Big Train travel to face FCA Braves in finale of historic regular season

By: Owen Krucoff
After finishing the regular season on the road Friday, Big Train will return home to begin its league semifinal series on Monday night.

After clinching the top overall seed in the Cal Ripken League playoffs with a 7-1 win at the Gaithersburg Giants on Thursday, Big Train (33-6) will head to Annandale on Friday for a matchup with the FCA Braves (18-19) that is still full of playoff implications.

Bethesda is putting the finishing touches on one of its best regular seasons ever, having broken the team record for wins in a 40-game season and having lasted the entire year without losing a nine-inning game at home. The Braves, on the other hand, are in the thick of a dense playoff race as the regular season nears its conclusion.

Three of the league’s six postseason berths are still up for grabs, with the Braves, D.C. Grays, Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts, Rockville Express and Alexandria Aces all separated by just two and a half games. Neither team has named a probable starting pitcher for the game, but both have some intriguing options in their lineups to challenge whoever takes the mound.

Bethesda outfielder Justin Wylie (Arizona) leads the Ripken League with a .417 batting average, and pitcher Alec Burleson (East Carolina) leads the league with 10 home runs and 43 RBI. The Braves feature infielder Brett Norwood, who ranks sixth in the league with a .372 batting average, and outfielder Vinnie Costello, who is fourth in the league with six home runs.

Friday night’s first pitch is set for 7 p.m. at Annandale High School. Fans can follow the action via Twitter and Instagram (@gobigtrain), as well as by listening to the Big Train radio broadcast at the “Watch Live” link on the Big Train homepage.

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