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South dominates North in Cal Ripken League All-Star game

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Bethesda Big Train’s Tyler Villaroman (36) bats a line drive to the warning track earning him a double and driving in three runners in the Cal Ripken League All-Star Game played at Shirley Povich Field on Wednesday. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHBethesda Big Train’s Tyler Villaroman (36) bats a line drive to the warning track earning him a double and driving in three runners in the Cal Ripken League All-Star Game at Shirley Povich Field on Wednesday. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  BETHESDA — The 2018 Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League All-Star game was played at Shirley Povich Field, the home of the Bethesda Big Train. It was the stars from that very Big Train team that led the way for the South team, as they soundly defeated the North, 15-1.

“Honestly, no,” FCA Herndon Braves manager Chris Warren, who coached the South team, said when asked if he expected the offensive outburst. “That was a little bit unexpected. But hey, guys came out and swung the bat well.”

The South team scored 14 unanswered runs in the game, leading them to their dominant win.

The Big Train had the most players selected to the All-Star game out of any team in the league, with 15. Carson Taylor, a member of that Big Train contingent, was named the Most Outstanding Player of the game. He finished the game with four hits in four at bats, and three runs scored.

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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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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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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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Loudoun Riverdogs keep Rockville Express at bay to win 9-8

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Rockville Express' Myles Coston brings in a high throw as Loudoun Riverdogs' Brady Lloyd safely steals a base. The Riverdogs held on for a 9-8 win. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKRockville's Myles Coston brings in a high throw as Loudoun Riverdogs' Brady Lloyd safely steals a base. The Riverdogs held on for a 9-8 win. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK ROCKVILLE — The Rockville Express (11-14) almost overcame a 9-4 deficit, but the visiting team, the Loudoun Riverdogs (7-19), were able to hang in there for the 9-8 win Friday in an offensive slugfest at Montgomery College.

In the top of the first, with a runner at second, Loudoun shortstop Alejandro Aponte hit a line drive to Express second baseman Matt Kruszka, but just as he attempted to turn a double play, Kruszka committed a throwing error which resulted in outfielder Ben Blackwell scoring to put the Riverdogs on the board first.

However, in the next frame, Rockville responded with a sacrifice groundout from first baseman Evan Blum that sent outfielder Billy Godrick home to tie it up at 1-1.

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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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Big Train deals out Aces 4-1

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Alexandria Aces vs. Big Train 6 29 18BETHESDA — The Bethesda Big Train hosted fellow South division opponent the Alexandria Aces at Shirley Povich Field Friday night, and the Big Train continued to show they’re the best team in the Cal Ripken League through dominant pitching from Chris Clarke and enough run support for the 4-1 victory.

Bethesda got on the board early in the bottom of the first inning when first baseman John Glenn hit an RBI double down the left field line which drove in second baseman Fox Semones for the 1-0 lead.

However, the next inning, the Aces got things going with a home run from first baseman Ethan Cady that tied things up at 1-1. Though after that, Alexandria failed to score again.

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Bethesda Big Train splits Baltimore Dodgers doubleheader

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Bethesda Big Train's Jacob Westerman safely steals second as Baltimore Dodgers' Short Stop DeAndre Shelton snags the errant throw. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKBethesda Big Train's Jacob Westerman safely steals second as Baltimore Dodgers' shortstop DeAndre Shelton snags the errant throw. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  BETHESDA — The Bethesda Big Train split a twin bill with the Baltimore Dodgers Monday at Shirley Povich Field.

After suffering a 7-6 loss to Baltimore in Game One, the Big Train dominated the nightcap en route to an 11-1 victory over their Cal Ripken League opponents.

The Big Train earned their 21st win and suffered their fourth loss this season while Baltimore moved to 8-15 on the campaign.

“Just to bounce back in Game Two and put six runs on the board in the first inning was huge,” said Big Train pitcher Alec Burleson, a two-way player who leads the league with eight home runs. “Just gave us a lot of cushion for our pitchers to get work in and it was just nice to have a lead the whole game.”

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Bennett and Ruby share Ripken League player of the week award, Ripken League Standings

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Jaret Bennett (left) and Jake Ruby named Ripken League players of the week.  COURTESY PHOTOSJaret Bennett (left) and Jake Ruby named Ripken League players of the week. COURTESY PHOTOS  The Cal Ripken League Players of the Week for June 25-July 1 have been announced.

Jarett Bennett of the Gaithersburg Giants has been named Pitcher of the Week. This past week, Bennett struck out 10 batters in nine innings of work while allowing seven hits and one earned run over the span and walked only one batter. The rising junior at Charleston Southern University was also 1-0 on the week.

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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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