BETHESDA — The Rockville Express (10-19) staged a road upset of the Bethesda Big Train (22-8), 3-2, in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League game at Shirley Povich Field on Saturday evening.
“Everybody played very well tonight and our starting pitcher shut them down for six innings…he didn’t give up much,” said Express head coach Rick Price.
The Express’ sophomore starting pitcher Mike Yasenka dominated early on, pitching six innings and allowing only one run during his time on the mound.
Yasenka relied on his best stuff to get out of two jams in the third and sixth inning. Yasenka’s only blemish came in the third when he gave up a run. In the sixth, Yasenka capped his evening off in spectacular fashion with two strikeouts leaving Big Train sophomore shortstop Fox Semones stranded at third with the Express leading, 2-1.
“…I kept doing what I was doing, stay calm. It worked out,” said Yasenka.
A 1-0 Big Train lead did not hold up as the Express got just enough hitting in the top of the sixth inning.
It appeared that the Big Train and junior relief pitcher Matt Green might get out of the inning unscathed. Yet, with one out, Express junior designated hitter Eddie Nevins on second, Express junior first baseman Justin Smith hit a shot to Semones who could not come up with the ball. The baseball ricocheted off Semones allowing Nevins to advance to third and Smith advance to second.
Green got a huge second out strikeout. Yet, Green with Express junior third baseman Jack Berry at the plate uncorked a wild pitch. Nevins, in a Charlie Hustle effort, raced towards home plate and slid headfirst in front of a tag of Green to be safe at home and tie the score at 1- 1.
However, the Express were not done yet. Berry supplied just enough hitting, lacing a single to right to score Smith and give the Express a lead of 2-1. It was a lead they would never relinquish. In the top of the eighth, Express sophomore second baseman Brandon Crosby’s RBI double would be an insurance run and the eventual game-winning third run.
The eighth and ninth were the most drama-filled innings of the game, as the Express relief pitchers kept the Big Train at bay. In the eighth, it was junior relief pitcher Cesar Capellan that walked the tightrope. The ‘wild,’ then ‘on-target’ Capellan got two key outs in Big Train’s number four and five hitters, junior right fielder James Outman and sophomore first baseman Kevin Milam.
After walking Big Train sophomore catcher Gaby Cruz on four pitches that were not even close, Capellan, in full force, displayed how wild he can get.
A grounder hit by Big Train Semones came back to Capellan, who fielded it and proceeded to sail the baseball over the head of Express teammate Smith and down the right field line. Cruz advanced to third and Semones advanced to second setting up the Big Train in scoring position with no outs.
Facing Big Train sophomore third baseman Logan Driscoll, Capellan uncorked a wild pitch, scoring Cruz and making the score 3-2.
Capellan struck out Driscoll. Big Train left fielder Jordan Sergent would draw a walk and steal a base setting up second and third with one out.
The drama building, Capellan struck out Big Train Outman and got Big Train Milam to ground out to short.
“I was like ‘man, be myself’…and it worked”, said Capellan of his outing.
In the ninth, sophomore relief pitcher Joe Kruszka flirted with giving away the one run lead. While Kruszka delivered the first two outs, he gave up a single to Big Train senior pinch hitter Zach Jancarski. Kruszka gave the Big Train hope as he threw a wild pitch to the next batter, senior pinch hitter Luke Heyer. Another single would most likely tie the game. Then Kruszka rallied and threw a fastball by Heyer for strike three. “We just didn’t execute when we needed to…It just wasn’t our day,” said Big Train head coach Sal Colangelo of the Bethesda team’s effort.
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