After falling behind early, the Bethesda Big Train (17-2) rallied, pulling ahead to defeat the Loudoun Riverdogs (3-15) 9-5 on Thursday, June 28 at Shirley Povich Field.
The Big Train started slowlyt, giving up three runs in the top of the first after starter Tuck Tucker (Maryland) allowed a walk, single and a double with one out. Then a single from the Riverdogs’ Caleb Beatty finished the scoring, driving home the runner on second.
Bethesda finally got on the board in the bottom of the fourth, putting up one run after a Justin Wylie (Arizona) lead-off single. Wylie stole second, then came home on a double from catcher Ben Martz (Santa Barbara Community College).
“[The guys] stepped up when needed,” said head coach Sal Colangelo. “[They] came in, got some nice hits in the clutch, and that’s what we ask for. They’re great players.”
Another run for the Big Train came in the fifth, after A.J. Lee (Maryland) hit a one-out single. Another single, this time from Alec Burleson (East Carolina), moved Lee over to second. Then, Justin Wylie singled to drive in Lee, cutting the Riverdogs’ lead to one run.
But the Riverdogs tacked on a couple more runs in response, after back-to-back singles led off the top of the sixth and a one-out single through the five-six gap drove in the two base runners. With that, Loudoun took a 5-2 lead.
The Big Train refused to be shut down, however, putting up a five-run bottom of the sixth to take the 7-5 lead. Jacob Westerman (San Francisco) led off the inning being hit by a pitch. He made it to second on a wild pitch and then stole third, eventually scoring along with Tyler Villaroman (San Francisco) on a double from Carson Taylor (VA Tech). Another double, this time from Alec Burleson, drove in Taylor and Lee, who was on third. Burleson came home on another single from Justin Wylie, completing the five-run inning.
More scoring from Bethesda came in the seventh, with a two-run home run from Ben Martz driving in Jacob Westerman, who had reached on an error to start the inning. Martz’ homer, his second of the summer, gave the Big Train the 9-5 lead.
“I just was looking for a pitch to hit,” said Martz. “I haven’t been hitting that well, and I just wanted to hit the ball for once…it actually just turned out better than I expected it to.”
That lead looked small in the eighth, when the Riverdogs loaded the bases with one out. But a fielder’s choice caught the runner at home, and a three-strike strikeout from reliever Gavin Hinchliffe kept Loudoun from cutting into Bethesda’s lead.
Hinchliffe entered after strong outings by Tucker, Josh Nelson (Wayne State) and Elliot Zoellner (Maryland). The four pitched eight innings, allowing five runs on nine hits, working out of a number of jams and striking out 13 in total.
Hunter Brown (Wayne State) pitched a shutout top nine to secure the win, striking out one and facing the minimum three batters.
“Coming in to finish off the game, you want to just go right at guys,” said Brown. “Just try and get out of there as quick as possible, and that’s what I tried to do.”
The Big Train take on the Alexandria Aces at home tomorrow, June 29. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. Its Caps night and we're celebrating with the Caps Street Team!