game to finish 28-1. One game short of perfection. Such a great season and yet so much disappointment at the end. What would you say to them?

I would ask them how they define perfection. And then I would refer them to the movie “Friday Night Lights” which tells the true story of a team that lost the 1988 Texas high school football championship game. Several times in that movie, the head coach challenges his players to “be perfect.” The first time I watched the movie I thought that was an unrealistic burden to put on a team. At halftime of the championship game, he finally explains to his team what being perfect means:

Being perfect is not about that scoreboard out there. It's not about winning. It's about you and your relationship with yourself, your family and your friends. Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn’t let them down because you told them the truth. And that truth is that you did everything you could. There wasn’t one more thing you could've done. Can you live in that moment as best you can, with clear eyes, and love in your heart, with joy in your heart? If you can do that gentlemen, you're perfect.”

Wow. I can’t speak for the Stallions but I think it is possible that the Warhawks just completed a perfect season.

In the final analysis, it is silly to compare one year to the next when every year you have to replace the seniors that graduated. Thanks to the “program” at Madison, tradition doesn’t graduate but the young men that lead the program do and a new group of leaders must step up. That is no small task but this year’s seniors were up to the challenge. Now we have to say goodbye to these young men.

Once again, as I reflect on those who leave us after this season, I find it is a matter of perspective. My own perspective is heavily influenced by my son’s. His first two years in the program, it was natural for him to view the seniors almost with reverence. He was an underclassman and they were so much older and more experienced. To him, the seniors the last two years were his mentors.

This year’s seniors were not so much mentors to my son as they were something perhaps even more significant. They were brothers. One has been a neighbor almost his entire life and was a teammate in A and AA baseball. He played on a fourth grade VYI basketball team with another. A third was a teammate on a championship AAA team. Four were teammates on Colonial Division All Star teams. One was a teammate and roommate on a memorable trip to Cooperstown. Most important, all of them have been fellow Warhawks for two or three years.

Make no mistake about it, the Class of 2011---Austin Chute, Joe Corrigan, Ryan Corrigan, Eli Facenda, Gavin Gibbons, Jay Kenyon, Justin Nicholls, Ben Powers and Alex Tyroler---were leaders. They may not have been as vocal as the seniors the last couple of years but they knew how to lead by example. They were a blue collar bunch that brought their lunch buckets and hard hats to the ball field every day. This was a group that worked hard, was resilient and knew how to persevere through adversity. One caught bullpens for an entire year before becoming a starter his junior year. Another spent most of his high school career rehabbing from major surgery. Three others endured significant injuries that derailed part if not all of their junior season. For many the bell on significant playing time didn’t ring until their senior year but when it did they answered it in a big way.

Their leadership was instrumental in a season that saw us win a dozen times despite trailing at some point in the game. Six times we trailed when coming to bat in the fifth inning or later yet pulled out a “W.” The season also saw the seniors lead us into extra innings three times. All of those games were decided by one run in the eighth and after losing the first to Stone Bridge, we defeated the host team of the Hanahan Invitational Tournament and we beat McLean in the District semifinals. Then there was the one run victory over Langley in the District finals and the dramatic rallies to overtake Yorktown and put us in the Region semifinals. This team reflected the resiliency of its seniors and as a result knew how to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Our seniors led us well and we will miss them.

I started out by saying that so much of life depends on your perspective. Of course, your perspective is influenced by your expectations and as we look to next year, we expect great things. Next year’s team will return more experienced, accomplished players than any team in the last five years. Certainly they have aptitude, achievement and talent. If anybody thinks that alone can guarantee a championship, check out who won the NBA Finals. Can next year’s leaders infuse the attitude, effort and character that this year’s seniors brought to the team? If so, perhaps next year we will advance at least one step further on the long hard road to glory. The first step on the 2012 journey begins the day after the 2011 Varsity Awards Night. Be perfect, boys.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


If you've been reading our blog for a while, then you know we LOVE baseball here in Vienna! And this week is playoff week for high school baseball all around our Northern Region. The number of teams competing for a spot to represent our region in the state playoffs has now been narrowed down to 4 teams. And our very own Madison High School Warhawks are one of those teams. Last night was an exciting game. Don't worry if you missed it because we have a fabulous recap from "Guest Blogger" Dave Graham below! AND it's not too late to see the team play. Their next game is at 7PM at Robinson High School against the South County Stallions. Good luck Warhawks!



