Big Train top Redbirds in thriller to take 1-0 lead in championship series

By:Owen Krucoff


  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Redbirds 0 1 0 0 3 1 1 2 0 8 11 1
Big Train 0 2 1 1 0 0 2 3 x 9 10 2


One of the most exciting games of the season unfolded at Shirley Povich Field on Saturday, as Big Train survived a back and forth, offensive game to beat the Baltimore Redbirds, 9-8, in game one of the Cal Ripken League championship series. The victory leaves Bethesda one win away from a third straight Ripken League title, which it can clinch in game two of the best-of-three series, scheduled for Sunday night in Baltimore.

This series marks the tenth consecutive year that Big Train and the Redbirds have met for the championship, but Saturday’s game showed no signs of the rivalry running out of excitement any time soon. Baltimore took the first lead with an RBI single from designated hitter Christian Hlinka in the top of the second, but Bethesda struck back immediately with the first of the game’s many swings. First baseman Alec Burleson (East Carolina) led of the bottom of the second with a single and advanced to second on a passed ball. He reached third on a flyout by designated hitter Jacob Southern (Jacksonville) before scoring alongside leftfielder Justin Wylie (Arizona) on a 2-run single by catcher Ben Martz (Santa Barbara CC).

The lead was extended to 3-1 in the third on an RBI double by third baseman Carson Taylor (Virginia Tech).

Big Train took a 4-1 lead into the fifth, but the Redbirds struck back with a three-run inning before tacking on extra runs in the sixth and seventh to go up 6-4. All five of Baltimore’s unanswered runs were scored with two outs.

After being held hitless for two innings, the Big Train bats sprung back to life in the seventh with a two-out rally of their own. With runners on first and second and two outs, Alec Burleson doubled to score shortstop AJ Lee (Maryland). A Justin Wylie walk loaded the bases, and a Baltimore pitching change was not enough to stop Jacob Southern from walking as well, sending the game into the eighth tied at six.

As both teams received vocal support from the large Povich Field crowd during the climax of the game, Baltimore took the lead again, scoring on solo home runs by shortstop Anthony Servideo and rightfielder Alex Tappen in the eighth to take an 8-6 advantage.

Bethesda wasted no time rallying in the bottom of the eighth, however, loading up the bases with no outs. A groundout by centerfielder Tyler Villaroman (San Francisco) was enough to score Ben Martz from third. Carson Taylor followed suit with an RBI groundout of his own, this time sending home AJ Lee. And with two outs and second baseman Fox Semones (James Madison) waiting on third base, Burleson knocked a single over the head of Servideo and into shallow left field to give Bethesda the 9-8 lead.

The top of the ninth belonged to righthander Gavin Hinchliffe, who shut down the Redbirds in order to pick up the save and place Big Train on the brink of a championship. Perhaps as a testament to the excitement of the contest, the top of the ninth was the only half-inning of the night which featured no baserunners. “It felt great [getting the save],” Hinchliffe said. “We had ups and downs that game, but we’re all playing for each other, we all want to win the championship, so I just went out there and fought for the guys that pitched before me and all the guys on the team.”

Game two of the series is set for 6 p.m. on Sunday at Calvert Hall College High School in Baltimore. With the Redbirds’ backs to the wall in the series, it could become another memorable matchup between these two teams. “We’re expecting the same,” said Burleson. “Very similar to this game. We’re going to have to fight, they’re not going to lay down.” Big Train manager Sal Colangelo, who has led the team to five championship wins over the Redbirds in the last nine years, anticipates the same as well. “It’s going to be very physical, the atmosphere up there is going to be exciting,” he said. “They want to win just as much as we want to win, and I expect them not to quit… it’s going to be another close game.”

Share This Article

Past News

Search Archive »

Browse by Year »


Browse by Month »

September 2023
August 2023
July 2023
June 2023
April 2023
March 2023
February 2023
December 2022
November 2022
September 2022
July 2022
June 2022
May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
December 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
March 2020
February 2020
October 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
November 2016
September 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
September 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
November 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
December 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
December 2011

You Tube
Number 11
Number 21
Number 40
Number 42
Number 5
Number 7