Rockville, MD – The Gaithersburg Giants (10-20) thrashed the Bethesda Big Train (19-10) 11-4 in a rain-shortened five-inning game on Saturday night at Shirley Povich Field. The Big Train were each wearing jerseys with the number 21 on them to celebrate Roberto Clemente's legacy of service on the team's Second Annual Roberto Clemente Community Service Day, but it made no difference as they fell behind early and could not scratch their way back.
Right from the start, Bethesda was off the pace. Starter Patrick Galle (Ole Miss) struggled with his command early, allowing Gaithersburg to jump out to an early 4-0 lead in the first inning. Galle walked the first two batters of the game, setting up Matthew Williams, Garrett Runyan and Bryce Demory to all hit RBI singles.
Bethesda responded to the Giants early lead in the bottom of the third. Clay Wargo (Louisiana Lafayette) walked with the bases loaded to bring home Bethesda’s first run of the game. Jack Guerrero (UNC Wilmington) soon after scored on a wild pitch by Giants starter Robert Lee, and Eddie Hacopian blooped an RBI single to right field to make the score 4-3.
The Green and White almost tied the game in the inning, but Giants first baseman Matthew Williams threw out Wargo at home plate as he was trying to score on a Connor Rasmussen (Tulane) groundout.
Galle and the Big Train blanked the Giants in the second and third innings, but in the fourth inning, Gaithersburg exploded for five runs. The damage was done whene Bennett Shealor hit a two-run single, and Demory knocked in two with a triple
Galle did not make it out of the fourth inning, and he finished his day with three plus innings pitched, seven earned runs and three strikeouts, ballooning his season ERA to 4.88.
The Giants kept on scoring in the top of the fifth. Right fielder Ben Nardi laced a double to left center field that drove in two and made the score 11-3.
Bethesda had an opportunity to make a comeback in the bottom of the fifth, but they squandered it. After loading the bases with nobody out, the Big Train managed to score only one run. Jacob Orr (Maryland) drove in the run with an RBI single, but on the play, Nardi threw out Rasmussen at home plate for the first out of the inning. The next two batters made no impact and the threat dissipated.
In the sixth inning, due to the continued presence of lightning and rain in the area around Shirley Povich Field, the umpires made the decision to suspend the game. Because the game reached five complete innings and the Giants were in the lead, league rules state it is an official game and a victory for Gaithersburg.
In other league action on Saturday, Cropdusters Baseball (20-11) dominated the Silver Spring - Takoma Thunderbolts (11-20) 14-2. With their win, the Cropdusters tied the Big Train at the top of the Cal Ripken Sr. Collegiate Baseball League North Division with the season moving into the home stretch. The winner of the north division avoids the hazards of a one-game playoff on Saturday, July 22.
The Big Train travel to Olney on Monday, July 17 for a critical doubleheader with the Cropdusters that will play a huge role in determining who gets that first-round bye.
Bethesda bounced back after the loss to Gaithersburg on Sunday, with a 13-3 win over the Metro SOCO Braves. Read the recap here.
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