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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 demolish T-Bolts 14-3

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Bethesda Big Train's Andrew Shebloski (6) during the Cal Ripken League game against the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts played at Povich Field on Friday, July 13, 2018. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITHBethesda Big Train's Andrew Shebloski (6) at bat during the Cal Ripken League game against the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts played at Povich Field on Friday, July 13, 2018. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH  BETHESDA — Coming off a dominating 18-0 victory over the Baltimore Dodgers, the Bethesda Big Train (30-5) continued to cruise over their opponents as they steamrolled the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts (14-21) 14-3 on Friday night at Shirley Povich Field for their 30th win of the season.

The Big Train got on the board in the bottom of the second when catcher Ben Martz singled up the middle to drive in outfielder Justin Wylie for the 1-0 lead.

Bethesda went on to score nine more runs in the next five innings to take a 10-0 lead. Among the scores included a home run and an RBI double from first baseman Udie Summerall, RBI singles from Wylie, third baseman Carson Taylor, infielder Fox Semones, and designated hitter Alec Burleson, a sac fly from outfielder Andrew Shebloski, and runs on wild pitches by Burleson and shortstop AJ Lee.

“Tonight we hit the ball really well,” Summerall said. “We do that every night. It’s not a big surprise, but I think everybody had fun tonight, even me. We’re having fun.”

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Taiwan’s influence in Cal Ripken League continues

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Rockville Express' Alex Yi-Chen Jou (2) of Taiwan National University of Sports and Physical Education in Taipei City, Taiwan throws to first against the Baltimore Dodgers in a Cal Ripken League game at Montgomery College Rockville on FridayRockville Express' Alex Yi-Chen Jou (2) of Taiwan National University of Sports and Physical Education in Taiwan throws to first against the visiting Baltimore Dodgers in a Cal Ripken League game on Friday.           PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH  The Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts have had a history of international players in their 19-year history, and have recently established a relationship with a new country.

For the past four years, the T-Bolts have had nine players from Taiwan, including three on the current team. According to T-Bolts president Dick O’Connor, this was the first time Taiwanese players were looking to play in an East Coast summer league, having previously played in California.

Three years ago, Taiwanese agent Alan Chang, who represented former Major League Baseball pitcher Cheing-Ming Wang, contacted T-Bolts head coach Doug Remer asking if he was interested in a player from National Taiwan University of Sport, one of the two major universities in Taiwan dedicated to sports. Chang recommended pitcher En-Shih Huang, who became a Ripken League All-Star and currently pitches in the Chinese Professional League.

Chang also began recommending players from another college, National Taiwan Sport University, and from 2015-2017, six Taiwanese players suited up for the T-Bolts. Three more are on the team this summer, with another three on the Rockville Express. According to Adam Lee, who is a contact for the T-Bolts in the Taiwanese community, National Taitung University in Taiwan expressed interest in sending players, so Chang recommended two for the Express. The Express also got infielder Alex Yi-Chen Jou, who played for the T-Bolts last year and would’ve played for them again if the team had a roster spot open.

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Rockville Express crush T-Bolts, 9-0

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Rockville Express' Billy Godrick (13) connects against the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts during the Cal Ripken League game Saturday.  PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHRockville Express' Billy Godrick (13) connects against a T-Bolts pitch during the Cal Ripken League game Saturday. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  SILVER SPRING — The R.E.M. song “Don’t Go Back to Rockville” was the theme of Saturday’s Cal Ripken League contest between the Silver Spring-Takoma Park Thunderbolts and the visiting Rockville Express.

The Thunderbolts’ eighth annual “Don’t Go Back to Rockville” night featured tunes from the alternative rock band throughout the evening. The song was written by band member Mike Mills as a plea to his then-girlfriend not to return to Rockville.

Unfortunately for the Thunderbolts, the Express did go back to Rockville, escaping Blair Stadium with a 9-0 victory.

“We were neck and neck up until like the third or fourth inning and then made a couple mistakes that kind of cost us a couple runs,” Thunderbolts outfielder Ace Felder explained afterward. “In baseball if you don’t hit that switch soon things are contagious in baseball.”

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Walk-off turns tide and lifts Express past T-Bolts

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Rockville Express players clear the dugout and rush toward teammate Jarel McDade (20) on first base after he drove in Alex Yi-Chen Jou (2) to win against the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts by a score of 6-5 in the Cal Ripken Summer Collegiate Baseball League game at the Express home field at Montgomery College - Rockville on Saturday night. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHRockville Express players clear the dugout and rush toward teammate Jarel McDade (20) on first base after he drove in Alex Yi-Chen Jou (2) to win against the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts by a score of 6-5 in the Cal Ripken League game Saturday night. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  ROCKVILLE — The odds were stacked against Jarel McDade when he walked up to the plate Saturday. It was the bottom of the ninth inning and the Rockville Express trailed the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts by one with two outs and a man on second and third base.