MADISON 11 12 2

On a hot and somewhat humid Memorial Day at Lake Braddock, the fans were kept cool by a fairly steady light breeze supplemented by some heavy gusts generated by some hefty hacks from both teams as Yorktown and Madison locked up in a see saw slugfest. The Warhawks grabbed an early 2-0 lead after one inning but by the third the Patriots had taken a 7-3 lead. Madison rallied in the fifth to regain the lead at 8-7 but Yorktown tied it in the top of the sixth on Ryan Dowdell’s second home run of the game. Jay Kenyon and Jonny Graham responded by jacking homers in the sixth to produce the final 11-8 margin of victory for Madison. Mark “Pudge” Gjormand later noted, “It was a hot day and it was easy to get a little agitated out there. We made some mistakes early but give Yorktown credit for applying pressure. We were frustrated but didn’t lose our composure and did a great job of battling back. I was very impressed with the Yorktown team; I knew Coach Ruck would have them ready to play.”

Tim Davis drew the starting assignment for Madison. James Overbeek led off by beating out a high chopper to second for a base hit. Two pitches later, Davis induced a room service grounder to short and Andy McGuire, Nate Favero and Graham dialed up a 6-4-3 twin killing. That loomed large when Shaun Wood and Brooks Valtin drew back to back walks on full count pitches. The inning ended with Davis winning an eight pitch battle to get a swinging K.

Daniel Whitaker, a senior lefty, got the starting nod for Yorktown. Alex Tyroler led off by fouling off three two strike pitches before walking on the ninth pitch. He advanced to second on a balk and after a pair of fly outs scored when Kenyon stroked a single to left. Justin Nicholls entered as a courtesy runner and took third when future Texas Longhorn McGuire dropped a Texas league single into center. McGuire took second uncontested and Graham reached base when a breaking ball plunked him in the posterior. Joe Corrigan walked to drive in the second run of the inning but Madison left the bases full on a force out.

In the Patriot second, after a lead off strike out Tyler Wykoff whacked an 0-2 pitch into the gap in right for a double. As David Bernhardt was walking on four pitches Wykoff took third on a passed ball. As Davis was in the process of getting the second out on a backwards K Bernhardt stole second. Both runners scored on a muffed ground ball and then the left hand hitting Dowdell launched one over the centerfield fence for a two run tater. After another muffed grounder the side was retired on a force play but the four unearned runs had given Yorktown a 4-2 lead.

Justin Padgett led off the bottom of the second with a line single to left. Tyroler sacrificed him to second and Ben Socher hit a soft one hopper that first baseman Wood made a nice play to backhand and then made a diving attempt to tag Socher. The base ump initially ruled Socher safe but after a brief huddle the umps reversed the call. Padgett had hustled to third on the play and scored when Favero dumped a single into right. The inning ended with Kenyon lining out to left and Yorktown up 4-3.

With one out in the top of the third, William Young worked a base on balls on a full count offering. Wykoff inside outted a single to right and Bernhardt grounded a single through the hole just under the shortstop’s glove to bring in Young. Nick Cantow sacrificed the runners to second and third. Overbeek beat out a slow roller to third on a bang bang play to score Wykoff and when the first baseman looked at the base ump for the call Bernhardt kept rolling around third and scored as well. A fly ball ended the inning on Davis’ 84th pitch with Yorktown ahead 7-3.

Whitaker found a groove in the third and retired Madison in order on seven pitches.

Dan Powers came in to pitch for the Warhawks in the fourth. Tyroler made a long run to flag down a deep drive to right center for the first out. Whitaker hit a pop fly double to shallow center with two outs but Powers retired the side on another pop fly.

Whitaker again retired the side 1-2-3 in the bottom of the fourth but Tyroler taxed him by fouling off four two strike pitches before finally succumbing to a ten pitch strike out. Tyroler may have lost the battle but he set the stage for winning the war by driving the pitch count to 72 on a day when the temperature was in the nineties and the heat index was around the century mark.

Southpaw Eli Facenda took over on the mound for Madison in the top of the fifth and retired the side in order ending the inning with the batter flailing at a breaking ball in the dirt with Kenyon blocking the ball then firing it to first for the out.

