Zach Jancarski (Maryland) had the night off Friday, but thought he might get a shot to play late against the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts. After entering the game at centerfield in the top of the ninth, Jancarski came to the plate with one out in the bottom of the tenth.
“Once the score was tied late in the game [I] started getting my legs loose and tried to visualize stuff like that to happen,” Jancarski said. “So once my number was called I was ready.”
After working to a 3-2 count, Jancarski belted a walk-off single off the left-center wall, capping a wild ending to the Big Train’s 4-3 win over the Thunderbolts. The game pushed Bethesda’s win streak to four and it brought a successful start to their four-game home stand that concludes Sunday with a doubleheader against the D.C. Grays.
“In that situation with the bases loaded like that I knew he was going to try and beat me with his fastball,” Jancarski said. “He doesn’t want to walk the game-winning run in. So I was sitting dead right on that and [the ball] flew over the plate and I hit it pretty good.”
The East Norriton, PA native’s opportunity came after the Thunderbolts’ Brant Blaylock walked three straight batters to load the bases for the Maryland man. Jancarski waited on his pitch and unloaded. The Terrapin outfielder then began his jaunt to first base – throwing his arms in the air to celebrate halfway down the line as his teammates poured out of the dugout to greet the game’s hero.
“Once I hit it I knew the game was over,” Jancarski said. “Unfortunately it didn’t quite get over the fence but I’ll settle for the single and one RBI.”
Jancarski entered the game hitting .351 in his first 10 games with the Big Train and has been a staple in the starting lineup since arriving in Bethesda. But Friday proved how invaluable he can be off the bench for manager Sal Colangelo as well.
“Zach’s a great player,” Colangelo said. “It’s nice to look in that dugout to see someone like Zach you can put in the game to come through.”
Reliever Stephen Schoch (UMBC) helped get Jancarski his chance at the plate after pitching two innings of no-hit ball in the ninth and tenth. Schoch, who has yet to allow a run this season, has been sensational out of the pen and Colangelo has taken notice.
“Oh man he’s the backbone of our pitching staff,” Colangelo said. It’s nice to have someone like that to bring in.”
John Murphy (Maryland) allowed three runs over five innings to go with six strikeouts as the starter for the Big Train.
“Murphy started slow the first inning, Colangelo said. “But after that he did what we needed him to do to keep us in the game, to give us a chance to win the game.”
The dramatic win comes in the midst of struggles at home for the Big Train. Entering Friday’s game, Bethesda was only 6-5 at home, despite boasting a 16-6 record overall. But Friday gave Colangelo hope heading into the weekend, particularly that he can depend on anyone on his bench.
“I think we used just about everyone on the bench, everyone contributed in some way or fashion and it was a good team win.”
The Big Train continue their home stretch Saturday night against the Gaithersburg Giants. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. The force will be strong in the park as we celebrate Star Wars Night.
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