With the Bethesda Big Train and D.C. Grays tied 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning Tuesday night, the Big Train used a little bit of luck to take advantage of a golden scoring opportunity.
Keith Torres (Sacramento State) stood at the plate with a friendly 2-0 count and runners on the corners and took a wild pitch from the Grays’ pitcher which made its way past the catcher and near the backstop. The miscue allowed Jack Cone (William & Mary) to race home freely and award the Big Train a 4-3 lead.
The crucial mistake from the Grays then immediately led to Bethesda scoring once again on another error, as Bethesda edged out a tight 5-3 win at Shirley Povich Field Tuesday evening. The Big Train now sit atop the league with a strong 19-4 record and an 11-2 record at home. Bethesda improves to 4-0 against the Grays this season and have outscored D.C. in those meetings by a combined 18 runs.
To kick off the fourth meeting of the season with the Grays, the Big Train’s starting pitcher Jake Eddington (Alabama) terminated an early opportunity for the Grays in the top of the first. With a runner on third and one out, Eddington, who had conceded just four earned runs over his past 13 innings of work, needed just nine pitches to strike out two consecutive batters and keep the game scoreless.
Eddington’s solid response on the mound immediately gave Bethesda’s offense a jolt of energy in the bottom of the opening inning. Ryley Johnson (East Carolina) and Darius Foster (San Francisco) made it aboard off a pair of Grays’ errors, both which came off ground balls, then Matt Thomas (William & Mary) hit another grounder towards the shortstop to bring home Johnson for the Big Train’s first run of the evening.
Kemp Alderman (Ole Miss) then followed suit and nearly cracked his fifth homer of the year, but the Mississippi product settled for a deep fly ball that hit the upper portion of the left field fence for an RBI double, driving in Foster in to give Bethesda a swift 2-0 lead after a full inning of play.
After D.C. answered quickly with one run in the top of the second, the Big Train put themselves right back in the driver’s seat on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third. Johnson knocked a single to start the inning’s action, then Foster sliced a line drive to left field to put runners on first and second. Both runners each advanced one base over because of a passed ball and Alderman took care of business from there with a ground ball to short to put Bethesda back up by two runs.
The Grays put more pressure on Eddington with the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the fourth. However, the Big Train’s starter wiggled out of it as he surrendered just one run and got out of the jam with the Big Train still holding a 3-2 lead.
Everett Catlett (Georgetown) stepped onto the mound in relief of Eddington and kept D.C.’s batters in check with two strikeouts in the top of the fifth to maintain Bethesda’s one-run advantage. The Big Train put runners on the corners in the bottom half but couldn't capitalize to extend their lead.
This opened the door for the Grays to capitalize in the top of the sixth. D.C. drove home one run in the inning to tie the game at 3-3, but Johnson kept them from scoring a second. With one out, he caught a fly ball in center and fired a bullet home to throw out a Grays' runner on a potential sacrifice fly to end the half inning.
Ryan Daugherty (St. Mary’s CA) was the third Big Train pitcher to take the hill. He tossed a scoreless seventh and eighth inning as the contest remained deadlocked at three.
Despite relinquishing its previous two-run lead, Bethesda knocked in two runs in the bottom of the eighth off two errors from the Grays to take a 5-3 lead.
Ryan Metz (Virginia Tech) handled the closing pitcher duties in the top of the ninth and tossed a scoreless inning to help the Big Train capture their 19th win in 23 games.
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