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Big Train Split Doubleheader with Alexandria

By:Aaron Gershon
Kobe Kato (Arizona) and Jacob Southern (Jacksonville) celebrate in the dugout.

The Bethesda Big Train (7-3), and Alexandria Aces (3-7) played a doubleheader Sunday at Shirley Povich Field, consisting of two seven-inning games. Both clubs left the field victorious, as Big Train took game one by a final score of 10-5 and the Aces won game two, 8-4.

Game One: BOXSCORE

In the first game of the doubleheader, the Big Train played as the visitors, since the game was a makeup of a June 9 rainout in Alexandria. With the chance to hit first, Bethesda wasted no time plating runs. Christian Jayne (East Carolina) scored the game's first run after a wild pitch. Later in the inning, league RBI leader Jacob Southern (Jacksonville) drove in yet another run with a double to score Kobe Kato (Arizona). Southern would later come home to score on an RBI single by Matt Thomas (William & Mary) as the Big Train took an early 3-0 lead.

With an early lead, starting pitcher Andrew Vail (Maryland) dominated in three innings of work. The left-hander recorded five strikeouts and did not allow a hit. In the top of the fourth, Kris Kremer (Penn State) slugged a solo shot for his second home run of the season to put Bethesda up 4-0. It looked as if the Big Train would run away with the victory, but the Aces had other plans.

Alexandria plated four runs to tie the game as Landon Langston (North Alabama) hit an RBI single, and Jared Lyons (George Mason) hit a three-run game-tying home run. After both bullpens posted matching zeros in the fifth and sixth the game entered its final frame tied.

In the top half of the seventh, the Big Train rallied. Gio Diaz (St. Mary's CA) and Kobe Kato led off the inning with singles and Jacob Southern drew a walk to load the bases for Matt Thomas. The Big Train first baseman would cash in, ripping a two-run single to put his team ahead 6-4. Later in the inning, the Big Train would tack on four more runs. Martin Vincelli-Simard (Sacramento State) hit an RBI single, both Christain Jayne and Keith Torres (Sacramento State) worked bases loaded walks, and Gio Diaz hit a sacrifice fly to put Bethesda ahead 10-4.

The Aces would get one run back in the bottom of the seventh against Chase Lee (Alabama), but it was far too little as the Big Train closed out a 10-5 win.

Game Two: BOXSCORE

The second game of the doubleheader, in which Big Train returned to their usual perch as the home squad, proved to be very different from the afternoon game. This time, it was the Aces who got off to a quick start. Alexandria plated two runs in the top of the first as Scotty Morgan (George Mason) hit a two-run home run over the center field batter's eye.

Down 2-0 in the bottom of the second, Big Train scored their first run of the ball game as Matt Thomas hit an RBI single to score Kobe Kato, cutting Alexandria's lead in half. 

"I felt good, I was seeing the ball well, I was just trying to be on time with the fastball," said Thomas, who recorded four RBIs Sunday.

In the top of the fourth, Morgan again caused more trouble for the Big Train, slugging his second two-run home run of the game, this time to right field as the Aces took a 4-1 lead. Bethesda wouldn't stop fighting; however, as in the bottom half in the fourth, they plated two runs of their own. Matt Thomas would score on a passed ball, and Tate Soderstrom (Arizona) scored on an error, cutting the lead to 4-3.

Alexandria thwarted the Big Train comeback when they scored three runs of their own in the top of the fifth. Max Romero (Vanderbilt) hit a two-run double and later scored on a Morgan single as the Aces took a 7-3 lead. Bethesda would get one run back in the bottom of the fifth as Jacob Southern ripped an RBI double, but the Aces again countered with a run of their own in the next frame.

That would be it for the scoring as the Aces closed out an 8-4 victory. After the game, Thomas spoke about splitting the doubleheader, praising the pitching in the first game, but wishing the team produced more at the plate in the nightcap.

"I thought the pitchers did a good job being competitive with their fastball and pounding the zone," he said. "In the second game we really didn't hit the ball well, overall it was a good day, but we have to be a little better."

The Big Train will get a much needed day off tomorrow before heading to D.C. to play a doubleheader with the Grays Tuesday. The first game starts at 4:30 p.m.

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