Ken Waldichuk (St. Mary's (CA))
Dominant pitching and timely hitting propelled the Bethesda Big Train towards a 7-1 victory over the Rockville Express and 2-0 start in the CRCBL regular season Wednesday night.
“Winning is all you can ask for really,” catcher Logan Driscoll (George Mason) said.
Starting pitcher Ken Waldichuk (St. Mary’s) was lethal on the mound. The San Diego native went three innings, two hits, two walks and seven strikeouts. With a devastating fastball and a fatal breaking-ball, Waldichuk dominated on the mound despite his pitch-count climbing early on.
“When I start throwing balls I just reset, and just really keep on doing that until something clicks,” Waldichuk said. “And then I just try to stay with that groove.”
And while Waldichuk’s pitch count got away from him a bit, the stellar pitching didn’t end with the starter. Joe Nahas (UMBC) and Nash Eppard (Bryant) continued the strikeout-fest in Rockville. Nahas and Eppard both pitched three innings of relief, fanning six and five batters respectively.
“We didn’t know what to expect from him,” assistant coach Tyler McKee said of Nahas, who joined the team Tuesday following his season at UMBC. “He had a good outing. Pumped it in there, knee high. Good breaking ball. He looked good tonight.”
Additionally, McKee had high praise for Eppard after he shut down the Express over the final three innings.
“Nash came out and at the end of the game put his foot on their necks and just stopped the bleeding, shut them put,” McKee said. “Got the job done.”
Jacob Koos (Stetson) sparked the Big Train offense Wednesday night, flashing the consistent hitting and speed on the base paths manager Sal Colangelo and his staff expect out of him this season. Koos went 3-4 with an RBI, a double and two stolen bases, after going 0-5 in the season opener.
“It’s always been a big part of my game,” Koos said of stealing bases. “That’s what I try to focus on ‘cause obviously I don’t have the big pop like other guys so I try focus on my strengths and help my game that way.’
Koos also showed his defensive potential with an impressive running catch in right center after a roughly 40-yard sprint in the enormous Knights Field at Montgomery College-Rockville.
The junior said the huge field allowed the outfielders to not fear running into the wall and just try and chase down balls.
Driscoll and Matt Green (St. Mary’s) flexed their muscles at the plate as well by way of a couple of monster triples to center. Green opened the scoring on the night with an RBI triple that one-hopped to the 470-foot fence in dead centerfield, while Driscoll did his best to one-up his teammate with a shot that appeared to land even closer to the fence.
“I wasn’t really seeing it well earlier,” Driscoll said of his plate appearances prior to the triple. “And then that’s just what I was focusing on the rest of the night.”
The Big Train’s next stop will be their home opener Thursday night at Shirley Povich Field against the D.C. Grays. The night will be highlighted by an appearance from ESPN reporter Tim Kurkjian and 2016 championship t-shirts for the first 500 fans.
And despite the festivities surrounding the game, it will be business as usual for those on the field, as the players hope another day brings another win.
When asked about his hopes for the home opener, Koos was frank.
“Hopefully another W.”
First pitch against the Grays will be at 7 p.m.
Check out the game highlights on our YouTube Channel!
Hear what the Big Train had to say on the win on our YouTube Channel!