Hot Wings and Chili Dogs not only make for good eating, the two local summer teams also made for some pretty good baseball in the recent tournament-championship game of the Northern Virginia College League.
The second-seeded Hot Wings won the food fight by blanking the top-seed and defending champion Chili Dogs, 2-0, in that seven-inning contest at Waters Field in Vienna.
Starting right-handed pitcher Kyle Henson, a 2022 Herndon High School graduate, and lefty Trevor Barbessi of Elon University combined for a two-hitter. Henson worked the first 5 1/3 innings of two-hit ball. Flint Hill School grad Barbessi, coming back from arm surgery, finished the game and earned the save with three strikeouts.
Henson helped lead Herndon to a second-place finish in the Virginia High School League’s Class 6 state tournament during the spring season.
“Kyle Henson was fantastic for us and he had a great high-school season, too,” Hot Wings coach and Madison High School graduate Morgan Spencer said.
Henson will play for Patrick & Henry Community College in Martinsville, Va., next spring.
“After that, some four-year college is going to get a steal in him,” Spencer said.
The Hot Wings (10-7) scored its runs in the top of the first inning.
Brendan Cecka and James Quinn-Irons (one RBI) had two hits each for the Hot Wings. Bishop O’Connell High School graduate and starting catcher Riley O’Donovan added a sacrifice fly. McLean resident Will Carr doubled and Myles Pittman and Herndon High grad Graham Sears had hits.
The Hot Wings were 0-3 against the Chili Dogs (12-5) during the regular season.
“We played a lot of close games and I think that paid off for us in the playoffs,” Spencer said. “These guys battled and are winners.”
Spencer’s team was involved in eight one-run games during the season and four more decided by two runs.
The Hot Wings were 2-0 in the tourney, defeating the Rough Riders, 4-1, in the semifinals, as Cole Snead threw a complete game four-hitter with three walks and six strikeouts.
McLean High School graduate Anthony Farmakides had two hits for the Hot Wings, Jake Stiehl had a hit (double) and three RBI, and O’Donovan added a hit.
Spencer, also the head coach of the South Lakes High School team during the spring, is the only head coach that has coached a team for all three seasons of the Northern Virginia College League. He did so this season on crutches most of the time, including the playoffs, with an injured right foot that required surgery.
He visited the mound with crutches multiple times during the championship game.
“It was hard coaching that way, but these guys picked me up,” Spencer said. “Coaching in this league is so much fun, and I will keep doing this. Coaching high school is much more stressful.”
The Hot Wings lost in the semifinals of last summer’s playoffs.
The 2022 Chili Dogs (12-5) downed the Yard Dogs, 11-2, in the other semifinal this summer, as Madison High School graduate Josh Gjormand (University of Lynchburg) threw a complete game. The left-hander scattered six hits, walked only one and fanned seven, throwing 97 pitches. He also had a hit and two RBI.
Eric Hiett doubled for the Chili Dogs, O’Connell graduate Elijah Pinckney had a hit and two RBI, Campbell Charneco also had a hit and two RBI, Ethan Marotske added two hits and Derek Furr contributed one hit and two RBI in the game.
Madison graduate Fitz Halloran (University of Lynchburg) played for the Chili Dogs this summer. He had multiple hits in multiple regular-season games.
NOTE: The Hot Wings’ three-season record under Spencer is 29-23-1, with the team reaching the playoff semifinals the first two seasons and winning the title this summer.