BETHESDA — 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.
In the bottom of the third, with Justin Wylie in the batter’s box, a wild pitch occurred which allowed third baseman Carson Taylor to advance to second and outfielder Tyler Villaroman to third, and then to home plate on a throwing error by Aces third baseman Tristen Jorah. Villaroman’s run gave the Big Train a 2-1 lead.
The next inning, shortstop AJ Lee hit a sacrifice groundout on a 6-3 which allowed outfielder Jacob Westerman to score. Then, Semones reached first on an error where Alexandria shortstop Chris Alleyne couldn’t handle the grounder, as designated hitter Udie Summerall made his way towards home plate to extend the Big Train’s lead to 4-1.
Neither team was able to score after that. For the most part, it was all about the pitching and strong defense.
If there was an MVP for this game, it would be Bethesda pitcher Chris Clarke, who struck out eight batters and allowed just one run through seven innings, and thanks to enough run support, he got the win.
“It was a good performance,” Clarke said. “I really trusted my defense, so it gave me a long leash and I took advantage of it.”
Big Train manager Sal Colangelo was even impressed by Clarke’s performance. “Chris did a good job,” Colangelo said. “The game plan was to give us five innings, 75 pitches. He gave us seven innings, 76 pitches. He showed he had great command. Slider was working well, change-up, and fastball, and kept them off-balance, and anytime you keep hitters off-balance, it’s tough.”
On the offensive side of things, Glenn went 2-for-5 at the plate with an RBI, while Westerman went 2-for-3 with a run.
The Big Train improved to a league-best 18-2 with the victory. “The game is just a piece of our whole season,” Clarke said, “but it feels nice to be on this team because we click together very well and we win together very well. It’s a very fortunate opportunity. I’ve been blessed to actually be here and I appreciate all the things the guys do for me every day.”
Meanwhile, the Aces’ loss drops their record to 9-9, tied with the FCA Braves for second place in the South division. “They came up with the big hits, and they capitalized on their mistakes,” Alexandria manager Chris Berset said. “We’ve got to do a better job of getting those runs in when they’re on base with a man on third, less than two outs.”
Berset also stated that his team is taking it “one game at a time.”
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