BETHESDA — The Bethesda Big Train advanced to the Cal Ripken League championship series Thursday by virtue of their 14-8 victory over the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts at Shirley Povich Field.
Bethesda outfielders Tyler Villaroman and Jacob Westerman helped the Big Train’s cause by posting some gaudy statistics.
Villaroman went 3-for-5 and scored three runs and registered four RBI’s while Westerman batted 3-for-3 with an RBI and scored a run.
Big Train catcher Carson Taylor added two hits and four RBI’s to help Bethesda move into the championship round.
Bethesda took a 2-0 lead early in the game thanks to Fox Semones, Villaroman and Alec Burleson.
Semones and Villaroman both scored in the top of the first inning. Semones doubled on the game’s first pitch and Villaroman doubled on the game’s second pitch, allowing Semones to cross the plate, giving the Big Train a 1-0 lead. Villaroman later scored on Burleson’s sacrifice fly.
However, the Thunderbolts got on the board in the bottom of the inning when Corey Rosier scored off Jack Schroeder’s hit.
The Big Train added two runs in the second inning as John Glenn and Jacob Southern both scored but the Thunderbolts scored six runs in the fifth inning to take a 7-4 lead.
Silver Spring’s Devon Jeffreys and Raven Beeman scored runs before Nicholas Atkinson belted a grand slam homerun that enabled Hunter Pearre, Rosier and Schroeder to cross the plate.
Justin Wylie’s homerun in the top of the sixth inning enabled Burleson to score and cut the Thunderbolts lead to 7-6.
The Big Train added three runs in the eighth inning courtesy of AJ Lee who scored off a hit from Villaroman. Taylor later smashed a single that enabled both Semones and Villaroman to score.
“We hit in the sixth, we got within one and then in the eighth we came back and scored three and that was huge,” said Burleson, who leads the Big Train in several statistical categories.
Burleson, who leads the Big Train in RBI’s, home runs and slugging percentage, was satisfied with his team’s performance against the Thunderbolts, especially going into the ninth inning.
“As hitters it’s always nice to put up 14 and for the pitchers,” said Burleson. “Me being a pitcher as well it’s always nice to have a – what we have a seven-run lead going into that inning so it’s always nice.”
Meanwhile, the Thunderbolts finished the 2018 campaign with an overall 18-22 record, good enough for a third-place tie with the Rockville Express in the North Division.
“I’m very proud of you guys for sticking through and playing hard,” Thunderbolts head coach Doug Remer told the team in the huddle afterward. “You made me look good.”
The Thunderbolts were led this season by Hunter Pearre, a Poolesville native, and Corey Rosier along with Turner Davis who belted a team-high three home runs.
Ace Felder, a standout from Grambling State University, also contributed to the Thunderbolts’ cause during the season.
“He learned a lot this summer,” said Remer. “He got injured which is why he couldn’t play towards the end. He’s got more fire than anybody else so he’s a kid that, he should be getting picked up after the year. I’d be surprised if he didn’t.”