Big Train defeats Grays 13–1 with a late power surge

The Big Train steamrolled the Grays 13-1 on Wednesday night, as explosive hitting in the middle innings propelled Bethesda to its league-leading 12th victory of the season. 

After a scoreless first inning, the Grays opened up the scoring in the bottom of the second, on a high fly ball that dropped between the Big Train defenders in shallow right center field, allowing a run to score. The Big Train turned a double play moments later, keeping the score at 1–0 going into the top of the third. 

Kemp Alderman (left; Ole Miss) and Kyle Velazquez (right; St. Mary's CA) celebrate with Rocco Peppi (center; Long Beach State) after his three-run homer in the fifth inning. 

The bats on both sides went quiet until the top of the fifth, when, after a pair of walks, Kyle Velazquez (Saint Mary’s CA) singled home Keith Torres (Sacramento State) to tie the game at one. Moments later, Danny Neri (Notre Dame) hustled out an infield single, scoring Ryley Johnson (East Carolina). A few pitches after that, Rocco Peppi (Long Beach State) cranked a three-run homer that stayed just fair of the foul pole in left field to put the Big Train up 5–1. 

In the top of the sixth, with the bases loaded, Johnson drew a walk, scoring Trevor Doyle (Sacramento State) from third. One batter later, Christian Martin (Virginia Tech) scored on a fielding error by the third baseman to make it 7–1 Big Train. Neri ripped a two-run single to center to extend the lead to eight. One batter later, Peppi blasted his second homer of the game (and third of the year – all three coming in D.C.) over the scoreboard in left center field to give the Big Train an 11-1 cushion. 

In the top of the eighth, pinch hitter Brady Gumpf (Notre Dame) hit a moonshot into the D.C. night to make it 12–1 Big Train. A few batters later, Torres laced an RBI double into the left center field gap to extend the lead to a dozen. This would be the final run of the evening, concluding yet another dominant offensive performance from the Big Train; every batter reached base at least once. 

The player of the game was Peppi, as his second and third homers of the season were the highlights of Bethesda’s victory on Wednesday night. 

“My first two at-bats were tough, but I came back and found the zone and swung at pitches I could do damage on,” Peppi said of his performance. 

Zach Locke (Long Beach State) threw two scoreless frames to pick up his first win of the season. 

The pitching for the Big Train was dominant as well. In three innings of work, starting pitcher Jake Eddington (Alabama) struck out six Grays; relief pitchers Zach Locke (Long Beach State), Everett Catlett (Georgetown), Josh Grosz (East Carolina) and Jesse Barron (San Francisco) combined for nine strikeouts in six innings. Catlett struck out the side in the sixth in his Big Train debut.

The Big Train will be back in action on Thursday against the Giants at Shirley Povich field at 7 p.m., where they’ll look to avenge last week’s loss at Gaithersburg. 

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