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Big Train conquers the T-Bolts to play in the Championship series

By: Mollie Belson
Carson Taylor congratulates Fox Semones after he scores for Bethesda

Big Train and the T-Bolts battled it out through nine innings today in the second game of the semifinal series, with Big Train emerging with a 14-8 win. After winning the first game of the series after a rain delay, this win puts Big Train in the finals of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League playoffs. Big Train will be playing against the Baltimore Redbirds in the first game of the finals tomorrow, July 27, at Bethesda’s home ballpark.

Big Train captured the lead early in the game, earning two runs in the top of the first inning. In two pitches, Big Train was able to score, with Fox Semones (James Madison University) hitting a double on the first pitch of the game and Tyler Villaroman (University of San Francisco) hitting a double on the second pitch, allowing Semones to come home and score. Villaroman came home to score off a sacrifice fly out from Alec Burleson (East Carolina University), putting Big Train in a 2-0 lead.

The T-Bolts closed the gap to 2-1 in the bottom of the inning, with Corey Rosier scoring off a hit from Jack Schroeder.

Bethesda answered back in the second inning, earning an additional two runs from John Glenn (California Baptist University) and Jacob Southern (Jacksonville University).

The T-Bolts rallied in the fifth inning, earning a total of 6 runs to put them in a 4-7 lead. Devon Jeffreys and Raven Beeman kicked off the scoring for the T-Bolts in the inning. Silver Spring clinched the lead off a grandslam homerun from Nicholas Atkinson, bringing Hunter Pearre, Rosier, and Schroeder home to score.

Big Train immediately answered back in the top of the sixth, earning two runs off a deep homerun to straight away center off the bat of Justin Wylie (University of Arizona) with Alec Burleson on base. With this homerun from Wylie, Bethesda narrowed the T-Bolts’s lead to 6-7.

Big Train reclaimed the lead in the eighth inning, earning three runs to put them in a 9-7 lead. AJ Lee (University of Maryland) came home to tie the score at 7-7 off a liner from Tyler Villaroman. With Semones and Villaroman on base, Carson Taylor (Virginia Tech University) stepped up to bat and hit a two RBI single, making it to second off a T-Bolts error.

Bethesda continued their streak in the ninth inning, earning another five runs to close out their game. With the bases loaded—Southern on third, Jacob Westerman (University of San Francisco) on second, and Lee on first—Fox Semones stepped up to the plate for Bethesda. Semones walked, bringing Southern home to score. Westerman and Lee were able to come home and score another two runs off a hit from Tyler Villaroman into right field. Semones and Villaroman earned the final two runs off the game off a groundball hit past second base from Carson Taylor.

The T-Bolts were able to earn their final run of the game off a homerun in the bottom of the ninth inning from Schroeder, bringing the endgame score to 14-8.

Carson Taylor was an important player in Big Train winning by 6 runs, earning 4 RBI off of 2 hits during the game. His first hit of the game, which brought Semones and Villaroman home to score, put Big Train back in the lead after the T-Bolts earned 6 runs and stole the lead. This hit from Taylor put Big Train back in control of the game, and they continued their momentum this play throughout the rest of the game. “I just wanted to look for a pitch to hit,” Taylor remarked after the game. He kept his approach simple, but effective. “I was starting to see [the pitches] better as the night went on, so I was just looking for a pitch I could handle.”

Head coach Sal Colangelo was overall satisfied with his team’s performance today. After starting out strong, the team allowed the T-Bolts to score six runs in the fifth inning. “They put six on us. We weren’t ready mentally. We were throwing pitches, breaking balls and fastball counts, and we didn’t look our same [Big Train baseball],” Colangelo said after the game.

But despite giving up the lead and allowing the T-Bolts to clinch the lead, Bethesda never gave up, and Colangelo admires and appreciates his team for their toughness. “These guys, as [we]’ve seen all year, are resilient. They come back. They could be down 5, and we score 7…. And that’s just what they did.”

Big Train remains at Shirley Povich for the first game of the championship series against the Baltimore Redbirds. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.