"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

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!