Thursday's home opener at Shirley Povich Field proved to be an exciting game to see. The Bethesda Big Train shutout the Alexandria Aces 8-0, improving their record to 2-0 in the Cal Ripken League's young season. The pitching staff combined for a no-hit shutout while the offense roared out of the gate early, and Big Train felt the rumble of the 535 fans in attendance cheering through it all.
Big Train started the scoring early, plating three runs in the bottom of the first. Darius Foster (San Francisco) got on base on a walk, dashing to second after a single by Gio Diaz (St. Mary’s CA). Foster added to his successful stolen base collection, taking third and putting himself closer to home with Diaz stealing second to advance himself into scoring position.
Jacob Southern (Jacksonville) approached the plate and worked a full count before he smacked the first home run of the Big Train season over the left field wall. His homer brought in three runs for Bethesda, putting them ahead early against Alexandria.
“It was awesome, I love hitting with wood a lot more than I like hitting a metal bat,” Southern said of his first home run of the season.
Bethesda had a chance to add on more, as Drew Hamrock (Virginia) advanced to first on a single and stole both second and third, but was left on base at the end of the inning.
The runs kept coming in the bottom of the second. Ryan Daugherty (St. Mary’s CA) advanced to first on an error by the Aces' second baseman. On a fielder’s choice, Anthony Piccolino (James Madison) made it to first. Foster then singled to advance his teammate into scoring position, and Diaz followed with a single as Foster and Piccolino headed home, giving Big Train a 5-0 lead.
Play continued through three scoreless innings until the bottom of the fifth. Southern returned to the bases on a walk, and after he stole second, he was driven home on a Hamrock single. Hamrock stole second and advanced to third on a single by Soderstrom, but was left on base. Big Train added one more in the bottom of the sixth when Daugherty singled and was eventually driven in by a walk with the bases loaded.
Meanwhile, Dalton Ponce (St. Mary's CA) tossed six strong scoreless innings, allowing no runs and no hits while striking out ten Aces. Jack Weeks (Georgetown) picked up the save with three scoreless innings of his own.
The final run scored by Bethesda was earned in the bottom of the eighth. The bases were loaded full of Big Train players walked on by the opposing pitcher. A single by Diaz drove in Daugherty, settling the score to 8-0.
Bethesda Big Train (2-0) will host the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts (1-1) for their second match-up of the 2019 season on Friday evening. The first pitch is set for 7 p.m. at Shirley Povich Field, and gates will open at 5:30 p.m. It's Baseball Card Night. Young fans who make it to the park early will be given baseball cards.