When the Gaithersburg Giants and the Bethesda Big Train met Saturday night at Shirley Povich Field, one thing was on the line: first place atop the rankings in the Cal Ripken League standings. When the two teams left the field, the Big Train took a lot more than just that.
Bethesda doled out a magnificent six-pitcher no-hitter - the sixth in team history, and their second of the season - while scoring ten runs of their own, showing the next-level gear many expected this team possessed. In what was largely a team-wide effort, a couple players still made pretty strong impressions.
Jacob McCarvel (California Baptist) started the game and threw the first three innings, Michael Bechtold (James Madison) threw two, and Jared Billen (California Baptist), Jack Weeks (Georgetown), Elliot Zoellner (Maryland), Carter Spivey (East Carolina) each tossed one. They came in with low expected pitch counts for each pitcher they planned to use, but each of the six pitchers who played contributed in achieving a team-wide no-hitter. Only a third-inning hit by pitch, a fourth-inning error, and a ninth-inning walk stood kept the Bethesda staff from complete perfection.
Applauding the pitching effort, Bethesda manager Sal Colangelo said after the game: "The pitchers pitched extremely well today. They made a lot of good, quality pitches when they needed it. They worked well with Jacob [Southern] behind the dish--hit their spots. Most importantly we stressed you gotta pitch ahead. First pitch strikes. When you fall behind percentages are against you, and we gave up big innings [in the past] when we did that."
And in a game in which the Big Train had so many staff members contribute to a no-hitter, that applause is necessary. But Colangelo also acknowledged the team was clicking phenomenally in other aspects of the game as well.
"I don't know how many stolen bases we had--10, 12, 15. Every aspect of the game. We bunted when we needed, we executed, we threw strikes when we needed, we fielded the ball well with Gio [Diaz] and [Keith] Torres in the middle. We did all the little things that put ourselves in a position to win, and the credit goes out to them."
Kobe Kato (Arizona) kept on the tear he's been on with yet another multi-hit game. Tate Soderstrom (Arizona) had three hits and two walks in five plate appearances, good for a perfect OBP on the day. Soderstrom, after the game, said he was "just trying to see the ball, put a good swing on it, staying to my approach."
Jacob Southern (Jacksonville) crushed his third home run on the season, good for both the team and CRCBL lead.
"Honestly, you just put good swings on good pitches in the zone, just try to find barrel all the time," Southern commented post game. "But early this game I was trying to push the ball a little too much, but that at bat, I just let the barrel find the baseball."
And that he did. He also complimented the pitchers, adding that it certainly helps alleviate pressure when the pitchers are performing well and the batters can feel confident at the plate.
The no-hitter comes one week after Dalton Ponce (St. Mary's CA) and Weeks combined to no-hit the Alexandria Aces in the Big Train home opener. The victory marks their fourth consecutive and seems to show a team hitting their stride. With the increasing crowd participation at Shirley Povich Field and high attendance numbers, the fans know it too. This 10-0 victory and no-hit bid moves the Big Train's lead in first a tick further, but also demonstrates the potential this team posesses.
Bethesda will next be in action on Father's day against the Alexandria Aces in a double-header. So grab your Dad (or kid) and get him to the game so he can see your own first-place Big Train see if they can extend their lead in the CRCBL's standings with an opportunity to pick up two victories. The first game starts at 4 p.m. and both games will be seven innings.
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