In a high scoring affair, the Big Train fell 13-9 to the Gaithersburg Giants in the first preseason action for both teams.
“Everyone’s just getting back into the swing of it,” Logan Driscoll (George Mason) said. "Some people have had a few weeks off, we’re just working out the kinks right now.”
The Giants jumped out to a quick four-run lead after a JP Bitzenhofer hit a three-run homer over the fence in left-center in the top of the first. The Giants scored two more insurance runs in the top of the 4th to go up 6-1.
“A couple bad innings and that’s what beat us,” Matt Green (St. Mary’s, CA) said. “But put up nine runs is a good sign for us.”
Green and Driscoll both flashed major potential at the plate for the Big Train. Driscoll finished 2-3 with a single, double and a walk, while Green was 2-3 with a homerun and three RBIs.
“I was just trying to keep it simple,” Driscoll said. “See my pitches, see it deep, and results finally came so that’s all you can ask for.”
And while he was roughed up early, starter John Cerretani (Sacred Heart) settled into his own with a final line of four innings pitched, two earned runs, ten hits and four strikeouts.
Jack Alkire (VCU) pitched three innings in relief of Cerretani with one earned, four hits and four strikeouts.
And despite the rough start for the pitching staff, manager Sal Colangelo was optimistic about their performances and noted a need for improved defense behind them.
“They did what we needed to do,” Colangelo said. “They threw strikes but we were giving six, seven outs an inning.”
The game also provided a glimpse at the Big Train’s depth for the upcoming season as a number of players played out of position. Tanner Allen (Mississippi State) took on playing third despite regularly playing second and catcher Gaby Cruz (Bryant) played first. The team even enlisted the help of local high school players Ethan Semones (C.D. Hylton High School), whose brother Fox is a member of the Big Train, and Justin Riemer (St. John’s College Prep).
“Once we get everyone here, we get our position players here, our pitchers here, we’re going to be very competitive,” Colangelo said.
The team is back in action Saturday night against the BCC Little Train in their final tune up before their CRCBL title defense officially begins.
“Just keep working out the kinks,” Green said of the team’s plan heading into the final exhibition game. “I know for some guys, including myself, haven’t played in a while so it’s good to see some live ball before the real thing.”