The Express had trailed since the top of the fourth. Rockville’s last chance at a victory rested squarely on McDade’s shoulders.

T-Bolts pitcher Garrett Pearson wound up and fired a fastball right at McDade. The outfielder swung hard and slammed the ball across the length of the field as two players sped over home plate. In a matter of seconds, Rockville’s fate had changed from a likely loss to a one-point win on a walk off by a score of 6-5.

“I had been struggling all game long and I was down to the last at bat. I was waiting for a fastball because all I see is [Pearson] throwing fastballs,” said McDade. “I saw my pitch and I just put the best swing I could on it.”

The walk-off win couldn’t have come at a better time for McDade, who stated that he had been waiting for a moment like this all season.

“Things haven’t gone our way all season. We’ve had some bad calls, stuff like that, but tonight we battled hard and got the win,” he said.

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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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Bethesda Big Train push past Silver Spring-Takoma T-Bolts, 8-4

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Bethesda Big Train's Jacob Southern shatters his bat on a foul ball. He crushed the next pitch for a 2 RBI double off the center field wall. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKBethesda Big Train's Jacob Southern shatters his bat on a foul ball. He crushed the next pitch for a 2 RBI double off the center field wall. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  BETHESDA — The Bethesda Big Train, the best team in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, hosted the interdivisional Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts on a warm Monday night at Shirley Povich Field. The Big Train started off strong, until the T-Bolts tied it up, but then Bethesda got the job done for the 8-4 victory.

The Big Train got on the board early when third baseman Carson Taylor hit a sac fly to center field that sent shortstop AJ Lee home for the 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first.

One inning later, with the bases loaded, two-way player Alec Burleson doubled to deep center field and cleared the bases, allowing Lee, catcher Jacob Southern, and outfielder Andrew Shebloski to score and extend Bethesda’s lead to 4-0.

However, the shutout disappeared in the top of the fourth, a half-inning later, when first baseman Tucker Childers hit an RBI double to left field to drive in outfielder Nicholas Atkinson and cut the deficit to 4-1.

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Big Train’s undefeated streak ends in Game Two of T-Bolts doubleheader

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Bethesda Big Train’s Andrew Shebloski (6) makes contact during the baseball game between Big Train and the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts at Blair Stadium on Saturday. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  CUT (CN9A1385a.JPG): T-Bolts’ Josh Simon (17) pulled down a high throw and made the play on Bethesda Big Train’s Alec Burleson (41) - out at home at Blair Stadium on Saturday. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHBethesda Big Train’s Andrew Shebloski (6) makes contact during the baseball game between Big Train and the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts at Blair Stadium on Saturday.        PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  SILVER SPRING — Out of four Cal Ripken League doubleheaders on Saturday, one involved the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts and the visiting Bethesda Big Train at Blair High School. While the Big Train shut out the T-Bolts in the first game 6-0, Bethesda saw the end of their undefeated streak when the T-Bolts took the second one 8-4.

In Game One, the first run came in the top of the fifth inning when Bethesda outfielder Udie Summerall pinch hit for Tyler Villaroman and singled to left field to drive in Tyler Reis.

Big Train infielders Carson Taylor and John Glenn each had three hits. Taylor went 3-for-5 at the plate with two RBIs, while Glenn also went 3-for-5 with one RBI and two runs.

“They’re great players,” said Bethesda manager Sal Colangelo. “They swing the bat very well. They went up there with an idea and went playing what they had, what they wanted to do.”

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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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T-Bolts win summer baseball season opener against Alexandria, 8-3

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Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts' Devon Jeffreys (7) waits on the pitch by Alexandria Aces starting pitcher Wyatt Rush (37).Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts' Devon Jeffreys (7) waits on the pitch by Alexandria Aces starting pitcher Wyatt Rush (37). PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  SILVER SPRING — The Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts dominated the Alexandria Aces 8-3 in their season opener for the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League on Tuesday, taking advantage of a few unlucky errors by the Aces.

What started as a close game quickly went to an inevitable defeat for the Aces, as two runs at the bottom of the seventh made the lead nearly insurmountable. The Thunderbolts’ pitching proved to be on point as well, frustrating the Aces’ hitters.

“They had some good arms out there, and they were to take advantage of that and we didn’t make our adjustments, you know,” said Aces head coach Chris Berset.

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