Box Score: L, 0-15
The baseball gods were just not on Bethesda's side tonight, as the team dropped it's home opener to the Rockville Express.
The official attendance tonight nearly hit quadruple digits, sitting at an official 956 fans, topping the season-high 814 that showed up for the first exhibition game against the Mid-Atlantic Rookies last week. Festivities included a moon bounce, Rita's Ice, a live band as well as free Opening Night T-Shirts distributed to the first 750 fans provided by Grossberg Company.
Perfect Game USA Vice President Allan Simpson also traveled up to Shirley Povich Field from North Carolina in order to present manager
Sal Colangelo his 2011 National Championship Trophy; his third in as many seasons. The Big Train Online Network had a chance to interview Simpson on various topics such as the Cal Ripken League, Sal Colangelo, Big Train Star Hunter Renfroe and much more. The interview can be seen here (interview in top of the third inning).
Kelly Secrest (UNC Wilmington) made his return to the mound tonight, going three innings and giving up three runs. Secrest showed good command of both his fastball and off speed pitches, however it was clearly a night of nights for Rockville.
Though the final score was in favor of the Express, there were many highlights to take from the game. Relief pitcher Cameron Cuneo (UC Santa Barbara) came in to relieve Ricky Holden (UNC Wilmington) in the sixth, and threw four innings of one-run baseball. Cuneo may be the answer to the recent struggles by the pitching staff, as he clearly had the best "stuff" on the team tonight.
Ryan Doran (San Diego State) and Robbie Kidd (Tennessee) were also pleasant surprises tonight, each collecting hits against Rockville ace Mike Ryan. Both normally pitchers, Doran and Kidd adjusted well to their new roles (third base and DH, respectively). Doran in particular showed off his versatility making multiple impressive defensive plays at third base, and will be a solid backup option for Sal Colangelo at the hot corner moving forward as regular starter Brendan Hendriks (San Francisco) returns to the lineup.
Both Hendriks and infielder/pitcher Matt Bowman (Princeton) were out of the lineup tonight for the Big Train. Hendriks suffered an apparent cut to his face during pre-game warmups, and required stitches, while Bowman left immediately after the trophy presentation to sign a contract with the New York Mets. Bowman, like fellow Big Train teammate Michael Aldrete (San Jose State - Drafted by St. Louis in the 39th round), was drafted in this week's MLB First Year Player Draft, and reached a quick agreement with the team.
Look for the Big Train to build on the bright spots of tonight's performance tomorrow at home against the Vienna Riverdogs.