Catcher Jacob Southern (Jacksonville) is congratulated by teammates after hitting a home run in game one of Saturday's doubleheader. His was just the fifth homer hit out of the expansive Montgomery College field so far this season.
Big Train (20-3) completed a 4-0 season sweep of the Rockville Express (9-12) at Montgomery College in Rockville on Sunday, winning both ends of a doubleheader, 15-10 and 8-0.
A blistering hot afternoon became a much more bearable night as Bethesda worked Rockville’s pitching for 26 hits over the two games. The weather conditions were a factor for at least a large part of the opening game. Besides the oppressive heat, the wide open field proved to be a busy area for insect activity, which bothered players at all positions. “It was pretty hot out here, but the bugs were more of the issue,” Big Train designated hitter Udie Summerall (Florida Atlantic) said. In the batter’s box, in the field, everything.”
The scoring got going right away in game one, as centerfielder Tyler Villaroman (San Francisco) singled, then went on to steal the next three bases on one play thanks to an Express error.
Bethesda would carry a 3-1 lead into the fourth, when designated hitter Udie Summerall (Florida Atlantic) and shortstop A.J. Lee notched back to back singles to start the frame. The following batter, second baseman Fox Semones (James Madison) scored each of them with a 2-RBI double. Express starting pitcher Adan Reinoso departed after the sixth, having allowed 12 hits and 12 runs, 9 of which were earned.
Bethesda’s many offensive highlights included a triple for Summerall with the bases loaded in the sixth, which then became something of an inside the park grand slam when Summerall scored on a throwing error as part of the same play. “It’s so nice to be out here with all the guys, and the more you have fun, the better you do,” Summerall, who had 4 hits and 6 RBI over the two games, said.
Down 13-4 heading into the eighth, Rockville would not go down lightly. In a rough sequence for the Big Train bullpen, the Express brought ten batters to the plate in the inning, including six consecutive who reached base. When the dust cleared, the lead had been cut to 13-10. Big Train tacked on two insurance runs in the top of the ninth and righthander Cameron Vassar (James Madison) finished off the victory by pitching a perfect home half.
At first, the seven-inning back end of the doubleheader appeared to be a polar opposite of its predecessor. While the first game had seen at least one team score in all nine innings, Big Train starting pitcher Brock Guffey (Alabama) and Express starter Po HanSuh each pitched three scoreless innings to start the later contest. That all changed in the fourth, however, when Bethesda’s offense sprung to life once more. With one out, a 2-run double from Udie Summerall scored third baseman Carson Taylor (Virginia Tech), who had tripled to lead off the inning, and centerfielder Jacob Westerman (San Francisco). Catcher Ben Martz (Santa Barabara CC) hit a triple of his own a few at bats later, scoring two more runs. First baseman John Glenn (Cal Baptist) would also supply a two-run double in what became a seven-run inning for Big Train.
Guffey completed a superb start after five innings, allowing just two hits and striking out five. It was also his longest outing of the season so far. “[Tonight’s start] was really good,” Guffey said. “I was able to command my fastball whenever I wanted to, and all my off-speed pitches were strikes today.”
After taking a tough loss on the road to the Baltimore Redbirds the night before, it was important to the team to be able to rebound and pick up both wins on Sunday. “It means the world, any time you can come back after a tough loss, when you’re kind of down and tired, and come back ready to play, it’s always a good thing,” Big Train manager Sal Colangelo said. In a testament to the balance of Big Train’s offensive production, every BIg Train starter scored a run in the first game, while all but one did the same in the nightcap.
A busy stretch of games will continue for Big Train on Monday at Povich Field, when the Baltimore Dodgers visit for another doubleheader, 4:30pm and 7pm.