The Bethesda Big Train (5-2) and D.C. Grays (4-4) combined to score 25 runs Friday night, as the Big Train earned their third straight victory by a score of 13-12. Jacob Southern (Jacksonville) led the way with five RBIs to extend his league-best total to 11 in seven games this season.
Hunter Cooley (Florida Atlantic) tossed a perfect top of the first inning for the Big Train, and in the bottom half of the inning, the team wasted no time scoring runs. Gio Diaz (St. Mary's CA) got the scoring parade started with an RBI single to score Christian Jayne (East Carolina). Diaz would later come around to score on a passed ball, and Matt Thomas (William & Mary) worked a bases-loaded walk as the Big Train took a 3-0 lead. The first inning gave all indications that a blow-out victory was in the making, but the second inning proved that Bethesda would be in for a fight.
D.C. plated seven runs in the top of the second. Both Reece Yeargain (Randolph-Macon) and Noah Searcy (Georgia Southern) ripped two-run singles, Michael Wynne (Wofford) was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, and Searcy would score on an error as D.C. jumped in front 7-3. The Grays would maintain their lead until the bottom of the third when the Big Train stormed back.
Matt Thomas worked another bases-loaded walk to cut the Grays lead to 7-4. Later in the inning, with two men on base Kris Kremer (Penn State) stepped to the plate, returning to the lineup after a week's absence. Clearly, he hadn't missed a beat, as he slugged a no-doubt home run off the left-field foul pole to tie the game at 7-7. When asked if he knew if it was gone off the bat, he had a simple answer: "Yeah!"
"It was good," Kremer said when asked how it felt to be back in action. "The leg felt good. It was good to get back out there with my boys."
The Grays retook the lead in the fourth on an Austin Deming (BYU) double, but it wouldn't last for long, as Jacob Southern put Bethesda back on top in the bottom half of the inning with a two-run double making the score 9-8. The Big Train would add insurance in the bottom of the fifth as Martin Vincelli-Simard (Sacramento State) scored on a passed ball. Southern delivered another RBI double this time, scoring three runs to put Bethesda on top 13-8.
D.C. kept working, chipping away at the Bethesda lead. In the top of the sixth Jordan Wiley (Louisiana) hit an RBI single, and in the seventh, Deming slugged a three-run home run cutting the Big Train lead to 13-12 with two innings still to play.
Needing to close the game out, skipper Sal Colangelo called on trusted reliever Chase Lee (Alabama) for a six out save. The sidearm "viper" would not disappoint as he retired all six batters he faced to close out the victory for the Big Train.
Though Friday's contest proved to be entertaining, Kremer could have done without the back and forth.
"It makes the game a lot more stressful," he said after the game.
It may have been stressful, but in the end, it was another win for the Big Train. Next, Bethesda will host the Gaithersburg Giants for Player Family Night Saturday at Shirley Povich Field. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. with gates opening at 5:30 p.m.
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