The Bethesda Big Train surrendered 5 runs in the final 3 innings of Thursday night's game against the Baltimore Dodgers, ultimately falling by a score of 6-5.
The Big Train carried a 4-1 lead into the 7th inning, only for the Dodgers to respond with 3 runs on 3 hits to tie the game. Then, after the Big Train retook the lead with a run in the bottom of the 8th, the Dodgers took advantage of some batted ball luck in the 9th to take a lead they would not relinquish. Four straight Dodgers batters reached base on weak grounders or pop flys just out of the infield, poorly hit balls that typically result in easy putouts.
"In that last inning, they scored two and we made great pitches," said manager Sal Colangelo. "Four batters in a row, sawed off. Bloopers, Texas Leaguers, and they dropped in. That's just the nature of the game."
The Dodgers' 7th inning surge, however, was more the result of questionable decision-making on the part of Big Train defenders. Two poor fielder's choices on ground balls and an overthrow allowed Dodgers batters to reach safely, and lead to 3 runs crossing the plate.
"In Little League you learn, 'where are you gonna go on the next play? What are you gonna do with the ball when you get it?'" Colangelo said. "We just acted surprised when the ball came to us, and we didn't know what to do with it."
The loss overshadowed what was another strong outing from Big Train starting pitcher Logan Gilbert (Stetson). Gilbert tossed a solid 5 innings of 1-run ball, striking out 6. He set the tone early by striking out the side in the 1st inning after a leadoff single, and hardly looked back.
Offensively, outfielder Sean Labsan (Florida Atlantic) had a very good night at the plate. Labsan went 2-4, including a towering double to deep left-center in the 6th inning that drove home 2 runs. Clayton Daniel (Jacksonville State) came up with a clutch single to center in the 8th inning with 2 outs and men on1st and 3rd base, scoring a run that seemed to be the game-winner, with the Big Train up 5-4. The Dodgers, however, thought differently.
"On another day the broken bats don't drop," said Colangelo. "It's just a tough break, you know. Our guys battled, and we came up just short."
The Big Train will hope for a better result on Friday as they take on the D.C. Grays in a doubleheader.
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