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Big Train and Redbirds named 2018 Ripken League co-champions

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Bethesda Big Train vs. Baltimore RedbirdsBETHESDA — After the Bethesda Big Train’s victory of Game One of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League Championship Series on Saturday, and the Baltimore Redbirds won Game Two on Sunday, Game Three between the two teams was to be played at Shirley Povich Field Monday night to determine the winners of the League Championship Series.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans, as rain forced Game Three to be canceled, and the Redbirds and Big Train were named 2018 LCS co-champions.

It’s the first time since the league’s inaugural season in 2005 where two teams have been named co-champions, the same two teams who have met in the Championship Series 10 years in a row.

“They played for the championship,” said Bethesda manager Sal Colangelo on his opponents. “They deserve it as much as we deserve it. They’re a quality organization. They play hard.”

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Baltimore Redbirds beat Bethesda Big Train 3-1, forcing Game 3 in Ripken League Series

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Bethesda Big Train's Alec Burleson (41) waits for the pick-off throw from the pitcher but Baltimore Redbirds' Carl Gindl (44) is about to get his fingertips on the bag and be called safe at first base in Game Two of the Ripken League Championship Series on Sunday.  PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHBethesda Big Train's Alec Burleson (41) waits for the pick-off throw from the pitcher but Baltimore Redbirds' Carl Gindl (44) is about to get his fingertips on the bag and be called safe at first base in Game Two of the Ripken League Championship Series on Sunday. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  TOWSON — After suffering defeat Saturday in Game One of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League’s Championship Series, the Baltimore Redbirds bounced back in Game Two Sunday at Calvert Hall to beat the Bethesda Big Train 3-1, setting up a winner-take-all Game Three on Monday at Shirley Povich Field in Bethesda.

For most of the game, Baltimore Redbirds pitcher William Fleming had kept the Bethesda Big Train’s offense at bay. With his pitch count climbing and Fox Semones stealing second after a leadoff single in the top of the seventh inning, the Big Train had another golden chance to rally from a 3-1 deficit.

Only once again, Fleming avoided the jam, this time with some help from his defense. The Big Train’s Tyler Villaroman fouled off a 2-2 pitch to the right of first base, causing Redbirds first baseman Joe Zirolli to drift further and further into foul territory. Zirolli made an over-the-shoulder catch, and Semones decided to tag up and try to advance to third. Zirolli fired a strike to third base, throwing out Semones to preserve the lead.

“We know there’s no quit in those guys, they’re going to fight until the last out,” Big Train assistant coach Galvin Morris said of Baltimore. “Tomorrow is all for the marbles.”

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Big Train take Game One of Ripken League Series against Baltimore Redbirds

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All eyes are on Ben Martz's hit (17) which drove in Bethesda Big Train's AJ Lee (4) and Alec Burleson (41) during Game 1 of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League Championship Series played at Shirley Povich Field on Saturday.  PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHAll eyes are on Ben Martz's hit (17) that drove in Bethesda Big Train's AJ Lee (4) and Alec Burleson (41) during Game One of the Ripken League Championship Series against the Baltimore Redbirds at Shirley Povich Field on Saturday. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  BETHESDA — For the ninth straight year in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, the Championship Series features the same two opponents: the Bethesda Big Train and Baltimore Redbirds. Saturday night’s Game One at Shirley Povich Field showed this to be a true championship rivalry, as the Big Train came from behind in the eighth to beat the Redbirds 9-8.

The first score came from Baltimore in the top of the second when designated hitter Christian Hlinka hit an RBI single to drive in third baseman Tim Elko for a 1-0 lead.

However, in the next frame, Bethesda responded with a two-RBI single from catcher Ben Martz. The Big Train put up two more runs in the third and fourth innings thanks to an RBI double from third baseman Carson Taylor and a sacrifice double play from outfielder Jacob Westerman that sent home first baseman Alec Burleson. At that point, the Big Train led 4-1.

But the Redbirds didn’t back down, because in the top of the fifth, Elko hit an RBI single to left field that drove in outfielder Carl Gindl. Then Hlinka tied it up at 4-4 with a two-RBI double that scored Elko and first baseman Joe Zirolli.

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Bethesda Big Train heads to Ripken League Championship Series

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Bethesda Big Train logo

BETHESDA — The Bethesda Big Train advanced to the Cal Ripken League championship series Thursday by virtue of their 14-8 victory over the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts at Shirley Povich Field.

Bethesda outfielders Tyler Villaroman and Jacob Westerman helped the Big Train’s cause by posting some gaudy statistics.

Villaroman went 3-for-5 and scored three runs and registered four RBI’s while Westerman batted 3-for-3 with an RBI and scored a run.

Big Train catcher Carson Taylor added two hits and four RBI’s to help Bethesda move into the championship round.

Bethesda took a 2-0 lead early in the game thanks to Fox Semones, Villaroman and Alec Burleson.

