06/29/2022 11:58 PM
After the Bethesda Big Train fell 2-0 to the Metro SOCO Braves, it was time to go back to basics. The Big Train had an exhibition matchup against the Southern Maryland Senators, which represented a chance for the team to find its identity.
“We call it an exhibition, but still you play the game the same way,” pitching coach Craig Lopez said. “The bases are still 90 feet away and you go after them because we're in the middle of [11 consecutive games]. Everybody's still working to continue to get better.”
Wednesday’s contest was a bullpen night for the Big Train. Evan Marcinko (UNC Wilmington) got his first start of the season and delivered four strikeouts through two innings and got credit with the win as the Big Train topped the Senators 7-1.
Marcinko’s only run allowed was on Senators’ third baseman Tyler Young’s RBI single to center in the first, which gave the Senators a 1-0 lead.
After a 1-2-3 first inning for Southern Maryland, Bethesda tied the game in the bottom of the second thanks to TJ Rogers' (Austin Peay) RBI single.
The bottom of the fourth inning is where all the action was for the Train. Clay Wargo (Coastal Carolina), who had singled back in the second, launched a towering two-run homer to deep left, giving the Big Train a 3-1 lead. Wargo was 3-for-4 on the night.
The offense did not stop there. After Warren Holzemer (Virginia Tech) reached on an error, Trey Winget (St. Mary’s (CA)) hit a line drive into center field to bring Holzemer home for a 4-1 lead.
“He's a blessed young man,” Lopez said. “He has incredibly quick hands and he's really staying on learning to keep his bat path [straight] as opposed to peeling off of it.”
While Winget has struggled at the plate this season, currently hitting just a shade over .100, he hopes that he can take Wednesday’s performance and instill confidence in himself for the rest of the season.
Jackson Ritchey (Virginia Tech) came on in relief of Marcinko and pitched four scoreless innings, while striking out two batters.
“I was trying to establish my fastball early and get ahead of all the hitters,” Ritchey said.
The Big Train established control of the game in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs and runners on first and second, Sean Lane (Maryland) brought Luke Nowak (ECU) home to make it 5-1.
The Big Train added two more runs in the bottom of the eighth and Kai Burdick (San Francisco) closed out the game, finishing with seven strikeouts over three innings.
Bethesda’s last three games have not been its brightest. Even though the Big Train have won three out of their last five, excluding Wednesday and the makeup game against the Braves on Monday night, they have struggled with bringing runners in scoring position around.
Wednesday night they left only nine stranded, a big improvement over their last several losses. Bethesda left 14 runners stranded in its 13-4 loss against the Alexandria Aces on Jun. 25 and in its loss against the Braves on Monday.
“Being able to hit the ball the other way, getting the bunts down, those things are gonna come,” Lopez said. “They're gonna come because they're consistently working hard at it and having the mental fortitude to be able to do that.”
The Big Train will look to finish June out on a high note with another busy day double-header against the Cropdusters at Shirley Povich Field on Thursday where they will finish a game suspended due to darkness from Jun. 17 and then play a full, regularly scheduled game. Summer baseball can be relentless, and the Train are in the midst of a stretch like that now. But they’ll look to keep winning Thursday night.
Game Notes: There was lots of off-field action at Povich Field on the night when the Big Train hosted an exhibition game with the Southern Maryland Senators, the newest entry into the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League. The Senators will be the eighth team in the Ripken League starting in the 2023 season. The Senators will play at Regency Furniture Stadium, home of the Atlantic League’s Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, in Waldorf, Maryland… Young Big Train fans were able to program mini robots called Ozobots to follow their commands and experiment with circuit blocks to figure out how to make lights and fans turn on at the KID Museum table before the game… Our Community Heroes of the Night were Special Olympics and KID Museum... Big Train founder Bruce Adams presented KID Museum founder and executive director Cara Lesser with a Big Train jersey with COMMUNITY HERO stitched across the back above Roberto Clemente’s #21. The Trawick Foundation will also contribute $250 to the KID Museum as part of Cara Lesser's individual Big Train Community Hero award… Johns Hopkins Community Physicians was the sponsor of tonight’s game… Former Washington Post sports editor George Solomon spoke with this summer’s Kurkjian Sports Journalism Fellows, Veeck Baseball Operations Fellows, and DiMisa High School Leadership Fellows before the game. A long-time associate of Shirley Povich, Solomon established and ran the Povich Center for Sports Journalism at the University of Maryland. The press box at Povich Field is named in his honor. Solomon's number one piece of advice: read good writers... Yael Schwartz held her Bat Mitzvah party at the Davis Family Picnic Pavilion and got to take a picture with the whole Big Train team… Attendance was 380.
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