Socher beat out a bunt to lead off the bottom of the fifth as the third baseman double clutched on the throw. On a 1-0 count Favero jumped on a high fastball and tomahawked a missile down the right field line for a double with Socher speeding home all the way from first. That concluded Whitaker’s afternoon of pitching as Yorktown brought in Overbeek to pitch.

Kenyon reached by wearing a breaking ball in the back and again Nicholls entered as a courtesy runner. Both runners worked a double steal as the Patriots almost nailed the trailing runner. McGuire drove in a pair of runs with a worm burner through the left side and Graham’s pop fly fell just in front of the centerfielder’s diving attempt for a double to put runners on second and third. Corrigan fouled off a pair of two strike pitches before smacking an RBI single to right on a full count pitch. Again the Patriots switched pitchers bringing in Nate Brown.

The Warhawks countered with pinch hitter Matt Livingston. With runners at the corners, Corrigan took second on defensive indifference. Livingston plated Graham with a run scoring fly ball to left. Padgett sacrificed Corrigan to third and was safe at first when the throw pulled the first baseman off the bag. Catcher Dowdell gunned down the runner trying to steal second with a nice throw to second baseman Valtin covering. Tyroler gave new meaning to the term scappy when he was hit with consecutive pitches. First he stood statuesque as a 2-2 breaking ball hit him on the forearm. Without hesitation, the plate ump ruled it a ball and ordered Tyroler back into the box. He reached base anyway on the next pitch when he was plunked in the back. The inning ended on a pop fly to short left but Madison had sent ten men to the plate to score five runs and take an 8-7 lead.

With one out in the sixth Dowdell hammered a monstrous blast over the scoreboard in right center. Shortstop McGuire made a fine play charging a check swing bouncer and gunning on the run to get the second out at first. A pop out to first retired the side on five pitches with the score knotted at eight apiece.

Favero led off the bottom of the sixth dropping a pop fly single into shallow center. Two pitches later Kenyon lit the fuse on a rocket over the left field fence for a two run blast. The Patriots brought in sophomore ace John Yoest to pitch. After a ground out Graham went yard the other way lobbing a mortar shot to left for a solo HR. Corrigan walked but the inning ended on a strike out and a force out with Madison leading 11-8.

CJ Herod pinch hit to lead off the top of the seventh and drew a walk. On a 1-1 pitch Young drilled one that the 6-4 Favero pulled down at second and tossed to first for a rally killing double play. The game ended on a comebacker.

Coach Gjormand summed it up by saying, “Tim wasn’t at his best and we didn’t support him well but he did a great job of battling through the heat. Dan and Eli were really good and kept us in the game. Ben’s bunt leading off the fifth and Nate’s double gave us the spark we needed at that point but Yorktown never quit. Jay and Jonny’s home runs were big and the double play we got in the seventh was huge.”

History repeated itself as last year the Warhawks also won behind Facenda on Memorial Day to advance to the Northern Region semifinals. The victory sets up a déjà vu all over again experience as for the second year in a row Madison will face a powerhouse team from the Patriot District. Last year they lost to eventual State champion West Springfield and this year they will face undefeated South County, the prohibitive favorite to capture the 2011 crown. The Stallions bring a sparkling 24-0 mark into the game having just trounced a very good Westfield team.

Gjormand, who coached the Warhawks to a 29-0 record in winning the State title in 2002, observed that, “It’s an understatement to say that we will have our hands full with South County. I know how hard it is for a team to go undefeated. For them to do it in the Patriot District makes it that much more impressive. Today’s game took a lot out of us physically and mentally and it will be interesting to see how we respond to the biggest challenge we’ve faced this year. We will regroup and do what we do; we are a small school in a small town trying to get our story written.”

The game will be played Wednesday at 7:00 at Robinson. The winner will play the winner of the game between Stone Bridge and Lake Braddock that will be played beforehand. Interestingly, both semifinal games match teams from the Liberty and Patriot Districts. The Northern Region final game is slated for Friday at 7:00 at Madison. Both participants in that game will advance to the State championship tournament.

Friday, May 27, 2011

7 Things To Do In Vienna, VA To Celebrate Memorial Day!

This weekend, we mark another Memorial Day. Who will you be remembering?

On May 2, 2000 - the White House put out a statement that said "As Memorial Day approaches, it is time to pause and consider the true meaning of this holiday. Memorial Day represents one day of national awareness and reverence, honoring those Americans who died while defending our Nation and its values. While we should honor these heroes every day for the profound contribution they have made to securing our Nation's freedom, we should honor them especially on Memorial Day."

