Excitement buzzed at Shirley Povich Field Monday evening as Hunter Renfroe night was in full swing. The Big Train alum, a current outfielder for the San Diego Padres, brought energy to both the crowd and players on the humid evening, and the Bethesda Big Train bested the FCA Braves 13-3 in their second meeting of the year.
Big Train wasted no time getting on the board. In the bottom of the first, Kobe Kato (University of Arizona) visited first, though not for long as he advanced to third on an error committed by the Braves’ third baseman, as Jacob Southern (Jacksonville) advanced to first. Southern made his way to second on a stolen base, and when the Braves shortstop couldn't handle the throw, Kato headed home to put Big Train on the board. Shorly after, Matt Thomas (William & Mary) singled to center, bringing Southern in and pushing the lead to 2-0.
The game went scoreless through to the bottom of the third. Gio Diaz (St. Mary’s CA) advanced to first on a single, but was not visiting for long. He stole second and was quickly brought home by a ground rule double by Kato. Southern found his way to base once again on a walk, and quickly made it to third after a single by Thomas, which ushered Kato home once again. Southern had the opportunity to reach home on a fielder’s choice, pushing Big Train’s lead to 5-0.
The Braves finally retaliated in the fourth inning. An FCA home run cut the Big Train’s lead to 5-2, but Bethesda played the waiting game in the bottom of the fourth, utilizing their virtue in patience. The team scored six runs, on only one hit. Keith Torres III (Sacramento State) was the first to round the bases, being walked on and advancing on errors by the Braves. Christian Jayne (East Carolina) found home as well, being brought in as Southern took a bases-loaded walk to first. Another walk on Thomas pushed Diaz home. The Braves made a call to the bullpen, but even this was not able to stop Kato from coming home after a walk on Tate Soderstrom (University of Arizona). Southern and Thomas were the final two to reach home, on a wild pitch and a Torres single, respectively, as Big Train now led the Braves 11-2.
Renfroe spent most of the evening in the Big Train dugout, and Southern stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the fifth with advice on his mind. Renfroe had given the Big Train players pointers before and during the game, and Southern was determined to utilize it. Utilize it he did, as he smacked his fifth homerun of the season over the left-field wall.
“It was awesome having Hunter in the dugout. He was giving me pointers after every at bat, telling me what I was doing wrong and what I could do better,” Southern said of Renfroe’s presence in the stadium.
The Braves would score their final run in the top of the sixth. Will Knight eventually rounded the bases after his double and a dropped third strike by the Big Train. Heading into the bottom of the seventh, Big Train had fresh legs on the field. Sebastian Martinez (Austin Peay State University) hit a single, advancing to second as Martin Vincelli-Simard (Sacramento State) was walked. Soderstrom smacked a single out to right, advancing Martinez to third. After an error committed by the right fielder, Martinez was able to make it home for the final Big Train run, making it 13-3.
The Train will be hitting the tracks to compete in three away games this upcoming week. The first will be against the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts on Thursday evening. Bethesda will return home to Shirley Povich Field on Sunday evening to honor head coach Sal Colangelo on Sal Colangelo Night.
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