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.”
Baltimore got things going in the top of the second inning when third baseman Kevin Madden launched a blooper to right field and drove in two runs scored by first baseman Adam Hackenberg and outfielder Tim Elko. Then outfielder Carl Gindl hit an RBI single to deep left center field to bring home Madden, making the score 3-0.
The T-Bolts kept things close, though. In the bottom of the third, outfielder Corey Rosier tripled to right field to score catcher Josh Simon and shortstop Jack Roberts as Silver Spring-Takoma cut the deficit to 3-2.
The game then went three-and-a-half innings without a single run. That is, until after the seventh-inning stretch, when the T-Bolts made an offensive substitution with pitcher Jack Schroeder subbing in for Roberts. In Schroeder’s at-bat, Simon advanced to second base on a wild pitch. One pitch later, Schroeder hit an RBI double that drove in Simon to tie the game at 3-3.
Later in the inning, second-year veteran Jimmy Cain launched one towards Grindl in center field for the potential flyout, but Grindl dropped the ball for an error as Rosier scored on an unearned run to give Silver Spring-Takoma a 4-3 lead.
Cain hit .500 in last year’s postseason, and hopes to keep the same approach and “try not to do too much. Just hit pitches that come at the plate,” he stated. “If I get fastballs right at the plate, got to take them. First pitch, second pitch; work with what I got.”
However, the Redbirds took total control the rest of the way. In the top of the eighth, infielder DJ Poteet walked up to the batter’s box. After outfielder Alex Tappen stole third, Poteet singled to right field to bring Tappen home for the 4-4 tie. Baltimore took a 6-4 lead when shortstop Anthony Servideo advanced to first on a fielder’s choice as Poteet and Hackenberg both made it to home plate.
The next inning, Baltimore added on to its lead with three more runs when Rosier dropped a fly ball from Poteet in left field which allowed outfielder Christian Hlinka to score. Then on the next at-bat, Hackenberg singled down the left field line to bring home Gindl and Tappen.
Three different Redbirds pitchers went the first, middle, and last three innings, including Mark DiLuia, Justin Campbell, and David Moore. Campbell struck out seven and Moore got the save.
New Baltimore manager Tom Eller felt proud of his team’s performance. “We had really good BP today,” he said. “I felt like we were going to swing the bat, and we did. We played good defense, pitched pretty well. We just swung the bat when we needed to.”
Eller took over from previous manager Larry Sheets, who led the Redbirds to the Cal Ripken League Championship Series. “I got a great owner and a great GM who do all the hard work and get all the good players for me,” Eller said. “I just go out and hang out and write the lineup up.”
With the win, the Redbirds improve to 2-1 while the Thunderbolts suffer their first loss with their record also 2-1. Both teams are tied for first place in the Cal Ripken League North division with Baltimore gaining the advantage.
“As a coach, you sometimes you want that,” said Remer on his team losing for the first time early in the season. “The first two games, I think we kind of cruised through a little bit. We had some good hitting and stuff, but tonight we really had to be on it every inning, and that lack of focus played a role. The first loss is tough we’ve got to come back tomorrow now and see what kind of drive we have.”