Here are a few ideas for things to do in Vienna this Memorial Day weekend:

1. "The President's Own" (the United States Marine Band) will be playing a FREE concert at Wolftrap on Sunday, May 29th. The concert will be followed by fireworks. Gates open at 6:30PM, show at 8PM, fireworks at approximately 9:30PM.

2. Meet & greet the folks who stay in & around the Vienna area when they come for Rolling Thunder. It's not hard to miss them - just look for the big groups of Harley Davidson riders. These veterans of the Vietnam War convene for a demonstration each year to urge the government to account for all MIA's and POW's and also ride to show their love & respect for veterans and soldiers of all wars. If you want to actually see the "RIDE" on Sunday (it's a very moving sight), the best spots are along the Memorial Bridge & Constitution Avenue.

3. Enjoy the Memorial Day Tribute at Viva Vienna. Viva Vienna is a huge festival that takes place in Vienna each year (rides, vendors, food, entertainment & more!). In the midst of the festival on Monday, stop by the Vienna Town Green for a Memorial Day tribute - FREE - 3 to 4PM.

(PLUS - Rumour has it that something really unique & special will be happening at the corner of Church Street and Center Street right around 3PM on Monday - you won't want to miss it. It will definitely make you smile!)

4. Call your grandpa, mom, brother, aunt, friend - whomever you know is serving or has served our country and tell them THANK YOU!

5. The Soundry's "Viva La Carnage" - May 28th at 8PM at The Soundry in Vienna. One of the freedoms we celebrate in the United States is the freedom of speech. Some might call it the freedom of expression. And "Viva La Carnage" is all about expression. Here's what the web site says: "The Soundry turns its entire space inside and out into performance space while vendors strut their stuff amidst a frenzy of creative freedom. Spontaneous collaborations! Art! Music! Dancing! Burlesque! Improv! Poetry! Performance Art! Outdoor delights!"

6. Stop in at one of Vienna's many churches to attend a service or say a prayer for peace & for protection of our armed forces. There are too many churches in Vienna to list them all, but here are a few options - St. Mark Catholic Church, Vienna Presbyterian Church, First Baptist Church of Vienna, Church of the Holy Comforter, Wesley United Methodist Church, Vienna Baptist Church, Our Lady of Good Counsel.

7. Lastly, what's more "All-American" than baseball? (You know how we love baseball here at Theres No Place Like Vienna (Dot Com!)! There are some great games going on in Vienna this weekend. Stop by Waters Field during the weekend to see Vienna Babe Ruth's Senior League games. Or stop by James Madison High School tonight (May 27th) at 7PM to see Madison take on last year's VA State Champion, West Springfield HS.

There are LOTS of other great ways to celebrate Memorial Day in the Washington DC area. But whatever you do, make sure you remember why we mark this day.

Happy Memorial Day!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Small Town Baseball & Big City Dreams!

Vienna resident Nick Morabito signed a National Letter of Intent today to play baseball for Lincoln Memorial University. Congrats to Nick & his family on a well-deserved accomplishment!

Nick is a student at Bishop O'Connell High School in Arlington and played for the Prospect Stars elite travel baseball team this past summer. Nick is also a "graduate" of our very own Vienna Little League!

We've written several articles about Vienna Little League and baseball in Vienna, VA. It's defiinitely one of THE top places to play ball in our area and has a LONG tradition of success . . . all the way to Williamsport.

This year alone, there are at least 5 Vienna Little League "alumni" that we know have signed to play college baseball - and that is no easy feat!

Congrats to the following young men and their families:
  • Chad Carroll - signed with James Madison University (VA)
  • Nick Morabito - signed with Lincoln Memorial University (TN)
  • Eli Facenda - signed with Lehigh University (PA)
  • Mark Williams - signed with LaSalle University (PA)
  • Ryan McGuire - signed with Odessa College (TX)

Here's some interesting triva about these 5 boys:
  • They all played with or against each other in Vienna Little League.
  • They all played on the same travel team together when they were 13 years old. And that team placed 8th in the AAU National Championships that year.
  • All 5 boys live(d) in Vienna, but are graduating from different high schools (In VA: Oakton, O'Connell & Madison. In DC:  Gonzaga. In CO: Heritage)
  • Chad Carroll & Nick Morabito played on the same Little League team in Vienna. AND they were coached by a Vienna Little League "graduate" who also went to college (Georgetown University) on a baseball scholarship.

