Justin Wylie (Arizona) stands ready in the box during a Big Train home game.
The Big Train’s offense was largely powered by home runs in their 10-7 victory over the Herndon Braves (3-3) on Wednesday. Bethesda (7-0) started off slow, putting up only one run in the first two innings off a solo home run from Justin Wylie (Arizona)—Wylie’s fourth homer of the season.
In the bottom of the inning the Braves took the lead, a three-run homer from Vinnie Costello (Hofstra) giving them the go-ahead runs. But their time on top was short-lived, and a solo home run from Jacob Westerman (San Francisco) followed by a two-run home run from Alec Burleson (East Carolina) gave the Big Train the one-run lead.
Burleson’s bat stayed hot, and a three-run homer in the top of the fifth extended Bethesda’s lead even further. “Surprisingly I didn’t get a lot of off-speed,” said Burleson. “I was just getting a lot of fastballs, and I was just timing them up on-deck and in the dugout. It felt good to put a good swing on it.”
Herndon took back one run in the bottom of the fifth, after Jon Clines (Virginia Military Institute) doubled, stole third, then came home on an attempted throw down at second.
An RBI-single in the sixth from Wylie drove in Westerman who had tripled to start the inning, putting the Big Train ahead 8-4. “It’s just each guy taking every at-bat seriously, never taking a pitch off, “ said Westerman. “Every guy buying-in and being serious for the whole three hours of the game… we were all really locked into the game…[we] all want to play for each other.”
The Braves weren’t done fighting, however, and tacked on three runs in the bottom of the inning, cutting the Big Train’s lead to one run. Bethesda responded, working two walks and a hit-by-pitch to load the bases with one out in the seventh. Only one run scored, but a quick bottom of the inning kept the Big Train ahead 9-7 heading to the eighth. Then, a sac fly from Udie Summerall scored Wylie from third, giving Bethesda the three-run lead.
Bethesda starter Chris Clarke put up a strong start, pitching five innings, giving up four runs on three hits and recording two strikeouts. Anthony Piccolino (James Madison) relieved Clarke and pitched 2/3 of an inning, followed by Gavin Hinchliffe, who worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth to keep Bethesda ahead. Hinchliffe pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
Scott Parker (San Francisco) entered for the eighth, recording three outs in a row to end the inning and force Herndon to strand two runners.
Jacob McCarvel (Cal Baptist) closed out the game for Bethesda, pitching the ninth and securing the 10-7 victory for the Big Train. “[Our pitchers] were making quality pitches when they need to,” said head coach Sal Colangelo. “They’re doing the little things.”
The Big Train return home to face the D.C. Grays (3-5) on Friday. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.