Big Train Walk Off Braves in Tenth Inning

Coming off a huge comeback against the D.C. Grays on Sunday, the Bethesda Big Train continued their success with a ten-inning walkoff victory against the South County Braves.

Bethesda led for most of the game, but the Braves tied it at five in the top of the ninth inning. After going to extras, South County plated a run in the top of the tenth to take a lead. Jack Cone (William & Mary) turned out to be the hero of the game with a sacrifice fly to right field in the bottom half, bringing Danny Neri (Notre Dame) home to end the ballgame 7-6 Big Train. 

The Big Train began the game by surrendering one run to the South County Braves in the top of the first. In the bottom of the inning Nolan Schanuel (Florida Atlantic) started off Big Train’s scoring with a double to right field for his 15th hit and 16th RBI of the season.

Through the next four innings, Big Train excelled defensively. Holding the Braves to zero runs, pitcher Jake Eddington (Alabama) also ended up facing only 15 batters in that stretch. In total, he threw five innings with three strikeouts and a lot of weak fly outs and grounders to keep the Braves at bay.

Stalled by the Braves after the first, Darius Foster (San Francisco) broke Big Train’s drought in the bottom of the fifth on a double that brought in Keith Torres (Sacramento State) and Austin Gauthier (Maryland) for a 3-1 ballgame.

South County put another run on the board in the top of the sixth. Although the Braves pitcher loaded the bases in the bottom half with two hit by pitches and a walk, the Train was unable to take advantage of the opportunity. After six full innings, Big Train led 3-2.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Braves pitcher hit two batters and walked one, loading the bases again. This time Big Train was able to capitalize on the Braves’ pitching mishaps. A fielder’s choice from Foster earned him his third RBI of the night as Brady Gumpf (Notre Dame) crossed home. Another hit by pitch on Danny Neri (Notre Dame) reloaded the bases and convinced the Braves to make a pitching substitution.

The pitching change had little effect on the Big Train, as Schanuel reached on a grounder to first to bring Torres home and improve their lead to 5-2.

The Big Train celebrates after Jack Cone's tenth-inning walk-off sacrifice fly. 

In the top of the ninth, the Braves were able to post three runs to match Big Train’s run total to tie the game at five. Heading into the bottom half of the inning, Big Train had a chance to win the game without going to extras, but were unable to bring a runner home. 

South County scored on an error in the top of the tenth for a 6-5 ballgame – the first time the Big Train had trailed since the first inning. But Ryan Metz (Virginia Tech) got a strikeout, a putout at home, and a groundout to put Big Train back up at bat.

An error by the Braves first baseman saw Ryley Johnson (East Carolina) advance to second base. Neri brought Johnson home with a double to deep right-center to tie the game at six. He moved up to third on a wild pitch, and after a walk to Schanuel, Cone brought him home with a fly ball to deep right for Big Train’s 16th win of the season in walkoff fashion.

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