I have watched these guys grow from little boys into young men. And what an honor it has been. Their accomplishment of "making it to the next level" in baseball is truly something special. And it's not just about baseball.

These boys set a great example for all of us about how to dream big and work hard. For not one of these boys was handed anything. They may have been provided the opportunities, but each one worked hard - day after day after day - very consciously and very conscientiously. And they did it when no one was looking (Nicki - this means you!). They trained and played and worked and watched and learned & kept getting better.

For getting signed to a college sports team - any sport - is not like it used to be "back in the day" when lots of players would "try out" or try to "walk on". It works more along the lines of a quote I remember Norm saying on the TV show "Cheers". He said, "It's a dog-eat-dog world out there and some days I feel like I'm wearing milk bone underwear."

We can all learn a lesson about what a lot of passion & hard work can bring you. Now - don't get me wrong. They had a LOT of fun doing what they did. However, many people "want" good things to happen to them, but they aren't willing to work & make sacrifices. These kids did. One of the players I listed above is currently one of the most talented in our area. He's even drawn some scouting interest from the pros. But when he was 12 & 13, he was the smallest kid on the team. And when it's your first year on the "big field" - that sure doesn't make anything easier. But as far as he was concerned, that meant nothing. He wanted to play ball. And play ball he did. He is one of the fierceest competitors I have ever met and no one will ever tell him he can't do something. If you do, he'll just prove you wrong. Would that we all grasped on to our dreams and made them happen like he has.

Every one of these boys told me when they were 12 years old that they wanted to play in the big leagues. They were playing small town baseball, but they had big city baseball dreams. Well, those dreams may still be far away - but that was 6 years ago and they have all just taken a GIANT step in that direction.

Don't be surprised if one day you see their faces on a baseball card!

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Three weeks ago, we broke news about a fabulous event coming to the Town of Vienna called KYLLOPALOOZA. (In case you missed the announcement, click here to read our initial blog post about Kyllopalooza ).

Additional details have since been released and the more we hear about this fabulous community event, the more fun we think it's gonna be!

And we're not the only ones. Kyllopalooza was posted on Facebook just yesterday and already 399 people have said they are coming! We think it's going to be the event of the season!

Here is the updated info:


The bands play a wide variety of music - from Tom Petty, Rolling Stones & Grand Funk Railroad . . . to today's top songs . . .and even their own originals. Whether you are 7 or 77, you'll like what you hear. What they in common is that the bands are award-winning, super talented and high energy FUN - just like Khrystin! And they have performed at a wide variety of local and national venues including Jammin Java, 9:30 Club, the Smithsonian, Jaxx, The Irish Inn & more. Here are links to their web sites and to a sampling of their music.

An admission donation of $20.00 will be requested. For your donation you will receive a souvenir purple KYLLOPALOOZA – Dream Big bracelet. (A Dream Big presale package will also be offered, but details have not yet been released.)

The Vienna Inn & Church Street Pizza will be hosting an outdoor food and beer garden adjacent to the Vienna Town Green. Items like pizza, chili dogs, bottled water, soda & beer will be available for purchase.

T-shirts will be available for purchase at the event and for presale (locations yet to be announced).

The first $5,000 scholarship recipient has been selected and the winner will be announced at the end of the school year. You can read more about the Khristin Kyllo Memorial Fund and also make donations to the fund online.


 Email Kyllopalooza@TheBeltTeam.com if you are interested in sponsorship opportunities!

If you'd like to read more about Khristin Kyllo, check out these articles in Sports Illustrated & The Washington Post.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Special Announcement!


What's "Kyllopalooza?"

As many of you know, we lost a treasured member of our community this year - 18 year old Khristin Kyllo. On May 19th, we will have a special event in her honor to raise money for the Khristin Kyllo Scholarship fund that has been established by the James Madison High School Booster Club.

The event is called KYLLOPALOOZA.

In case you're not familiar with the word, a "palooza" is an "exaggerated event". We thought that an appropriate name for an event to honor someone who lived life to the fullest, with an unwavering love & passion about life, her family, her friends & everyone she met.

KYLLOPALOOZA is set for Thursday May 19, 2011 at the Vienna Town Green from 6-10 PM and the entire community is welcome. On stage will be three popular local bands including "Fat Chance", "Mercury In Summer" & "Adam Swink - O.V.F.". Donation info and more details will follow. But mark your calendars now. And tell all your friends. You won't want to miss this!

