Clayton Daniel (Jacksonville State) slides into home against the Vienna River Dogs.
Coming into Rockville after two tough losses, including one to the team that defeated them in last year's championship, it had yet to be determined how this year's Bethesda Big Train would respond to adversity. Three emphatic wins to start the season had the Big Train rolling full steam ahead, until the Baltimore Redbirds and the Gaithersburg Giants hit the brakes and brought them to an abrupt stop. Would the Big Train arrive reenergized and refocused, or would they allow another game to slip through their fingertips and see their winning percentage fall to .500?
From the first pitch, the answer was never in doubt. The Big Train got to Rockville starting pitcher Nate Harmon (Southeastern) early and often, tagging Harmon for 8 runs in 3 2/3 innings and coasting to a 14-2 victory over the Express.
An explosive second inning saw the Big Train plate five runs and set the tone early in the game. A two-run homer from sophomore catcher Mike Emodi (Creighton) got Bethesda started, followed by a two-run triple by leadoff man Garrett Kueber (Moorpark) and a sacrifice fly from Clayton Daniel (Jacksonville State). The Big Train would then score at least one run in each of the following five innings, building an insurmountable lead.
The win was the byproduct of a full team effort at the plate, with each Big Train hitter reaching base safely at least once. In addition to his first home run in the second inning, Emodi would hit another in the 6th inning, this time a solo shot, to give him 3 RBIs on the night and put the Big Train up 10-2. Meanwhile, first baseman Vinny Esposito (Sacramento State) recorded three hits, two of which were doubles, and 3 RBIs.
Big Train starter Sean Barry (San Diego) also had an impressive night. Barry held the Express to two runs, one earned, in 6 innings of work. He controlled the strike zone all night, walking only one batter and striking out 6. Reliever Kyle Marman (Florida Atlantic) was extremely effective in his first appearance of the year, tossing two innings of scoreless ball to close out the win for Bethesda.
The Big Train will hope to build on the victory against the Silver Spring-Tacoma Thunderbolts at home on Monday night. First pitch will be at 7:30 p.m.