BETHESDA — The 2-0 defending champion Bethesda Big Train had their home opener in Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League action Thursday night at Shirley Povich Field as they hosted the DC Grays. The game went back and forth but Bethesda was able to come away with the win, 5-4.
In the bottom of the first inning, DC Grays pitcher Philip Ahearn accidentally threw a pitch inside that hit the home plate umpire. The ump required treatment, resulting in the game’s delay for almost 30 minutes.
In the bottom of the second, things got interesting when right fielder James Outman and designated hitter Michael Emodi of Big Train hit back-to-back singles and then stole bases (Emodi to second, Outman to third). The next at bat, left fielder Matt Green, was walked to first, resulting in the bases loaded.
On the next at-bat, with Tanner Allen batting, Outman scored on a wild pitch. Thanks to an error by DC Grays’ Will Johnson in center field, Emodi crossed home plate to put Bethesda up 2-0. Then Garrett Kueber hit an RBI single, driving in an unearned run scored by Green to increase the lead to 3-0.
After a scoreless third inning, there were more runs scored in the fourth. DC made it on the board when left fielder Harrison Freed and catcher Andrew Webb hit back-to-back RBI singles to bring home first baseman Darius Gillus and shortstop Drew Bertram, respectively. Then Freed scored to tie the game up at 3-3.
However, Bethesda regained the lead when Green scored on an error by Grays catcher Webb, giving his team a 4-3 lead.
The Grays tied it up at 4-4 in the top of the sixth when designated hitter Cory Alexander advanced to first after getting hit by a pitch, then advanced to third on a wild pitch and headed home for an unearned run on an error by Bethesda catcher Gaby Cruz. But the Big Train answered back in the bottom half of the inning when Cruz scored on a wild pitch to give his team a 5-4 lead.
Big Train pitcher Stephen Schoch would seal it for his team when he struck out Grays right fielder Lamar Briggs in the top of the ninth for the third and final out.
“Any time you get on base you’re doing good things,” Big Train manager Sal Colangelo said. “We blew the ball a little today and we fell a little behind in the count. Our command wasn’t good. The guys got on base but most of the game, the higher percentage you are, the better chance you have to win.”
Bethesda improved to 3-0 on the season and will play the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts at Blair High School Friday night. “We’re going to play hard every pitch, every inning in between the lines,” Colangelo said. “We’re gonna do the bigger things to be successful, we’re going to catch the ball and we’re going to throw strikes.”
On the other hand, the Grays fall to 0-3, but manager Reggie Terry isn’t giving up. “We just have to go back to work,” Terry said. “We have some new guys coming in and what we’re gonna do is try to just execute, keep our heads up and keep fighting.”