Outfielder Kirk Sidwell (Stetson) watches a hit ball at Shirley Povich Field
While the Bethesda Big Train are the ones to feed off their Shirley Povich Field crowd, the opposition has been the ones to get fired up.
A majority of the 1,255 fans over the past two Big Train games went home disappointed, as Bethesda gave up a combined 19 runs and combined for seven errors in a pair of weekend losses to move their record back to 13-6.
“Normally it’s flip-flopped, it’s reversed. We’ll play better at home than away,” manager Sal Colangelo said. “Anytime the teams come to this ballpark, they see the crowd, they get up to play. They’re pumped, they want to show who they are and they’re ready to go. Our guys just take it for granted and we’re just not getting ready to play.”
The Big Train have dropped four out of their last five home games, falling short by five or more runs. With Bethesda hitting .282 this season, the Big Train managed to come with only four hits in 30 at-bats against the Baltimore Dodgers.
Colangelo took a longer meeting with his team after Sunday’s defeat, motivating the team about giving more effort in front of the home fans, according to outfielder Kirk Sidwell (Stetson) said.
“He’s absolutely right,” Sidwell said. “We kind of just dogged it against the team we definitely should have beat. We just have to find that consistency to try to win every single game, not just one here and there.”
Pitchers and catchers stayed behind after the post game team meeting that was led by the assistant coaches. The assistant coaches’ message to the group was to go back to pitches that opposing batters are swinging on and pitching off their strengths, according to Sunday’s pitcher Tyler Smith (East Carolina).
Smith noted that part of the struggles at home was concentration on the mound and on the defensive side in the later innings.
“I think it’s just focus,” Smith said. “We have great infielders and I have very high faith in them. We just need to focus later on in the game and everything like that. We’ll come out (Monday) and get some more work in.”
The Big Train’s mindset is playing consistently both at home and on the road while staying on top of the Cal Ripken League Collegiate Baseball League standings. Bethesda takes on the familiar Loudoun Riverdogs on Monday at 7 p.m. at Shirley Povich Field, a team that the Big Train have had both offensive and defensive success over this season.
Scoring double-digit runs in the previous three games against the Riverdogs, the Big Train’s pitching only allowed two runs in the doubleheader on June 18 to move their record to 3-0 against Loudoun. Loudoun has dropped their last two games and hold a 5-13 record on the season.
Bethesda is going to be focused on improving their performance to a consistent high level.
“When we come out [at Shirley Povich Field], we’re really comfortable and maybe we’re a little too comfortable sometimes,” Sidwell said. “We have to bring the intensity wherever we play and I think we’ll do that from here on out.”
First 200 fans will receive Big Train rally towels as part of Green Night!