Looking destined for a sixth loss in the team's first seven games this summer, the three-time defending Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League champion Bethesda Big Train scored six runs in the top of the ninth inning through some improbable circumstances to defeat host Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts, 8-4, Wednesday.
Bethesda, shutout through the first seven innings, used a pair of dropped routine flyballs from infielders, three walks, a hit batsman, a passed ball and a two-run single by Justin McCullough to tie the game at 4-4 and then a two-run double to left center field by Adam Barry gave the Big Train the lead for good and their second win of the season.
Barry's line drive shot came on the first pitch he saw from Montgomery Blair graduate Peirce Marston, who came out of the bullpen to face Barry with the bases loaded and one out.
“I knew he was coming out of the 'pen and right away wanted to get ahead with a strike,” Barry said. “I saw a fastball and swung at it. I was hoping to get fastball; if not, swing through it and keep fighting. It was amazing. We just kept putting at-bats together and got the 'W.' It was good.”
The victory helped stem an uncharacteristically slow start for the Big Train that was precipitated by a thin roster. The squad has gone 2-1 since the rest of the team arrived Monday.
“Like I told the guys after the fourth game, 'That was spring training; now our season started,'” Big Train coach Sal Colangelo said. “We were missing 18 guys at the start of the season. The guys who filled in played hard but we were just short on pitching [and] just short on offense. So now we need to play Big Train baseball -- We play every pitch of every inning and that's what they did tonight. That's what good teams do.”
The Thunderbolts (4-3) leaped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a grand slam off the bat of Adam Spires following two singles and walk induced by Our Lady of Good Counsel graduate Jake Taylor.
Silver Spring was shut out the rest of the way, however, behind the pitching of starter Eric Martin and reliever Bo Logan, who earned the win with three scoreless innings of relief.
The Big Train finally broke through with a pair of runs in the top of the eighth through an error and a sacrifice fly by Hunter Renfroe. The top of the ninth started with a lazy pop fly in shallow left that was dropped by Spires followed by a hit batsman and a sacrifice bunt that reliever Chris Harrison fielded cleanly and threw to third base in time for the putout. However, Spires was ruled off the bag to load the bases.
McCullough followed with a bloop single to left field to tie the score at 4. Following a strikeout, Cole Norton was intentionally walked to load the bases and set up a potential double play. But Barry followed with his two-run double and he later scored on a passed ball. Another run scored on a bases-loaded walk.
“Things just started to snowball,” Thunderbolts coach Josh Eachues said. “We really couldn't make a play to get out of it. It's baseball. It was a tough night. That's the way it goes I guess.”
Bethesda 8, Silver Spring-Takoma 4
Bethesda (2-5) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 8 8 1
Silver Spring-Takoma (4-3) 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 5 3
WP Bo Logan. LP Chris Harrison. 2B: Bethesda Adam Barry. Silver Spring Ben Carson. HR: Silver Spring Adam Spires. RBI: Bethesda Adam Barry 2, Justin McCullough 2, Hunter Renfroe, Cam Neal. Silver Spring Adam Spires 4.