Bethesda, MD – Gloomy weather did not deter the Bethesda Big Train as they trounced the Southern Maryland Senators 7-0 on Monday night. The Big Train are now on a three-game winning streak, which is tied for their longest win streak this season, and their manager likes what he sees.
“[Guys are] starting to gel together with different styles of play and doing the little things, and pitchers [are] doing a great job working ahead and throwing strikes,” Big Train manager Sal Colangelo said. “It's a total team effort, and we just got to continue to improve on it.”
The Big Train offense got the scoring started early with a big second inning. With the bases loaded, Dixon Williams (East Carolina) laced a double down the right field line at 99 miles per hour to drive in the first two runs of the game. Later in the inning, and with the bases loaded again, Cal Ripken Sr. League RBI leader Jeffery Heard (Sacramento State) pounded a triple to right field that cleared the bases. Connor Rasmussen (East Carolina) quickly drove in Heard with a well-struck sacrifice fly, making the score 6-0.
The Green and White bats lay dormant until the seventh inning. After Zeb Ruddell (LSU) hit the team's second triple of the day, John Long (UNC) ripped a single to center field to make the score 7-0. The offense did its night's work in two innings, but it turns out they wouldn't have needed much to secure the victory, thanks to the pitching staff's strong performance.
A cadre of four Big Train arms shut down the Senators’ bats. Jesse Guitierrez (San Jose State) got the start for Bethesda and threw three scoreless innings. Ryan Kennedy (Virginia Tech), Jack Robinson (Roanoke College) and Max Martzolf (Florida Atlantic) then combined for six scoreless innings out of the bullpen to secure the shutout. Overall, the four pitchers struck out eleven and only allowed two hits.
The game was extra special for Guitierrez, who arrived on the team late and made his debut today. Despite joining the team after most of the rest of the squad, Guitierrez has quickly gelled with his teammates.
“Team is pretty cool, so it was pretty easy for me to, you know, get to know them and, you know, become pretty close friends,” he said. His comfort showed on the mound.
Another aspect of the team's play that is coming around is on defense. Bethesda only had one error in the contest, in what was the Big Train's best defensive performance of the season thus far. In addition to playing fundamentally strong defense, Big Train fielders also made several dazzling plays. Catcher Clay Wargo (Louisiana Lafayette) threw out a Senators base runner trying to steal third base by 10 feet, giving Wargo an impressive three runners caught stealing so far this season. In the top of the fifth inning with two outs, Williams made a diving stop to his right at first to rob Senators’ right fielder Matt Ilgenfritz of an RBI single. His manager recognized the great play and sees it as a harbinger of things to come.
“What [Williams] did at first tonight was just unbelievable,” Colangelo said. “Just a great kid, great player and big things lie ahead of him.”
It seems the coaching staff is confident that the team will continue to improve. The chance to do so comes quickly as the Big Train stays at home on June 13 as they play Montgomery County rival Gaithersburg Giants (3-2) at 7 p.m.
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