The Big Train take on the Alexandria Aces on Sunday at Shirley Povich Field
One key to the Bethesda Big Train’s 5-0 season start is something that does not show up in a box score or presented in the season statistics.
The Big Train have accelerated their team chemistry on and off the field, an ingredient that has been the result of the team’s early success.
“A lot of the guys are really close for only being here a few days,” outfielder James Outman (Sacramento State) said. “That definitely plays a factor because everyone will mesh better when we have better chemistry.”
With players represented from 18 different universities from around the country, getting to know each other was of vital importance for the Big Train to have success down the road. Individuals went up to new faces of the Big Train, bravely introducing themselves by talking about basic aspects going on in their lives.
Nervous tension was eased once the natural feelings of communication came into place and jokes began to crack. According to outfielder Matt Green (Saint Mary’s), playing relaxed has been the ignition to the Big Train’s early five-game winning streak.
“I feel like we’re not stressing too much,” Green said. “Winning is coming more easy and we’re having fun doing it.”
The team chemistry became stronger when players started talking during batting practices and team meals before the game. Along with playing non-related baseball games as a pregame routine and cracking jokes in the dugout, some players give rides to each other after every game that leads to more in depth conversation.
Infielder Garrett Kueber (Austin Peay State) is currently rooming with Jacob Koos’ (Stetson) host family, the Waldman's, because his host family has extended family staying out the house for the week. The move resulted in the two doing more things together on and off the field, including attending Saturday’s Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League Feed the Hungry Challenge, benefiting the Manna Food Center, together.
Six out of the eight groups in Saturday’s food drive contained players where not every player was a member of the same university, creating an extended opportunity to strengthen the team's bond.
“I love every guy on this team,” Green said. “You have your funny guys, you have your airheads. We don’t really have too many serious guys, which I think is a good thing because in summer ball we’re trying to have fun, trying to do well.
“So we don’t really want any sticklers and there really isn’t any, so it’s good to have fun with the guys and win.”
The Alexandria Aces are coming off an 8-2 win at the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts on Saturday, bringing a 4-1 record into Shirley Povich Field on Sunday. While the Aces will attempt to down the Bethesda’s spirits with their first loss of the season, the Big Train’s focus is to continue having fun doing what they do that has allowed the chemistry and the wins to surge.
“We want to see the ball, hit the ball, we want to get after it, be aggressive and come after it,” manager Sal Colangelo said. “They’re a great ball club and we’re going to have some fun. We’re not going to change anything we’re doing. We’re going to get after it and have some fun.”