ROCKVILLE — The Rockville Express came back and narrowly beat the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts 4-3 in the first game of the season for both teams.
The game showed the two teams are clearly still in a development phase, not yet working out the kinks in their game but instead finding out what they are.
Both teams appeared to be evenly matched, although by the end of the game both seemed to finally get in the groove of things. The Express had a team rife with heavy hitters, but the Thunderbolts countered with a wide defense.
Both teams were victim to blunders that cost them an out or a run. They usually came in the form of a mishandled ball, although sometimes it seemed like absent-mindedness.
Thunderbolts head coach Doug Remer says the mistakes were the players adapting to playing new positions more than any other reason.
“Guys are still playing positions they’re not used to playing cause they played different in college, you know, so every team goes through it,” said Remer.
The game started with an early run for the Thunderbolts when freshman infielder Alex Yi-Chen Jou was brought home at the top of the first.
A scoring drought then passed over both teams until the seventh inning.
During that dry spell, both teams were efficient in outing each other, and a skilled outfield for both teams made for easy catches.
At the bottom of the sixth, loaded bases teased the Express with the dream of gaining the lead, but they could not capitalize on the prime positioning.
Three runs in the bottom of the seventh for the Express gave them a comfortable lead against the Thunderbolts.
Thunderbolts junior infielder Grayland Fowler struggled to catch a groundball from senior infielder Andrew Valichka, which brought home sophomore Express outfielder Vincent Walker and junior pitcher Dakota McFadden, one after another.
“We were hitting the ball hard all game. A lot of them didn’t find a lot of holes but when we really needed it, they found a hole,” said McFadden.
In the ninth inning, the Thunderbolts retaliated when sophomore infielder Garrett Stonehouse scored a double and brought sophomore infielder Carl Colbert and Fowler home, building on top of their first goal to equalize the match.
Junior infielder for the Express Tyler Galazin broke the stalemate in the tenth inning, coming home after a single by Walker.
“We could’ve played with a better defense, but when we needed a run we got it at the end,” said Express manager Rick Price.
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