Cropdusters Score Late to Top Big Train, 5-3

Connor Rasmussen stands in the field during the Big Train's 5-3 loss to Cropdusters Baseball on July 10.



Rockville, MD – The Bethesda Big Train (17-8) fell apart in the ninth inning against Cropdusters Baseball (16-10) to lose 5-3 in a game in which they had rallied late to tie the score. The Big Train has now lost three of their four games against the Cropdusters this season. However, despite Bethesda’s poor record against the squad from Olney, Big Train coaches do not feel intimidated.


“I don't think they’re difficult to beat. I think sometimes we beat ourselves,” said associate head coach Galvin Morris.


The Cropdusters broke through in the top of the first inning. Designated hitter Brayden Martin led off the game with a well-struck double to right field, and Matt Ervolina brought him home with a single up the middle that trickled off of Big Train second baseman Lucas Phelps’ (Florida Atlantic) glove. The Cropdusters’ early run was the first earned run allowed by Big Train starter Brandon Cassedy (Christopher Newport) this season. 


The Cropdusters doubled their lead in the top of the fifth. Anthony Swenda hammered a solo home run 380 feet to left field to make the score 2-0. 


The Green and White struck back in the bottom of the fifth. After Bethesda loaded the bases against the Cropdusters, Jason Schiavone (James Madison) skied a sacrifice fly to left field to plate Jack Guerrero (UNC Wilmington), who had reached on a single.


The Big Train, led by Schiavone, tied the game in the seventh. With Dixon Williams (East Carolina) on first base, Schiavone lined a single to center field. Cropdusters centerfielder Matt Miura made a throwing error trying to nab Williams at third, enabling Williams to dash home and tie the game at two. 


However, the Cropdusters took the lead for good in the top of the ninth. After a strong eighth inning, Brandon Clarke (State College of Florida) struggled with his control. Clarke walked two and hit another batter to load the bases. Jack Robinson (Roanoke) came on in relief but also had problems finding the plate. His three bases-loaded walks gave the Cropdusters a 5-2 lead. All in all, Bethesda relievers walked five and hit one batter, handing the Cropdusters their lead on a silver platter. Phelps hit an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to make the game 5-3, but that was all Bethesda could muster. 


“But we tried to do a little bit too much at the end there,” Morris said. “But I always say good teams bounce back.”


Despite losing his 0.00 season ERA, Brandon Cassedy pitched strongly. In six innings pitched, Cassedy allowed two earned runs and struck out three Cropdusters. Cassedy also pitched efficiently, throwing only 67 pitches in his outing. His ERA is now 0.78, which leads the Ripken League. 


With the season winding down, the Big Train and Cropdusters are in a tight division race. The Big Train lead the Cropdusters by only one and a half games. Moving forward, Bethesda has the hardest schedule in the Ripken League, while the Cropdusters have the second-easiest. The Big Train’s magic number to clinch the Ripken League North Division sits at ten. 

After an off day tomorrow, the Big Train will travel to Gaithersburg on Wednesday for the first time this season to play the Giants (8-16). Bethesda’s game against the Giants will mark the beginning of a four game road trip for the Big Train, including one against the Giants, a doubleheader Thursday against the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts, and another crucial matchup with the Cropdusters in Olney on Friday. 


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