Gio Diaz dusts himself off after sliding into the record books with his 32nd steal.
Everything was on point Tuesday night for the Big Train. After some early hiccups smoothed over in the pitching department for Bethesda, Alexandria's offense couldn't keep pace with the monstrous firepower the Big Train showed off, blasting away for fifteen runs on the night in a 15-5 victory.
Most notable, though, was Gio Diaz (St. Mary's CA) for breaking the single-season CRCBL record for steals with his 32nd swipe of the season. He passes Andrew Greene, who set the record for the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts in 2005.
"It's excellent," said Diaz, who also went 3-for-5 with four RBIs. "All the hard work is paying off, and you know, I didn't know that was a league record so it's awesome to know that I broke it. All the hard work I put into different parts of the game really pays off."
"I think my ability to get on-base and make contact," he said of what allowed him to break the record so early in the season. "Because obviously you can't steal bases if you're not on base, so ultimately, my ability to work the count and get on base is really what helps me steal the bags."
As for the game itself, it was a wild one. Both teams shot out of the gates, with Bethesda holding a 6-4 lead at the end of the third. The Aces tallied one more in the sixth, but from there, the Big Train immediately exploded for six runs and then three more in the seventh to win 15-5. It was bloodshed for a couple innings there.
In the first inning, Matt Thomas (William & Mary) singled home Keith Torres (Sacramento State) and Kobe Kato (Arizona) for two RBIs--he'd finish the game with three. Then, in the second, a hard-hit Christian Jayne (East Carolina) double scored both Torres and Cade Hunter (Virginia Tech), bringing the score to 4-1 at the end of two.
When the Aces posted three runs to start the third, though, the pressure was back on the Big Train for the bottom of the third. And in the third, Hunter came through with a double of his own off the right field wall that drove in Jacob Southern (Jacksonville) and Diaz.
That brought the score to 6-4, where it stayed for a bit. Things changed in the sixth inning--at first to the Aces' advantage, when they struck first and dragged the score back to a one-run deficit at 6-5.
But that was the only positive for the Aces in that inning. Despite the first two batters getting out without reaching base, Bethesda struck for a monstrous six runs. A Southern single and RBI, hitting home Jayne, put the first run of the inning on the board for the Big Train. Diaz was next in line when a bases-clearing double brought him three more RBIs on the same night he broke the league's single-season stolen base record. He then stole third, setting the record, and trotted home on a delayed steal after the Aces catcher threw down to second to try to nab Darius Foster (San Francisco). The final run in the inning occurred when Hunter singled in Foster.
The last offense of the evening for the Big Train came in the seventh. Southern and Thomas walks brought home Torres and Kato for the first two runs of the inning. Southern later scored on a passed ball for the final run of the game.
Pitching wise, the Big Train relievers performed very well. After giving up four runs early on in the game, the relief unit only allowed one run in the combined 6.2 innings they pitched. Anthony Piccolino (James Madison) went 3.2 innings in the middle of the game while allowing a lone run to pick up the win. His well-pitched innings were timely as they allowed the Big Train to pull away with a large lead. Holding that lead steady were Greer Holston (Ole Miss) and Nathan Schneider (St. Mary's CA), throwing one and two scoreless innings respectively.
The Big Train will be out of action tomorrow, but the CRCBL All-Star game will be held at Shirley Povich Field. There's more than a couple Big Train players on the team, so come on out and with the same staff and players as always it'll practically be like the Big Train never left. Welp, that's my best pitch for the game--start time is 7 p.m. so I'll see ya there.