Big Train knock off Grays in up and down contest

By: Owen Krucoff
Bryan Diaz crosses home after his third inning home run gave Big Train a lead. Diaz was making his first start since June 9 after struggling with a shoulder injury.

In a wild, back and forth game in southeast D.C., Big Train (16-2) pulled out a 10-5 win over the D.C. Grays (8-12) on Wednesday night.

The action began in the top of the first at the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, when Bethesda centerfielder Tyler Villaroman (San Francisco) hit a solo home run to hand Big Train an initial lead. D.C. responded with a run in the bottom of the inning, but Big Train starter Carter Bach (Wake Forest) managed to strand three Grays runners by striking out three of the last four hitters.

After a scoreless second, rightfielder Bryan Diaz (Nova Southeastern), in his first start since returning from a shoulder injury that had sidelined him for multiple weeks, smacked another home run to reinstate the one-run advantage. After the next three batters loaded the bases, RBI sacrifice flies from first baseman Alec Burleson (East Carolina) and third baseman Carson Taylor (Virginia Tech) scored two more runs.

The Grays struck back immediately. After two walks to start the bottom of the third, designated hitter Jahleel Sewer hit a three-run shot to tie the game, chasing Bach from the game in the process.

Scott Parker (San Francisco) came in in relief, but still allowed one more run before getting out of the inning. Parker would lock down the Grays offense from that point forward. In three more innings on the mound, he allowed just one D.C. hit and no runs. He would finish his night having done more work than he expected, but with plenty of success all the same. “[At first], I was probably going to go two [innings],” Parker said. That was kind of the game plan, and we kind of just worked from there… I’m not really doing anything special, I’m just kind of mixing speeds, throwing multiple pitches in the strike zone.”

While Parker kept the D.C. offense in check, Big Train tied the game back up at five thanks to a Justin Wylie (Arizona) home run in the fifth.

Bethesda would finally break into the lead for good in the top of the eighth. With runners on first and second, shortstop Fox Semones (James Madison) ripped a two-run triple for what would be the game’s winning runs.

After two more insurance runs in the ninth, Bethesda completed its fifth straight victory. “I think it was a good team win,” Big Train manager Sal Colangelo said. “Everyone contributed… and the pitchers came in and did a nice job getting after it.”

Diaz finished his night with three hits and two RBI, despite hitting at the bottom of the order. Colangelo was impressed with his impact upon return from injury. “[Bryan has] done a great job,” Colangelo said. “He’s a good player, he was tampered by a little bit of a shoulder issue, but he’s fine now, and we’re throwing big things at him.”

With the win, Bethesda keeps its place atop the Cal Ripken League South Division, while the Grays remain in fourth place. Big Train will return to action at Povich Field on Thursday night at Povich Field against the Loudoun Riverdogs.

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