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Big Train Blast Their Way Past Giants

By:Ben Portnoy
Justin Morris (center) is congratulated by Garret Kueber (left) after his home run in the second inning.

GAITHERSBURG – While the CRCBL home run derby doesn’t take place until Monday, the Big Train offense got a head start on the competition in a 13-0 win over the Gaithersburg Giants Sunday night.

“I think we were just playing loose out there,” first baseman Justin Morris (Maryland) said. “Guys were locked in.”

The hit parade began in the second inning courtesy of back-to-back home runs from Morris and Michael Emodi (Creighton). The Big Train piled on another four in the frame when Vinny Esposito (Sacramento State) hit a grand slam over the right-center fence.

“Anytime you go back-to-back it kind of shifts the momentum to your side and I think that’s what really sparked us,” Morris said.

Luke Heyer (Kentucky), who will represent the Big Train in the Home Run Derby, added another long ball in the sixth, one of his four hits on the night. Newcomer Jordan Sergent (High Point) added a triple off the wall in right field.

“I was just trying to put a good swing on it,” Heyer said. “And finally nice to get some credibility, put a home run out before the Home Run Derby.”

Logan Driscoll (George Mason) added another impressive performance to his MVP-caliber season going 3-for-3 with a double, boosting his season average to .352.

“Top to bottom we swung it well and we did the little things we needed to do,” manager Sal Colangelo said.

Starter Ty Madrigal (St. Mary’s) turned in another stellar performance on the mound Sunday. The lefty gave up only five hits in five innings of work and struck out four.

“He comes out here, he throws strikes, he’s got good sink to his ball and throws three pitches for a strike in any count,” Colangelo said of Madrigal. “Anytime a guy can do that you can to be very successful.”

Cam Vassar (James Madison), Alex Calvert (Erskine College), Matt Pulos (Cal State – Stanislaus) and Joe Nahas (UMBC) each pitched an inning of relief to complete the shutout.

The Big Train will get Monday night off while the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game takes place at Shirley Povich Field. League home run and RBI leader James Outman (Sacramento State), electric closer Stephen Schoch (UMBC), Morris and Driscoll are four of the 12 Bethesda players partaking in the game.

“We’re just going to have fun and enjoy and represent Big Train pretty well and just have a good time out there,” Morris said.

The Home Run Derby commences at 5:25 and first pitch for the All-Star Game is scheduled for 7:30.

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