After a six-game rain delay, the Big Train (15-2) defeated the Baltimore Redbirds 9-2 in a game that began on June 20.
The Redbirds (13-6) started the scoring in the first inning on June 20, after Tim Elko doubled in the top of the second, then made it to third and home on two passed balls.
“Any time you play a great team like that…they’re going to battle you every pitch, every inning,” said head coach Sal Colangelo. “It’s a good thing because one, we beat a great team, but we did the little things when we needed to.”
But, the Big Train were quick to responded, with one run coming in after Alec Burlseon (East Carolina) hit a leadoff double, moving to third on a single from Carson Taylor (VA Tech) and making it home on a single from A.J. Lee (Maryland). Between the two singles, Justin Wylie (Arizona) walked, meaning Lee’s single loaded the bases with no outs for catcher Jacob Southern (Jacksonville).
As Southern stepped to the plate, he fouled off four pitches in a row to stay alive. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, the right-hander smoked a home run to left field, his first home of the year and a grand slam that put Bethesda ahead 5-1 heading into the third inning.
But, with one out in the top of the third and a runner on first after a Big Train error, heavy rain and lighning put the game on hold, to be picked back up on June 26.
The game restarted on June 26, picking back up with a runner on first and one out for Baltimore. The middle four innings were quiet, with 11 strikeouts between the Redbirds and Big Train starters between the third and sixth innings.
“I always try to pound the strike zone,” said Big Train starter Carlos Lomeli (St. Mary’s CA). For both teams, the strike zone grew and shrunk throughout the game, and Lomeli acknowledged that at points he did throw pitches that took advantage of that strikezone. “It was just easier to pitch to,” he said. “It was kind of on-and-off with the strike zone.”
Bethesda’s offense picked back up in the seventh inning, after Jacob Southern doubled and Udie Summerall (Florida Atlantic) walked to put runners on first and second with one out. A double from Fox Semones (James Madison) scored Southern, and single from Tyler Villaroman (San Francisco) drove home Andrew Shebloski (St. Mary’s CA), who pinch-ran for Summerall, and Semones, putting the Big Train ahead 8-1.
Then, a perfectly-placed bunt down the third-base line gave John Glenn (Cal Baptist) a single and put runners on first and second with two outs, but both runners were left on base.
“[The Redbirds] shifted a lot,” said Colangelo. “Glenn’s like ‘oh can I bunt,’ and I’m like ‘yeah bunt,’ if they want to shift and take that out, then go ahead, use your game.”
The Redbirds tacked on a run in the eighth, after Carl Gindl singled to left field, then advanced to second on an error. A double from Kevin Madden brought home Gindl for the only Baltimore run of the inning, and their last run of the game.
Bethesda center fielder Justin Wylie responded in the bottom of the inning, sending a solo home run over the left-center field wall. His homer put the Big Train up 9-2, and a three-strikeout top of the ninth for reliever Jacob McCarvel (Cal Baptist) secured the win for Bethesda.
“We were able to scratch away some hits and get on the board,” said Wylie. “I missed the first pitch and he came back with another fastball and I was able to get that one.”
McCarvel finished off what June 20 starter Chris Clarke (Southern California) and June 26 starter Carlos Lomeli (St. Mary’s CA) started. The two started had a combined nine strikeouts, with Lomeli recording eight. The trio allowed two earned runs on five hits and two walks.
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