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T-Bolts shut out G-Burg 5-0, clinch spot in Ripken League playoffs

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Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts' Josh Simon (17) battles Gaithersburg Giants' pitching. The T-Bolts put up five runs to advance into postseason play. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKSilver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts' Josh Simon (17) battles Gaithersburg Giants' pitching. The T-Bolts put up five runs to advance into postseason play.   PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  SILVER SPRING — On Friday night in the last regular season game, the visiting Gaithersburg Giants (20-20) played the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts (18-22). The T-Bolts needed a win to get in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League playoffs, and they did just that as they shut out the Giants at Blair High School 5-0.

“It’s been a long season,” Silver Spring-Takoma manager Doug Remer said. “We had to win the last three. So you don’t think about winning it, and you just kind of get out here and give it your all.”

The Thunderbolts put up two runs in the bottom of the first, thanks to outfielder Jack Schroeder singling up the middle and driving in second baseman Hunter Pearre, and first baseman Zach Buck hitting a sac fly to right field and sending home outfielder Corey Rosier.

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Bethesda Big Train trounce Gaithersburg in Ripken League game, 7-1

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Bethesda Big Train vs. Gaithersburg GiantsGAITHERSBURG — Early Thursday afternoon, the Baltimore Redbirds lost, which meant the Bethesda Big Train clinched homefield advantage in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League playoffs. Later that night, the Big Train proved why they’re the best team as they defeated the Gaithersburg Giants 7-1 at Kelley Park.

“We’re here to get better,” Big Train manager Sal Colangelo said. “We’re here to have fun, and our goal was to win the division, we did that, win the Montgomery Cup, we did that, and win the regular season, we did that. But the ultimate prize is to also win the tournament and win all four.”

The first run came from the Giants though. In the bottom of the fourth, with outfielder Ryan Shinn in the batter’s box and two runners on first and third, designated hitter Sam Bertelson tried to advance to second, but was caught in a rundown for the 1-3-6-3 putout. However, no one seemed to notice catcher Saul Garza who was able to make it from third to home plate and give Gaithersburg the 1-0 lead.

For the first five innings, the Giants appeared to have this one in the bag. Starting pitcher Matt Whelan had not allowed a hit in his five frames. Unfortunately, he was still taken out in favor of Brad Sawyer in the top of the sixth.

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Rockville Express beat back G-Burg in extra innings, 9-7

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Rockville Express vs. Gaithersburg GiantsGAITHERSBURG — One night after clinching a playoff spot, the Gaithersburg Giants (20-17) returned home to host division rival Rockville Express (16-20). The Giants held a 3-1 lead for three-and-a-half innings, until that changed in the top of the seventh when the Express tied it up and then won 9-7 in an extra-innings thriller Sunday night.

Rockville got on the board first in the top of the second when third baseman Livian Reinoso doubled to left field and drove in outfielder Matt Kruszka.

However, Gaithersburg answered in the bottom of the third with three runs courtesy of Joey Goodwin’s run on an error, and a two-RBI double by designated hitter Saul Garza.

The game went without a score for the next three innings. But in the top of the seventh, the Express tied it up at 3-3 with back-to-back RBI doubles from shortstop David Harding and outfielder Charles Kozorofsky.

“We’ve been hitting the ball real well all night long,” said Express manager Rick Price.

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Big Train out runs Gaithersburg to clinch Montgomery Cup

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Bethesda Big Train's Gavin Hinchliffe (9) pitches against the Gaithersburg Giants in the Cal Ripken League game played at Povich Field on Saturday, July 14. The Big Train would go on to win the game, clinching the Montgomery Cup. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITHBethesda Big Train's Gavin Hinchliffe (9) pitches against the Gaithersburg Giants in the Cal Ripken League game played at Povich Field on Saturday, July 14.  PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH  BETHESDA — The Gaithersburg Giants had been the only team capable of catching the Bethesda Big Train for the 2018 Montgomery Cup, until July 14.

A four-run, bottom-of-the-third inning proved to be all the Big Train would need to defeat the Giants 5-3, and clinch the Montgomery Cup.

The Big Train had a 1.5 game lead over the Giants in the Montgomery Cup standing coming into their meeting on July 14, and upped that lead to 2.5 games with the win. With only one more Montgomery Cup game left to play, no team will be able to overtake the Big Train.

The Montgomery Cup features the four Montgomery County-based teams in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League. Only the games played against other County-based teams count towards Montgomery Cup standings.

However, the Big Train, who have dominated for the large part of the 2018 season, certainly didn’t have an easy road to its Montgomery Cup-clinching win.

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Gaithersburg Giants topple Alexandria Aces 10-4

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Gaithersburg Giants vs. Alexandria AcesALEXANDRIA, Va. — A stroke of bad luck in the second inning propelled the Gaithersburg Giants to a 10-4 win over the Alexandria Aces Friday night.

A grand slam in the second inning gave the Giants the leverage and the momentum needed to keep their lead and get the win. Without it, the end result could have been much different: there were four straight scoreless innings for both teams.

“They put it to us in the first, they put us in a bind right there, they came up with the big hit on the grand slam. It was a pitch call I didn’t like, and I talked about it with our boy, but they made us pay for it and that’s what good teams do,” said Aces head coach Chris Berset.

This gives the Giants their 20th win of the season and keeps them comfortably in second place in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League North division, while in the Southern division the Aces are at fourth place but just shy of third.

