After giving up the lead in the top of the eighth, the Bethesda Big Train (25-4) fought back from a four-run deficit, rallying for six runs to defeat the Baltimore Redbirds (21-7) 12-10 in an almost-four-hour game on Saturday.
“It’s them,” said head coach Sal Colangelo, motioning at the bench. “I made some changes, but [the players] have to react to the changes and come through, and they did.”
Big Train starter Brock Guffey (Alabama) posted a scoreless top of the first, allowing Bethesda to take the 3-0 lead in the bottom of the inning. Fox Semones (James Madison) hit a leadoff home run, and two more runs came in after Tyler Villaroman (San Francisco) and Carson Taylor (VA Tech) walked in back-to-back at-bats, then each stole second, making it home on a combination of a throw-down error and a wild pitch.
The Redbirds tacked on their first run in the top of the second, after a two-out walk put a runner on for Bo Majkowski to double in.
But, the Big Train maintained the lead, adding two runs in the bottom of the inning after catcher Ben Martz (Santa Barbara CC) and Fox Semones singled back-to-back, Tyler Villaroman walked, and Carson Taylor singled to bring home both Martz and Semones.
Baltimore threatened in the third, after back-to-back singles to start the inning. A double from Joe Zirolli brought in both runners, and an error and a bases-loaded walk drove in Zirolli for the third Redbirds run of the inning. The Big Train led 5-4 heading into the bottom of the inning, when they took the two-run lead back after a sacrifice fly from Fox Semones drove in John Glenn (Cal Baptist).
Bethesda didn’t keep the multi-run lead, however, and Baltimore tacked on another run in the top of the fourth after a lead off walk, and a stolen and single brought the Big Train’s lead to 6-5.
A combination of Brock Guffey, Jordan Poore (Florida Atlantic) and Ryan Metz (VA Tech) held Baltimore to the five runs until the top of the eighth, after a leadoff double-single combination from Christian Hlinka and Anthony Servideo brought in a run and tied the game at six runs apiece. Then, another double gave the Redbirds men on second and third with no outs. The Redbirds scored five runs off of four hits in the inning, working through Scott Parker (San Francisco) and Jacob McCarvel (Cal Baptist).
The Big Train proved they were down, but not out, with a six-run rally in the bottom of the eighth to regain the lead.
Back-to-back leadoff walks again put two runners on with no outs, with a single from Carson Taylor and a one-out double from Justin Wylie (Arizona) driving in a run apiece, bringing Bethesda within two runs of Baltimore. Then, with two runners on and one out, John Glenn hit a line drive to right field, driving home a run on the hit, with the tying run coming home off an error on the Redbirds’ catcher.
“Not much was going through my mind,” said Glenn about his approach at the plate. “Just see a fastball, get my hands to it and get a hit. Put a good swing on it and guys will score.”
Two walks loaded the bases, a walk to Ben Martz drove in the tie-breaking run and put the Big Train up 11-10 with bases still loaded and one out. Then, another walk to Fox Semones brought in another run and gave Bethesda a 12-10 lead heading into the top of the ninth.
“They had their approach out there,” said Colangelo. “The guy didn’t have good command…we just changed our approach around and then drew some walks, drew a hit, wild pitch, before you know it we got back in the game.”
Hunter Brown (Wayne State) closed out the game for the Big Train, keeping the Redbirds off the board in the top of the ninth and earning his second save of the season.
“[I] had to shut it down after we just took all the momentum back, putting up a six-spot after their five-spot,” said Brown. “You really just want to come in and do the job, and that’s what I was looking to do.”
Bethesda continues its home stand with a double-header Sunday against the Alexandria Aces. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.
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