The Bethesda Big Train opened up its 2016 campaign with an opening day win for the third straight season. This year’s victory came at the expense of the D.C. Grays, in a 13-1 blowout.
Grays starting pitcher Simon Rosenblum-Larson threw two three-up, three-down innings to start the game and appeared to be on his way to a third when Jimmy Monaghan (Campbell) reached base on a throwing error. Peyton Sorrels (Maryland) Garrett Kueber (Moorpark) then reached base via a walk and single respectively to load the bases for left fielder Clayton Daniel (Jacksonville State).
Daniel cleared the bases with a double to the left-center field. He then scored on an RBI groundout from third baseman Allen Smoot (San Francisco).
“I just tried to get something up in the zone, saw something up and fortunately enough it fell,” Daniel said. “I thought I hit pretty well today.”
Daniel collected two hits in four at-bats and also collected a walk. He scored twice and knocked in five RBIs.
Kueber, who led off one batter in front of Daniel, reached base in four of his five plate appearances, scoring three times.
“[Kueber] at the top of the lineup, getting on base a lot really helps,” Daniel said. “Because from a hitting standpoint you got to think [the pitcher] is going to throw more fastballs with him on the bag, so he doesn’t try to steal. You’re going to get a lot more mistakes with a man on.”
Manager Sal Colangelo’s pitching staff of starting pitcher Sean Barry (San Diego) and relievers Matt Marsili (James Madison) and Mack Meyer (San Francisco) allowed the offense to keep their rhythm at the plate with short inning after short inning. The three pitchers faced the minimum of three batters in six innings in their four-hit performance.
“1-2-3 inning after 1-2-3 inning, it was awesome,” Daniel said. “They were just mowing them down over there, pitching was great tonight.”
Barry retired the first 10 batters he faced, striking out five of them. His arm then appeared to become tired as he allowed six of the next 10 Grays to reach base, only one via a base hit, the only hit he allowed in his 4 ⅔ innings of work.
“Sean hasn't started all year, we were hoping to keep a low pitch count … to build him up,” Colangelo said. “It’s not a sprint its a marathon, so we want to build his endurance and be ready to go.”
Marsili, Barry’s replacement, was virtually unhittable. He allowed one hit and struck out seven of the 10 batters he faced. Marsili even struck out six straight during a span which stretched from the fifth inning into the seventh.
“When you pound the zone, you’re around the zone and you’re throwing two, three or four pitches for strikes and you mix it up, at any level, those are the guys that are very successful and [Marsili] did a tremendous job at that,” Colangelo said.
“Not a bad start, this team’s unique, I can already tell,” he continued. “They really get it, as far as doing the little things and they’re very very smart, baseball savvy with the little things … We’re short-staffed on the mound, we only have nine position players so we’re just trying to get things going.”
The Big Train play again Wednesday night at the Herndon Braves. The game is slated for a 7 p.m. start time.
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