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Gaithersburg Giants shut out Herndon, 13-0

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Gaithersburg Giants' Nick Holesa (18) connects against the FCA Braves for a three-run home run in the Ripken League game on Monday.  PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHGaithersburg Giants' Nick Holesa (18) connects with a Herndon Braves pitch for a three-run home run in the Ripken League game Monday. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  GAITHERSBURG — The Gaithersburg Giants (18-14) of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League earned their second shutout win of the season Monday after defeating the visiting FCA Herndon Braves, 13-0, at Criswell Automotive Field at Kelley Park.

The Braves (13-17) couldn’t get into an offensive rhythm and the Giants took advantage, capitalizing on their opponents’ mistakes and forcing quick outs. Gaithersburg pitcher Brad Sawyer struck out batter after batter before surrendering the mound to Ryan Johnston after the fourth inning.

Gaithersburg catcher Saul Garza generated three runs when he registered the first home run of the night. Garza’s homer handed the Giants the momentum needed to methodically put the Braves away.

“I feel like our team just did a great job of adjusting to the [Braves] pitchers and then it felt like everyone started really driving baseballs,” said Garza. “The team played really relaxed today and that’s when we play our best. Today the team attitude was just fun, and come game time, we were ready to go.”

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Gaithersburg Giants and DC Grays split doubleheader

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Gaithersburg Giants' Ryan Brown (3) connects for a hit.  PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHGaithersburg Giants' Ryan Brown (3) connects for a hit. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  GAITHERSBURG — On the first day of July, there were many doubleheaders in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, and one of them involved the Gaithersburg Giants (12-12) hosting the DC Grays (12-13) at Criswell Automotive Field at Kelley Park. Both games had opposite results; the Giants dominated the first game 9-1, while the Grays put up nine runs of their own in the second game for a 9-4 victory.

In Game One, the first four-and-a-half innings went without a single run scored. That is until Gaithersburg outfielder Nick Yovetich reached on a throwing error, and fellow outfielder Ryan Brown scored.

After that, it was all Giants, all the time, as key RBIs from catcher Jordan Landel, designated hitter Saul Garza, and third baseman Sam Bertelson, a double-steal that included a run from Garza, and a two-run home run from Yovetich were the highlights of the Gaithersburg offense.

Landel, a rising sophomore at Texas, finished part one of the doubleheader 2-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs and a run.

“It felt good to kind of get things going again,” Landel said. “I haven’t been super-satisfied with my bat, so it felt good to get some barrels going there up the middle, and then I felt like I had a good night behind the plate, really reduced my passed balls, no runners were going anywhere tonight.”

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Gaithersburg Giants beat Rockville Express in dominant pitching duel

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Rockville Express second baseman Matt Kruszka tags out Gaithersburg Giants' Ryan Shinn in a steal attempt, but the Giants would go on to win the game, 3-1. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKRockville Express second baseman Matt Kruszka tags out Gaithersburg Giants' Ryan Shinn in a steal attempt, but the Giants would go on to win the game, 3-1. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  ROCKVILLE — In Monday night’s game between the Gaithersburg Giants and Rockville Express, it was more about the pitching than the hitting, but the Giants were able to come through with clutch hitting towards the end for the 3-1 victory on the road.

The first score came from Gaithersburg in the top of the second inning when outfielder Giovanni DiGiacomo reached on an infield single as outfielder Ryan Shimm made his way towards home plate to give his team a 1-0 lead.

But the Express responded in the bottom of the fourth when catcher Evan Blum singled to left field to score outfielder Billy Godrick and tie the game up at 1-1.

The next four innings involved some hits but no runs thanks to some quality pitching. Nick Pantos of the Giants had himself a night on the mound, as he went seven innings and struck out 10 batters. This was the second 10-strikeout game for Pantos this season. Chandler Schultz pitched the last two innings and got the save.

“All I was trying to do was fill up the zone,” Pantos said. “The slider was working well today so I stuck with that. Good things tend to happen when you’re throwing strikes, and the defense made some good plays behind me. Everything really goes into it.”

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After several comebacks, Gaithersburg falls to Herndon Braves in 11th inning

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FCA Herndon Braves' catcher Mitch Mendler blocks the slide of Gaithersburg Giants' Trace Bucey. The Braves' defense held on for an 8-7 win in 11 innings. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKFCA Herndon Braves catcher Mitch Mendler blocks the slide of Gaithersburg Giants' Trace Bucey. The Braves' defense held on for an 8-7 win in 11 innings. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  GAITHERSBURG — The visiting FCA Herndon Braves baseball team survived the third comeback attempt of the night by the Gaithersburg Giants to get the 8-7 win in the 11th inning in the season opener for the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League on Tuesday night.

“No lead is ever safe,” Braves manager Chris Warren said. “You have to just execute because they definitely did not quit and put themselves in a position to win the game at the end.”

After five innings of a defensive deadlock, the Braves struck first in the top of the sixth, when pitcher Ethan Delahunty grounded a shot up the right infield line to bring home pinch hitter Brandon White.

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Gaithersburg Giants capture first victory against T-Bolts in fourth matchup of season

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GAITHERSBURG —After losing the first three games against Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts (10-16), the Gaithersburg Giants (15- 13) beat their divisional rivals 5-4 Saturday night.

The game at Criswell Automotive Field remained close throughout.

Silver Spring-Takoma outfielder Brett Leftridge hit a leadoff home run in the first inning to put the Thunderbolts on top, 1-0. Then outfielder Garrett Stonehouse hit an RBI double to score first baseman Jimmy Cain, taking the score to 2-0.

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