06/15/2023 11:08 PM
ALEXANDRIA, VA – The Bethesda Big Train (9-2) claimed their sixth straight victory in Thursday night’s 5-0 win over the Alexandria Aces (7-2). Prior to this contest, Bethesda had dropped the last seven matchups against the Aces, a 360-day win drought that included last season’s championship finale.
But the Big Train have been hot this week, and the team went into this game knowing how important it was to break that streak.
For Jason Schiavone (James Madison), a Big Train returnee who experienced the disappointment of the 2022 championship first-hand, the win felt extra special. “Honestly, today was a big momentum [boost] for us to be able to continue our little streak we got going,” said the catcher. “Hopefully next time we play [the Aces], we can get another dub.”
Lights out pitching was the name of the game, as Bethesda’s staff combined for 17 Ks in the shutout, the team’s fourth in six days. The starter Patrick Galle (Ole Miss) made quick work of the Aces, finishing with seven strikeouts and only allowing three hits across four innings.
Galle highlighted the significance of his dominant performance against a tough competitor like Alexandria. “Oh, it felt amazing,” he said. “I mean any day to get out here and just throw against a bunch of good guys is an awesome day.”
Davion Hickson (Florida State) came in for relief to deliver a four-inning, seven strikeout performance of his own, only yielding one hit and one walk in that span. The final pitcher, Evan Marcinko capped off Bethesda’s dominant perrformance by striking out the side in the bottom of the ninth, stranding two Aces runners and preventing any thought of an Alexandria walk-off.
On the offensive side, Bethesda missed a number of opportunities to tack on runs, but scored in key moments against a talented slate of Aces pitchers.
The Big Train broke through in the top of the second, when Jack Guerrero (UNC Wilmington) singled in Carter Cunningham (East Carolina), who had singled to lead off the inning. However, despite loading the bases with no outs, Bethesda could only manage the one run.
Still 1-0, the Aces loaded the bases off Galle with one out in the third, but the Ole Miss product got a popup to second and a groundout to third to keep the Aces off the board and protect Bethesda’s narrow lead.
The Green and White added two runs in the fifth and one run in the sixth, thanks to a two-run single from Cunningham and a Guerrero run when Dixon Williams (East Carolina) grounded into a double play with the bases loaded. Zeb Ruddell’s (LSU) RBI double in the eighth inning drove in Schiavone for Bethesda’s fifth and final run.
While the team has enjoyed each win this week, it was clear upon the final out that this one meant a lot as the Big Train push for another championship.
The Big Train return to Shirley Povich Field for a five-game homestand beginning on Friday, June 16 against the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts at 7 p.m.
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