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A dramatic 9th inning propels the Big Train to fourth straight win

By:Jacob Cheris

It’s the bottom of the ninth inning and the Bethesda Big Train are tied 1-1 against the Alexandra Aces after a wild pitch brought in Clay Wargo (Coastal Carolina) with one out. 

TJ Rogers (Austin Peay State University) is up to bat for the Big Train with runners at second and third, and a chance to take the lead. 

Then the unthinkable happened. Another wild pitch sent Trey Winget (St. Mary’s (CA)) home to give the Big Train a 2-1 win in dramatic fashion to remain unbeaten. It is Bethesda's second walkoff win this week.

“Whenever you have more energy in the dugout, we score runs. So that energy in the ninth inning was definitely electric,” Jordan Little (East Carolina) said. 

 

Despite the win, the big storyline in Saturday’s contest was the lack of offense. Both teams combined for just three hits. The Aces did not get their first knock until the top of the eighth inning. 

 

For the Big Train however, the problem was leaving runners left on base. They had plenty of chances, but couldn't not find the key hit.

 

“We’re trying to get better at swinging the bat. We got to be more clutch with runners in scoring position,” head coach Sal Colangelo said after the win. “These kids are resilient, they want to play.”

 

Emilien Pitre (Kentucky) came to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the fifth to try to find that breakthrough hit and give Bethesda the lead. However, a slow groundball to first base ended the inning and left two runners stranded once again.

Even though the offense is still going through some growing pains, the pitching staff seems to have settled in.

Brayden Jones (Ole Miss) was hoping to continue throwing his good stuff, after five strikeouts on opening night against the SS-T Thunderbolts earlier this week. 

However, he only struck out one batter and walked two after three innings. Colangelo says it was because he had tweaked something in his back. He does not believe it will be serious. 

When Little came on in relief for Jones, he was throwing heat. However, he did give up the lone Aces’ run on a wild pitch in the top of the fifth. 

Todd Mozoki (James Madison) earned the win by keeping the score 1-0 over the eighth and ninth innings. He allowed one hit and struck out two batters. 

“I couldn't be any happier for Little, Jones and Mozoki,” Colangelo said. “They’re three quality guys that are doing very well and keeping us in games.”

Little kept the score close for the Big Train. Without his stellar pitching, this game could have gone sideways for Bethesda. This was the right-hander's second appearance in a Big Train uniform. 

“It's just about trying to fill up the [strike] zone,” Little said. “That's what [pitching coach Craig Lopez] always talks to us about, [which is] throwing strikes and competing.”

Bethesda gets back in action on Sunday with a matinee against the Gaithersburg Giants at 2 p.m. at Povich Field and look to stay unbeaten.

 

Game Notes: Saturday night's Community Heroes of the Night group was Nourishing Bethesda... John Ross, one of the founders of Nourishing Bethesda, was honored as an individual Big Train Community Hero... Saturday night was Community Hot Dog Night sponsored by Catalyst Hot Dogs and Roseda Beef. Big Train fans donated $1,298.50 to support the good work of Nourishing Bethesda... For the first time in our 23 seasons, beer was sold at a home Big Train game. 7 Locks Brewing will be back June 18, July 2, and July 22... Sammy Shay sang the National Anthem... Attendance was 521.

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