At the season’s halfway point, the Bethesda Big Train have been dominating the CRCL-South and the Cal Ripken league as a whole, improving to 18-2 on the season with last night’s win over the Alexandria Aces. Tonight, they’ll look to continue that success as they start a two-day, three-game road stretch with a game against the Baltimore Redbirds (15-6).
It will likely be two-way player Alec Burleson (East Carolina) on the mound tonight for the Big Train. He enters the night with a 0.00 ERA, having struck out seven and allowed three hits in his two previous appearances.The last time the lefty pitched was in a June 23 game agiasnt the Herndon Braves. During that game he struck out four in his five innings of work, and the team used his batting abilities to remonve the DH, having Burleson bat in the three-hole. It sounds like a broken record at this point, but he continues to lead the league in the ‘triple crown’ of batting, hitting .510, with 8 home runs and 30 RBIs.
Justin Wylie (Arizona) trail Burleson with six homers. Wylie also trails Burleson in batting average, hitting at .400. Rising fresman Carson Taylor (VA Tech) comes tied for second-place in the league RBI leaderboard, with 18.
The Big Train continue to reach base over 40 percent of the time, with a .415 on-base percentage. This is aided by the team’s ability to work a pitch count for a walk, in particular that ability of Fox Semones (James Madison) and Tyle Villaroman (San Francisco). The pair has a combined 29 walks.
For the Redbirds, Brendan Cellucci will likely take the bump for the evening start. The lefty works a 1.28 ERA in four starts, the most recent a one-inning appearance against the Big Train on June 26. Cellucci has struck out 13, giving up hits two runs on eight hits and five walks.
For Baltimore, four players are hitting above .300, with Carl Gindl leading the team, batting .423 on the season with 30 hits. Three players, Justin Vought, Joe Zirolli and Adam Hackenburg leading the team in home runs with a three apiece. Vought hasn’t played since June 24, however, wearing a knee brace that may indicate he will be out for some time.
The Redbirds are reaching base approximately four percentage points less than the Big Train, with an on-base percentage of .379. D.J. Poteet leads the team with 14 walks.
If Bethesda continues to wait for the right pitch, capitalizing on balls and working as many walks and free bases as possible, Baltimore may be in danger of another loss to the Big Train. This plus the team’s hitting prowess and strong pitching in Burleson should continue to prove deadly in tonight’s matchup.
First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. at Calvert Hall High School.
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