The Bethesda Big Train hosted the second-place Southern Maryland Nationals on Thursday night in a battle of the top two teams in the league. The Big Train had their eyes set on padding their first-place lead, as a win would extend the lead to 3.5 games.
Justin Hepner (San Diego State) - pictured above - got the start for the Big Train, and gave the team four quality innings, giving up just one run on three hits while striking out four. The run would come in the second inning, but the Big Train offense would soon make it a non-issue.
After a leadoff double by Harrison Bruce (San Francisco) to start the bottom of the third inning, Kyle Wernicki (Virginia Tech) would come up with a big one-out RBI single to score Bruce and tie the game at 1-1.
The following inning, the Big Train would take their first lead of the game. With two outs, Ryne Willard (Tallahassee CC) would hit a double to keep the inning alive, scoring on an error by Southern Maryland's Bryce Shemer. While the Big Train did end up stranding a runner in the inning, they secured the 2-1 lead heading into the fifth inning.
Kit Scheetz (Virginia Tech) would come on in the fifth inning to relieve Hepner, and gave the Big Train four shutout innings out of the pen. Scheetz's solid appearance would ultimately leave him in line for the win.
The Big Train gave Scheetz two more runs of support in the sixth and seventh innings, as RBIs from Willard and Wernicki extended the lead to 4-1.
Trevor Charpie (Tennessee) would come on to close in the ninth, and allowed no runs en route to his fourth save on the season.
With the win, the Big Train now hold a 3.5-game lead on the Nationals, who suddenly find themselves in third place, half a game behind the Rockville Express and Baltimore Redbirds. The Big Train are now 8-2 in their last 10 games, and hold a 13-4 record on the year. Bethesda will look for win number 14 on Friday night, as they play host to the Alexandria Aces.
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