If you'd like to read more about Khristin Kyllo, check out these articles in Sports Illustrated & The Washington Post. She was an incredible girl!

P.S. - Even if you didn't know Khristin, please come out to KYLLOPALOOZA. Khristin never knew a stranger. This is a community event. It's gonna be FUN. She would want it that way.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Byrds in The Barns - Is That Like "Bats In The Belfry"?

Well, it was definitely a wild n crazy kind of night at The Barns last night, but let me explain:

FIRST, THE HISTORY - What is "The Barns"?

Right here in small town Vienna, we have one of the premier music venues in the country - America's National Park For The Performing Arts. The initial 53 acres of land for this park was originally purchased (and later donated) by Catherine Shouse for $5,300 (don’t you wish you could buy land around here for $100 an acre!) and she named the farm “Wolf Trap Farm”. From late May to early September each year, people enjoy the outdoor amphitheatre known as The Filene Center. (People like us who have grown up here just call this “Wolftrap”.) The Filene Center seats about 7,000 people. The Barns, on the other hand, is an intimate facility that probably seats less than 400 people. It is made up of two 18th century barns that were restored & rebuilt using only 18th century methods with hand -hewn beams & panels. It’s simply gorgeous and the acoustics are phenomenal. And that brings me to last night.


Last night, Bandhouse Gigs gathered a bevy of the area's best musicians to put on a sold-out "Tribute To The Byrds". The entire night featured music that was either written by or played by the legendary group The Byrds. Since their music spanned a number of genres (including folk, rock n roll, psychedelic & country) - it was quite an eclectic evening. And that fit this kind of adventure just perfectly.

Throughout the night, the musicians mixed and matched. Some of the songs were performed by groups in their entirety - and sometimes the stage was filled with musicians from 7 different groups at a time. All told, there were 45 different singers/musicians on stage - each one a legend in his/her own name. Yes, this group included Grammy Award winners, Emmy Award nominees, WAMMY Award winners & more. And they played guitar, piano, harmonica, accordion, ukelele, 12-strings, bass, steel guitar, violin, trumpet, fiddle. You name it -they had it covered. It was like a local Music Hall of Fame.

Watching the night play out, I felt almost like I had been invited to the musicians' own private party - for they enjoyed playing & watching almost as much as we did. You see, despite the fact that these musicians are all at the top of their game - most of them never get to see or hear each other perform - because they've got their own gigs to play. So throughout the night, we saw musicians in the wings or hiding in the back of the room - peeking out to see who had the angelic voice, who was ticking the ivories so sweetly and who just played that rockin 12 string guitar solo.

Although the musicians obviously prepared on their own prior to the show, there were only 2 rehearsals of the full group. And of all the songs played, only 2 were ever played by a group prior to this event. This meant that the evening was rather "loose", but it added to the intimacy of the night and truly highlighted what artists they were. Each of the folks performing was a consummate professional. And so at one point, when technical difficulties intervened, "Cowboy Cal" was fully prepared with stand-up comedy. And the audience ate it up.

There were several highlights of the show. One was the song that closed out the first half. It featured Jon Carroll on piano and was a revival-style version of a song The Byrds sang called "Jesus Is Just Allright With Me" (you might remember it as a Doobie Brothers song, but apparently The Byrds sang it prior to that). With Jon on one side of the stage - tickling those ivories into a frenzy . . . and a slew of singers on the other side gathered around one microphone & throwing their hands in the air . . . it felt almost like I was in church (except that I was in a barn - but isn't that where those old revivals used to take place?).

The other highlight was near the end of the show when Eric Brace (of Last Train Home) came on stage and sang "Ballad of Easy Rider" and "This Wheel's On Fire". Although the level of performance was high all night, when Eric took the stage it was apparent why his music career has expanded well beyond the DC region. (Eric Brace used to be the lead columnist for the Weekend section of The Washington Post. His band Last Train Home mostly played locally. But a number of years ago, he gave up his "day job" to take his music career full throttle and he now tours nationally and internationally.) Eric's ability to storytell captures an audience - whether he is talking, writing or singing. He has an incredible charisma and his voice is powerful and unique. And when he teams up with Bill Williams, the vocal harmonies are magic. (On a side note - Bill Williams played on 13 different songs last night. What a talent - singing, playing, harmony arranging AND he made the best male fashion statement of the night with some incredible shoes/boots. Best female fashion statement belonged to Ellen Cherry with her psychedelic tights.)