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Big Train clinch Montgomery Cup; Elko and Moore named Players of the Week

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Tim Elko (left) and Nathan Moore. COURTESY PHOTOTim Elko (left) and Nathan Moore. COURTESY PHOTOThe Cal Ripken League Players of the Week have been announced for the week of July 9-July 15.

Tim Elko of the Baltimore Redbirds was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Week. Elko had a .500 batting average with 13 hits, one double, one home run, and 11 RBIs in 26 at-bats with two stolen bases for the North Division-leading Redbirds. He is currently a rising sophomore at the University of Mississippi, as well as a resident of Lutz, Florida.

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Big Train defeat Redbirds 12-10 in nail-biting eighth inning

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Baltimore Redbirds' Kevin Madden (19) up to bat against the Bethesda Big Train during the baseball game on Saturday.  PHOTOS BY GEORGE SMITHBaltimore Redbirds' Kevin Madden (19) up to bat against the Bethesda Big Train during the baseball game on Saturday. PHOTOS BY GEORGE SMITHBETHESDA — The marquee matchup in the Cal Ripken League Saturday night featured the Bethesda Big Train (21-7) and Baltimore Redbirds (25-4), the best two teams in the league, facing off at Shirley Povich Field.

Both teams put up a ton of runs in the eighth inning with the Big Train coming out victorious in the end for the 12-10 victory in what may have been the game of the year.

Bethesda got things going in the bottom of the first when second baseman Fox Semones hit a leadoff home run to deep left field. Then, baserunners Carson Taylor and Tyler Villaroman both advanced on an error by Redbirds catcher Will Harless. Villaroman scored and Taylor moved to third, and then to home plate on a wild pitch to give the Big Train a 3-0 lead.

But Baltimore responded in the top of the second with an RBI double from designated hitter Bo Majkowski that drove in Harless and that cut the deficit to 3-1.

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Redbirds pummel T-Bolts in Cal Ripken League game

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Baltimore Redbirds vs. Silver Spring Takoma ThunderboltsSILVER SPRING — It was a constant assault of runs on the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts in Friday night’s game against the visiting Baltimore Redbirds that the home team just could not withstand.

The game ended 18-5, a lopsided result that showed how relentless the Redbirds were in dispatching the T-Bolts.

“We got the big hit when we needed the hit, and we had good at-bats,” said Redbirds manager Tom Eller.

Before and after the game the Redbirds were at the top of the Cal Ripken Collegiate North division, while the Thunderbolts stayed steady in fourth place.

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Baltimore Redbirds soar past Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts, 9-4

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Baltimore Redbirds' Mac Starbuck (49) manages to slide safely to first base under the glove of Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts first baseman Tucker Childers (22),Baltimore Redbirds' Mac Starbuck (49) manages to slide safely to first base under the glove of Silver Spring-Takoma T-Bolts first baseman Tucker Childers (22), PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH SILVER SPRING — The visiting Baltimore Redbirds defeated The Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts Friday night at Montgomery Blair High School, 9-4. The game remained close with the T-Bolts up by one at the end of the seventh inning, but the Redbirds dominated the last two innings thanks to some huge knocks that earned Baltimore the victory.

“It’s the game of baseball,” Silver Spring-Takoma manager Doug Remer said. “In the game of baseball, you got to make sure every at-bat counts, every pitch counts no matter what the score is, so we were up, but we didn’t have that sense of urgency where we needed to shut it down right then. We thought that we could just cruise like we have been, and that’s what’s going to happen, especially against a good team.”

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Big Train demolish Redbirds 14-3 in CRL Championship Game One

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BETHESDA—Game One of the Cal Ripken League Championship series took place Thursday night as the top-seeded Bethesda Big Train, appearing in their ninth consecutive finals, hosted the number two-seeded Baltimore Redbirds. The Big Train would dominate for the majority of the game as they crushed the Redbirds 14-3 at Shirley Povich Field to take a 1-0 series lead.

In the top of the first, though, things looked bright for Baltimore when third baseman Andy Maguire hit a sacrifice fly, as shortstop AJ Lee was able to avoid the tag by Bethesda catcher Justin Morris on his way to home plate, as the Redbirds took an early 1-0 lead.

The bottom of the first is when the fun began. Big Train star outfielder James Outman doubled off the center field wall to drive in a run scored by outfielder Zach Jancarski that tied the game at 1-1. That followed with shortstop Luke Heyer hitting a sac fly to right field to score outfielder Jordan Sergent, which put Bethesda up 2-1.

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Big Train wins second consecutive Cal Ripken League title

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JGS 4281Closing pitcher Stephen Schoch is surrounded by teammates after the Bethesda Big Train defeat the Baltimore Redbirds 4-2 in the Cal Ripken League Championship game. PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH   BETHESDA – The Bethesda Big Train won the 2017 Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League Championship for the second year in a row Sunday night after beating the Baltimore Redbirds 4-2.

The Baltimore Redbirds won the previous Game Two in Baltimore to force a winner-takes-all Game Three at Shirley Povich Field Sunday. The Bethesda Big Train came through with four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Big Train pitcher Tyler Smith appeared dominant on the mound, getting three consecutive batters out in each of the first three innings

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