GAITHERSBURG -- After losing the first three games against Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts (10-16), the Gaithersburg Giants (15-13) beat their divisional rivals 5-4 Saturday night.
The game at Criswell Automotive Field remained close throughout.
Silver Spring-Takoma outfielder Brett Leftridge hit a leadoff home run in the first inning to put the Thunderbolts on top, 1-0. Then outfielder Garrett Stonehouse hit an RBI double to score first baseman Jimmy Cain, taking the score to 2-0.
In the bottom of the second, however, the Giants would answer when second baseman Jordan Westburg doubled to drive in a run scored by third baseman Christian Torres, followed by catcher Trey Martinez grounding out on a 6-3 put out, as first baseman Steven Williams headed home to tie the game at 2-2.
Neither team would break the tie until the bottom of the sixth. With Gaithersburg’s designated hitter Christian Kuzemka at the plate, Steven Williams would score the go-ahead run on a wild pitch by Thunderbolts pitcher Yuhe-Lin Lee to give his team a commanding 3-2 lead. Then outfielder Daniel Cabrera would hit a two-RBI double to left field to drive in Westburg and outfielder Trace Bucey and extend the Giants’ lead to 5-2.
“We needed this win,” Cabrera said. “I think we’ve lost to this team every time this year, and we needed to beat them and do everything we can to get in first place in our division.”
In the top of the seventh, outfielder Richie Schiekofer doubled to left field to drive in catcher Benito Santiago and cut the deficit to 5-3. Then, third baseman Jimmy Cain hit an RBI single to send Schiekofer home, nearly catching the team up with the Giants.
On the next at-bat, with runners on first and second, Stonehouse had a chance to tie the game with a base hit, but he ended up hitting a fly out to right field, and the Thunderbolts failed to score the last two innings.
“When you play a good team, you gotta play ball,” T-Bolts manager Doug Remer said. “And still, we had too many strikeouts tonight. We put the ball in play and made things happen, but the pop-ups and the strikeouts, we’re not gonna win games if we do that.”
For the Giants, Cabrera was solid at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two RBI and a batting average of .360.
With the win, Gaithersburg improves to 16-13 on the season, while Silver-Spring Takoma falls to 10-17.