The show was closed by John Jennings and his band playing "Eight Miles High". And they rocked it. It was an incredible evening. For $25, we got to see 45 of the area's best musicians & singers. Not only will I go see anything Bandhouse Gigs puts together (previously they have done tributes to Neil Young, Nils Lofgren, Bob Dylan, Nick Lowe, Joni Mitchell, Warren Zevon & Allen Toussaint - and rumor has it Rod Stewart may be next), but I defintely made note of many artists I want to see again so I can hear them play their own music. Such talent, such passion. WOW.

And the best part? I live in Vienna - so while most of the musicians and guests had a long drive home (people came from Springfield, Silver Spring, Burke & Baltimore) - I was home & tucked in bed 10 minutes after the show ended.


Trivia Note: Elizabeth Taylor was a Director Emeritus for Wolftrap. I had forgotten about that until I saw this poster last night.

Final Note: I wasn't able to capture all the names of the performers/groups, but here is a partial list:

John Carroll, Eric Brace, The Lofgren Brothers, Jelly Roll Mortals, Naked Blue, Ruthie & The Wranglers, Purple Umbrella, Forty Dollar Fine, Bill Williams, John Jennings, Dave Chappell, Scott McKnight, David Kitchen, Ellen Cherry, Todd Wright, Cal Everett, Bill Baker, Janet Emma Garbe, Mike Clem, Jen Smith, Derrick Brock, Scott Smith, Ronnie Smith, Helen Hausmann, Jim Clatterbuck, Steve Hall, Andy Rutherford, Spencer Hoopes, Dave Egelhofer, Ronnie Newmyer, Chuck Sullivan, Carey Creed, Harry Traynham, Justine Miller, Louie Newmyer & Robbie Magruder

Monday, March 21, 2011


If you're looking for the blog post that Dave Facinoli referred to in his Sun Gazette article about the Madison-Oakton baseball game last weekend - scroll down below this post.

And now, please welcome back Guest Blogger Dave Graham. Dave's son Jonny plays first base for the Madison Warhawks and Dave can do a game write-up like no one else we know. So if you missed the game (or even if you were there) - sit back & enjoy the show. You'll feel like you had a front row seat!

MADISON 6 runs 10 hits 1 error

OAKTON 2 runs 6 hits 0 errors

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Oakton the Madison Warhawks opened their 2011 campaign by defeating the Cougars in a game that was much closer than the final score indicates. Madison starter Eli Facenda spun five innings of three hit shutout ball and the Warhawks scored five runs in the fifth to break open a 1-0 game. The Madison attack was led by Nate Favero who went four for four and Andy McGuire and Jay Kenyon who each collected two hits and drove in a pair of runs. Coach Mark “Pudge” Gjormand later noted that, “Eli did a nice job today with no walks. This was a team win. We had a good approach at the plate with two outs and two strikes and protected the ball well on defense.”

Oakton had opened its season Tuesday by trouncing Yorktown. R.J. Garcia started on the mound for the Cougars, a sidearming right hander who always works from a stretch and relies on control and keeping the ball down. He needed only nine pitches to set the side down in order in the first inning. The Oakton defense featured three Carroll brothers starting in the infield: senior Chad at shortstop, junior Tyler at second and sophomore Mitchell at third. Their dad, Carson, coached almost every Madison player at one time or another on the Vienna Mustangs. Congratulations Carson and (mom) April!

The Warhawks countered by sending their senior staff leader to the mound. Facenda, a crafty lefty, gave up a two out bloop single to right by Luke Willis in the bottom of the first but second baseman Favero ended the inning by ranging far to his left to snag a grounder that appeared headed to right field.

Senior catcher Jay Kenyon got aboard to lead off the second when he was hit by a 1-2 pitch. Austin Chute pinch ran and scooted to third as Favero lined a single to right. With no outs and runners at the corners, Garcia bore down to get a swinging strike out. Third baseman Mitchell Carroll made a nice play on a grounder to hold the runner at third and get the second out at first. Garcia escaped the jam when Tyler Carroll scooped an inning ending grounder to second base.

