GAITHERSBURG — The Gaithersburg Giants (18-14) of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League earned their second shutout win of the season Monday after defeating the visiting FCA Herndon Braves, 13-0, at Criswell Automotive Field at Kelley Park.
The Braves (13-17) couldn’t get into an offensive rhythm and the Giants took advantage, capitalizing on their opponents’ mistakes and forcing quick outs. Gaithersburg pitcher Brad Sawyer struck out batter after batter before surrendering the mound to Ryan Johnston after the fourth inning.
Gaithersburg catcher Saul Garza generated three runs when he registered the first home run of the night. Garza’s homer handed the Giants the momentum needed to methodically put the Braves away.
“I feel like our team just did a great job of adjusting to the [Braves] pitchers and then it felt like everyone started really driving baseballs,” said Garza. “The team played really relaxed today and that’s when we play our best. Today the team attitude was just fun, and come game time, we were ready to go.”
The fun atmosphere that permeated the Gaithersburg dugout spilled out onto the field as the Giants took their time at bat and kept the FCA Herndon offense off the field. Gaithersburg led 9-0 at the bottom of the seventh when infielder Nick Holesa, a freshman at Virginia Tech, stepped in as a pinch hitter.
The Giants already had two outs when Holesa slammed the ball over the fence for the second three-run homer of the game.
However, Gaithersburg wasn’t finished with the highlight reel plays. Giants outfielder Nick Yovetich added the cherry on top with a home run of his own to close out the eighth inning.
“Everyone was hitting and hitting well,” said Gaithersburg infielder Andres Machado, who finished with two RBI. “It feels good to win like that. Offensively we had a good approach and we were hitting our pitches and hitting them hard. Hopefully we keep winning like this.”
The Giants sit in second place in the North Division with eight games left in the regular season. Two of those games are against the Baltimore Redbirds and the Bethesda Big Train, which are the top teams in their respective divisions. Gaithersburg currently sits eight games behind the Redbirds.
Meanwhile, FCA Herndon is ranked third in the South division, just two games behind the DC Grays. Braves manager and head coach Chris Warren said he doesn’t think the blowout loss against Gaithersburg will negatively affect his team as they gear up for the playoffs.
“We play 40 games a year and when you play that many games, you’re going to have games where it gets away from you and I think tonight was an example of that. I don’t think it’ll have a cumulative effect,” said Warren. “We have 10 games left and our goal is to get things figured out and play well in those games and find a way into the playoffs.”
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