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Magruder Colonels improves with a win against Quince Orchard in Md. Elite hoops

Chris Asamoah puts up two for Magruder. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHChris Asamoah puts up two for Magruder. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  ROCKVILLE — The shots sailed through the net as if in slow motion.

The sight of Magruder Colonels forward Ebby Asamoah, tongue out, taking aim from behind the arc and sinking trey after trey haunted the Quince Orchard Cougars Monday in their final regular season game in the Maryland Elite Summer Basketball League.

Asamoah’s hot hand generated 21 points and led the Colonels to a 49-40 win in a game that saw the Cougars come close but ultimately fail to overtake Magruder.

The Colonels opened the game with an unanswered seven-point scoring run and soon the Cougars found themselves in a 12-2 rut early in the first half.

“We just had to get defensive stops and hustle harder on defense,” said Quince Orchard forward Cameron Garrett. “We’re capable of beating any team; we just have to hustle harder.”

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Rockville Express beat back G-Burg in extra innings, 9-7

Rockville Express vs. Gaithersburg GiantsGAITHERSBURG — One night after clinching a playoff spot, the Gaithersburg Giants (20-17) returned home to host division rival Rockville Express (16-20). The Giants held a 3-1 lead for three-and-a-half innings, until that changed in the top of the seventh when the Express tied it up and then won 9-7 in an extra-innings thriller Sunday night.

Rockville got on the board first in the top of the second when third baseman Livian Reinoso doubled to left field and drove in outfielder Matt Kruszka.

However, Gaithersburg answered in the bottom of the third with three runs courtesy of Joey Goodwin’s run on an error, and a two-RBI double by designated hitter Saul Garza.

The game went without a score for the next three innings. But in the top of the seventh, the Express tied it up at 3-3 with back-to-back RBI doubles from shortstop David Harding and outfielder Charles Kozorofsky.

“We’ve been hitting the ball real well all night long,” said Express manager Rick Price.

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Big Train out runs Gaithersburg to clinch Montgomery Cup

Bethesda Big Train's Gavin Hinchliffe (9) pitches against the Gaithersburg Giants in the Cal Ripken League game played at Povich Field on Saturday, July 14. The Big Train would go on to win the game, clinching the Montgomery Cup. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITHBethesda Big Train's Gavin Hinchliffe (9) pitches against the Gaithersburg Giants in the Cal Ripken League game played at Povich Field on Saturday, July 14.  PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH  BETHESDA — The Gaithersburg Giants had been the only team capable of catching the Bethesda Big Train for the 2018 Montgomery Cup, until July 14.

A four-run, bottom-of-the-third inning proved to be all the Big Train would need to defeat the Giants 5-3, and clinch the Montgomery Cup.

The Big Train had a 1.5 game lead over the Giants in the Montgomery Cup standing coming into their meeting on July 14, and upped that lead to 2.5 games with the win. With only one more Montgomery Cup game left to play, no team will be able to overtake the Big Train.

The Montgomery Cup features the four Montgomery County-based teams in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League. Only the games played against other County-based teams count towards Montgomery Cup standings.

However, the Big Train, who have dominated for the large part of the 2018 season, certainly didn’t have an easy road to its Montgomery Cup-clinching win.

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Gaithersburg Giants topple Alexandria Aces 10-4

Gaithersburg Giants vs. Alexandria AcesALEXANDRIA, Va. — A stroke of bad luck in the second inning propelled the Gaithersburg Giants to a 10-4 win over the Alexandria Aces Friday night.

A grand slam in the second inning gave the Giants the leverage and the momentum needed to keep their lead and get the win. Without it, the end result could have been much different: there were four straight scoreless innings for both teams.

“They put it to us in the first, they put us in a bind right there, they came up with the big hit on the grand slam. It was a pitch call I didn’t like, and I talked about it with our boy, but they made us pay for it and that’s what good teams do,” said Aces head coach Chris Berset.

This gives the Giants their 20th win of the season and keeps them comfortably in second place in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League North division, while in the Southern division the Aces are at fourth place but just shy of third.

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Bethesda Big Train demolish T-Bolts 14-3

Bethesda Big Train's Andrew Shebloski (6) during the Cal Ripken League game against the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts played at Povich Field on Friday, July 13, 2018. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITHBethesda Big Train's Andrew Shebloski (6) at bat during the Cal Ripken League game against the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts played at Povich Field on Friday, July 13, 2018. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH  BETHESDA — Coming off a dominating 18-0 victory over the Baltimore Dodgers, the Bethesda Big Train (30-5) continued to cruise over their opponents as they steamrolled the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts (14-21) 14-3 on Friday night at Shirley Povich Field for their 30th win of the season.

The Big Train got on the board in the bottom of the second when catcher Ben Martz singled up the middle to drive in outfielder Justin Wylie for the 1-0 lead.

Bethesda went on to score nine more runs in the next five innings to take a 10-0 lead. Among the scores included a home run and an RBI double from first baseman Udie Summerall, RBI singles from Wylie, third baseman Carson Taylor, infielder Fox Semones, and designated hitter Alec Burleson, a sac fly from outfielder Andrew Shebloski, and runs on wild pitches by Burleson and shortstop AJ Lee.

“Tonight we hit the ball really well,” Summerall said. “We do that every night. It’s not a big surprise, but I think everybody had fun tonight, even me. We’re having fun.”