After a strike out in the bottom of the second, Ty Carroll reached second when his fly ball to center was misplayed. He was promptly doubled off when shortstop McGuire made a splendid diving catch of a half swing line drive then shoveled the ball to Favero covering second to end the inning.

With two outs in the top of the third, McGuire drilled a line drive single to right. Before the next pitch was thrown, Garcia picked him off on a well executed run down involving first baseman Taio Francis twice sandwiched around a pair of Carrolls.

With two outs in the bottom of the third, speedy Chad Carroll short hopped the base of the fence in right center and hustled into third with a triple. Facenda coaxed a grounder to first to end the threat.

With two outs in the Madison fourth, Favero shattered the scoreless tie launching a towering drive to right through a crosswind blowing in from left to collect his first varsity round tripper. By the time the ball landed well beyond the fence it had been blown into foul territory but it was clearly fair and seemed to still be climbing when it left the field.

In the bottom half of the frame, the Cougars Chris Hanson doubled on a sinking liner to left despite a valiant diving attempt by Ben Socher. Facenda helped himself out making a nice play on a one hopper back to the mound to record the out at first after holding the runner at second. The threat expired on a grounder to second.

Garcia started the fifth having given up three hits and thrown 54 pitches. He began the inning recording a strike out on a full count pitch before what may have been the pivotal play of the game. On a 1-1 pitch, Dan Powers scorched a grounder off Garcia’s foot. Garcia recovered quickly enough to get the second out at first and appeared to be OK. However, he hit Alex Tyroler with a 1-2 pitch. Sophomore Socher collected his first varsity hit drilling an opposite field double just fair down the third base line to put runners on second and third. On a 2-2 count, McGuire followed with another opposite field rocket, this one to right, for a two run double to finish Garcia’s afternoon. Fatigue may have affected him as he had thrown 20 pitches in what turned out to be his longest inning of the day.

Oakton brought in Andy Gross to relieve. He may not have had enough time to warm up and Jonny Graham jumped on his first pitch and smacked a hard grounder off the glove of the diving second baseman into right for an RBI single. Three pitches later, Kenyon blasted a two run dinger over the fence in right. Favero poked a pop up down the left field line for a double, Madison’s fifth straight hit, four of them opposite field. Gross ended the inning on a strike out but Madison had sent nine men to the plate and seized a 6-0 lead.

In the bottom of the fifth, the savvy Facenda knew the importance of not letting the Cougars respond with a rally of their own. Facing the bottom third of their line up, he got a ground out to third on a 3-2 pitch, then recorded a strike out on a nasty 2-2 curve that Kenyon nicely blocked then tagged the batter for the out. The inning ended on a 3-2 strike out. Having thrown 64 pitches with two tough Liberty District games in the next six days, Facenda’s afternoon was finished.

Francis moved over from first to pitch for Oakton in the top of the sixth. With two outs he hit Tyroler with a pitch then retired pinch hitter Ben Powers on a fly to right to end the inning. The Warhawks opted to send McGuire to the mound in the bottom of the sixth with Tim Davis taking over the duties at shortstop. With two outs, the fleet Willis reached on an infield chopper down the third base line. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and took third on a passed ball as Hanson walked. Joey Bartosic pinch ran with runners at the corners. Dennis Cooney grounded a single past first baseman Graham’s dive to plate one run.

Another run scored when Ty Carroll’s grounder hit first base and took a high bounce. Graham still gloved the ball but the startled McGuire, thinking Graham would tag the bag himself if not for the fluke bounce, was late covering first allowing Bartosic to score. Perhaps the play rattled McGuire a bit as he walked Brian Burns on four pitches to load the bases and bring the tying run to the plate. After getting ahead in the count 0-2, the count ran full as he narrowly missed on a pair of breaking balls. McGuire ended the seven pitch at bat with a called strike on a fastball on the outside corner.

With two outs in the top of the seventh, Kenyon stroked a single to right and Favero followed by rolling a single through the right side. The inning ended with pinch hitter Matt Livingston lining out to center. McGuire responded by retiring Oakton in order in the bottom of the seventh on a pair of fly outs and a grounder to short.

The score may have looked decisive but it was a close, hard fought game. Coach Gjormand summed it up by saying, “We beat a good team today in a big rivalry game. These guys have played with and against each other since Vienna Little League and sometimes it is tough to play against your friends. We can enjoy it now but we need to get back to work to get ready for a tough Fairfax team on Tuesday.”