Big Train Beat Cropdusters in Extra Innings

By:Jacob Cheris
Jordan Little delivers a pitch in the Big Train's 8-6 win over the Cropdusters on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Anna Yuan.)


The Bethesda Big Train played extra innings for the first time this season. After blowing a 5-0 lead to the Cropdusters in Olney on Jun. 24, the Big Train returned to Shirley Povich Field to finish the remainder of the game beginning in the top of the 11th after the original affair was suspended due to darkness. After the restart, the Big Train scored two runs in the 12th to win 8-6. 

On Saturday, the Big Train’s Luke Nowak (ECU) walked to lead off the 11th and reached third on a throwing error by pitcher Brett Seils. However, no one could bring him around to score the go-ahead run. In the top of the twelfth, the Big Train broke through. Colton Hegwood (Louisiana Tech) singled home Peyton Schulze (Cal) to make it 7-6 while Warren Holzemer (Virginia Tech) scored when John Kramer (Ole Miss) hit a hard ground ball to third baseman Jacob Orr, who bobbled it and could only throw Kramer out at first.

Jordan Little (ECU), who started the 11th, continued his dominant season, throwing two perfect innings to earn the win.


When the game initially began, it was Kaleb Woltz (USF) who started for the Big Train and pitched one scoreless inning. Despite giving up two hits in the top of the first, Woltz and the Big Train kept the Cropdusters off the scoreboard. Nick Del Prado (FAU) took over and proceeded to shut the Cropdusters out for four innings. 


Offensively, per usual, the Big Train got off to an early lead at First Responders Field. Emilien Pitre (Kentucky) brought Nowak home with an RBI double after Nowak reached on a walk in the top of the first. 


Sean Lane (Maryland) followed that up with a solo home run to left to lead off the second, doubling Bethesda’s lead.

After one of Del Prado’s sharper innings in which he went 1-2-3 inning and struck out two in the bottom of the third, Bethesda had runners at the corners with two outs in the top of the fourth and were gifted two runs via sloppy Cropdusters defense. An error by pitcher Will Grove allowed Hegwood and Holzemer to score, making it 4-0 Bethesda.


Holzemer made it 5-0 with an RBI in the top of the sixth. Defensively, Erik Ritchie (ECU) relieved Del Prado after he tossed four scoreless innings and struck out six but hit Ben Piripavel to lead off the inning. Ritchie got out of the jam and Colby Frieda (Kentucky) was the next man up. 

While Bethesda seemed to have this game in its control heading into the bottom of the seventh, the seventh inning told a different story. 

Despite only tallying two hits in the inning, the Cropdusters stormed back to take a 6-5 lead. As is often the case in such a situation, poor pitching and defense led to the downfall. Frieda walked four and the Cropdusters gained extra bases due to lackluster defense and took the lead on two passed balls. 

Only Jacob Orr managed an RBI hit, when he knocked in Michael Bouma. But the Cropdusters wouldn't complain about the means, only the ends, and for a time, momentum swung their way.


The Big Train responded and tied the game at six in the top of the eighth. Despite getting two quick outs via strikeouts of Garrett Felix (Nichols State) and Schulze, Harry Prince ran into trouble. He walked Lane, Hegwood, and Holzemer to load the basis before being relieved by Brett Seils. Seils couldn’t get out of the jam, and when he hit Clay Wargo (Louisiana Lafayette), scoring Lane, the Big Train had pulled even. 


Both teams could not capitalize for the rest of regulation on June 24. For the Big Train Jackson Ritchey (Virginia Tech), Jack Weeks (Georgetown) and Marcus Dux (Virginia Tech) kept the Cropdusters at bay. Their epic comeback hopes seemed to falter when when the game was suspended due to darkness. It was the second straight game between the two teams in Olney that had run out of daylight.


It is odd restarting suspended games, but the Big Train have had to do it thrice this season and have won two out of the three games. And following the resumption of this suspended game, the Big Train would go on to win the full 9-inning affair against the Cropdusters on Saturday night, 6-3.

Following Saturday night’s modified doubleheader, the Big Train travel to Silver Spring for a matchup against the SS-T Thunderbolts at Montgomery Blair High School at 6 p.m. 

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