Garrett Kueber (Austin Peay)
ALEXANDRIA – Kevin Milam (St. Mary’s) did it all for the Big Train in Wednesday night’s division-clinching win over the Alexandria Aces.
“It just felt like I was in the game the whole entire time,” Milam said.
The Brentwood, CA native started on the bump for the Big Train, going six innings giving up just five hits along with six strikeouts in Bethesda’s 10-4 victory. At the dish, Milam finished 3-for-5 with 4 RBIs, three of which came on a home run in the third inning to open a 6-0 Big Train lead.
“He went down 2-1 so I knew a fastball was coming and [I] got a fastball and didn’t miss it,” Milam said.
Following Milam's dinger, the Aces would storm back to the tune of four unanswered runs, capped off by a Kam Smith two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh. Cam Vassar (James Madison) stopped the bleeding for the Big Train as he came in to retire three of the next four Aces batters to close the inning.
“Fastball they couldn’t catch up really so I tried sticking with that,” Vassar said. “Mike [Emodi] knew it too. Mike was going four out of five fastballs. I mean it was awesome.”
The Big Train responded with two runs in the top of the eighth and two in the ninth before sensational closer Stephen Schoch (UMBC) set down the Aces and granted Bethesda the South Division title.
"It's what we come out here to do," Garrett Kueber (Austin Peay) said. "Just keep winning, keep doing our thing. Happened for us tonight."
Aside from Milam, Zach Jancarski (Maryland), James Outman (Sacramento State), Vinny Esposito (Sacramento State), Logan Driscoll (George Mason) and Kueber all had multi hit games for the Big Train. Kueber was particularly impressive going 4-for-6 with an RBI.
“Just trying to do the same thing I always do,” Kueber said of his performance. “Just try and stick with my approach and keep swinging it.”
Luke Heyer (Kentucky) also extended his hitting streak to eight with a single in the second inning and narrowly missed a homerun in the sixth inning, pulling the ball left of the foul pole in left. Overall, the Big Train combined for 20 hits on the night.
Bethesda will now play their final two games of the season with the Division title in hand and enjoy a first round bye once the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League Playoffs begin. At 29-9, the Big Train will also finish with the CRCBL’s best record and receive home field advantage throughout the playoffs regardless of the outcome of their final two games.
“Any days off we can get we want to take advantage of,” Kueber said. “So that was awesome to be able to get those too.”
The Big Train’s second-to-last regular sesaon contest will be Thursday night against the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts while their first playoff series will begin Monday July 24 at Shirley Povich Field.