Rockville, MD – The Alexandria Aces (28-4) overwhelmed the Bethesda Big Train (21-13) 3-2 to sweep Tuesday's doubleheader between the two teams. Even though the team lost twice to the Aces, Bethesda coaches believe the team has similar levels of talent.
“We know what it takes to win, but we got to be able to execute the little things to win big games,” said associate head coach Galvin Morris.
The Aces immediately threatened in the top of the first, putting runners at second and third with no outs, but Bethesda starter Jack Hostetler (Whitman College) got the next three batters out, preventing Alexandria from scoring.
Bethesda batters, on the other hand, took advantage of their opportunities in the first inning and scored the first run of the game. With runners at first and third, the Big Train executed a designed play. The Aces threw out Dean Toigo (Oregon) trying to steal second, but as the ball went to second base, Dixon Williams (East Carolina) stole home to make the score 1-0.
Hostetler performed well for the first chunk of the game, tossing three scoreless innings, but Alexandria broke through against him in the top of the fourth. With the bases loaded, Amari Allen scorched a 96 mile-per-hour two-run double down the first base line to give the Aces a 2-1 lead. Despite allowing the Aces to get on top, Hostetler allowed just those two runs and finished his day with seven strikeouts in four innings pitched.
In the top of the fifth, Alexandria extended their lead to 3-1 thanks to a Matt Ossenfort solo home run. Ossenfort’s blast was his second of the doubleheader and was 357 feet. It was also his league-leading eighth of the season.
The game remained taut into the later innings. The Green and White fought back in the bottom of the fifth, but they could only scratch across one run. Jack Guerrero (UNC Wilmington) reached third after left fielder Allen misplayed his double, and Connor Rasmussen (Tulane) then drove Guerrero in with an RBI groundout to make the score 3-2.
The Big Train offense did not do much of anything in the final two innings. Overall, Cameron Keshoek, Brett Hermann and Josh Rivera combined for six strikeouts and only allowed six hits in seven innings pitched. The game was only seven innings due to league rules about doubleheaders.
Despite the loss, in D.C., the Grays (14-22) thumped Cropdusters Baseball (21-14) 14-7. The Big Train have a 0.5 game lead in the Ripken League North Division. Bethesda’s magic number to clinch the division is now two, meaning the Green and White win the division if they win their last two games, or if Bethesda wins one game and the Cropdusters lose their final game.
Today, the Big Train honored Morris with “Coach G Appreciation Night.” Morris felt privileged to have the team and community celebrate his time with the organization.
“Big Train nation accepted me with open arms from the day I got here,” Morris said. “I can't ask for anything more than that.”
The Big Train host their final regular-season home game tomorrow at 7 p.m. against the Silver Spring - Takoma Thunderbolts (13-20). They play their last game of the regular season Friday against the Aces in Alexandria.
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