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Big Train clinch Montgomery Cup; Elko and Moore named Players of the Week

Tim Elko (left) and Nathan Moore. COURTESY PHOTOTim Elko (left) and Nathan Moore. COURTESY PHOTOThe Cal Ripken League Players of the Week have been announced for the week of July 9-July 15.

Tim Elko of the Baltimore Redbirds was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Week. Elko had a .500 batting average with 13 hits, one double, one home run, and 11 RBIs in 26 at-bats with two stolen bases for the North Division-leading Redbirds. He is currently a rising sophomore at the University of Mississippi, as well as a resident of Lutz, Florida.

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Rockville Express fall to DC Grays in Ripken League action, 2-0

Rockville Express' Alex Yi-Chen Jou (2), from the Taiwan National University of Sports and Physical Education, gets DC Grays John Marti trying to take second during the Cal Ripken League game played at Knights Field at Montgomery College-Rockville on Saturday, July 14, 2018.  PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITHRockville Express' Alex Yi-Chen Jou (2) gets DC Grays' John Marti trying to take second during a Ripken League game played at Montgomery College-Rockville on Saturday, July 14.  PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH  ROCKVILLE — The DC Grays earned a 2-0 win over the Rockville Express on Saturday at Montgomery College.

Despite a valiant effort from the home team, the Grays came away victorious.

“They’re solid,” said Rockville Express head coach Rick Price. “They make all the plays. They have some hitters.”

The Grays, who improved to 17-18, compiled nine hits from a group of seven different players and kept their second place standing in the Cal Ripken South Division.

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Taiwan’s influence in Cal Ripken League continues

Rockville Express' Alex Yi-Chen Jou (2) of Taiwan National University of Sports and Physical Education in Taipei City, Taiwan throws to first against the Baltimore Dodgers in a Cal Ripken League game at Montgomery College Rockville on FridayRockville Express' Alex Yi-Chen Jou (2) of Taiwan National University of Sports and Physical Education in Taiwan throws to first against the visiting Baltimore Dodgers in a Cal Ripken League game on Friday.           PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH  The Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts have had a history of international players in their 19-year history, and have recently established a relationship with a new country.

For the past four years, the T-Bolts have had nine players from Taiwan, including three on the current team. According to T-Bolts president Dick O’Connor, this was the first time Taiwanese players were looking to play in an East Coast summer league, having previously played in California.

Three years ago, Taiwanese agent Alan Chang, who represented former Major League Baseball pitcher Cheing-Ming Wang, contacted T-Bolts head coach Doug Remer asking if he was interested in a player from National Taiwan University of Sport, one of the two major universities in Taiwan dedicated to sports. Chang recommended pitcher En-Shih Huang, who became a Ripken League All-Star and currently pitches in the Chinese Professional League.

Chang also began recommending players from another college, National Taiwan Sport University, and from 2015-2017, six Taiwanese players suited up for the T-Bolts. Three more are on the team this summer, with another three on the Rockville Express. According to Adam Lee, who is a contact for the T-Bolts in the Taiwanese community, National Taitung University in Taiwan expressed interest in sending players, so Chang recommended two for the Express. The Express also got infielder Alex Yi-Chen Jou, who played for the T-Bolts last year and would’ve played for them again if the team had a roster spot open.

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Rockville Express scrape out victory against Baltimore Dodgers, 4-3

Rockville Express first baseman Evan Blum (26) waits for the throw from third as Baltimore Dodgers' Matthew Buckery (7) bears down.  PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITHRockville Express first baseman Evan Blum (26) waits for the throw from third as Baltimore Dodgers' Matthew Buckery (7) bears down. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH  ROCKVILLE — A pair of division rivals met on the baseball diamond Friday night at Montgomery College.

However, when all was said and done, the Rockville Express emerged with a 4-3 victory over the Baltimore Dodgers.

“We scraped together a few runs so we’re hanging in,” said Rockville head coach Rick Price. “We’re hanging in. We’re still in a playoff spot, we’re trying to stay there.”

The Express and Dodgers both compete in the Cal Ripken North Division; Rockville is firmly entrenched in third place and Baltimore holds down the last place spot.

“We have a friendly rivalry,” added Price, “unlike some teams.”

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South dominates North in Cal Ripken League All-Star game

Bethesda Big Train’s Tyler Villaroman (36) bats a line drive to the warning track earning him a double and driving in three runners in the Cal Ripken League All-Star Game played at Shirley Povich Field on Wednesday. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHBethesda Big Train’s Tyler Villaroman (36) bats a line drive to the warning track earning him a double and driving in three runners in the Cal Ripken League All-Star Game at Shirley Povich Field on Wednesday. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  BETHESDA — The 2018 Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League All-Star game was played at Shirley Povich Field, the home of the Bethesda Big Train. It was the stars from that very Big Train team that led the way for the South team, as they soundly defeated the North, 15-1.

“Honestly, no,” FCA Herndon Braves manager Chris Warren, who coached the South team, said when asked if he expected the offensive outburst. “That was a little bit unexpected. But hey, guys came out and swung the bat well.”

The South team scored 14 unanswered runs in the game, leading them to their dominant win.

The Big Train had the most players selected to the All-Star game out of any team in the league, with 15. Carson Taylor, a member of that Big Train contingent, was named the Most Outstanding Player of the game. He finished the game with four hits in four at bats, and three runs scored.

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