Big Train drops pitching duel to Giants, 3-1

by Rekha Leonard

Landon Franklin (Esther Frances)


GAITHERSBURG, Md. — The Bethesda Big Train dropped a close contest to the Gaithersburg Giants on Monday at Criswell Automotive Field. The Big Train scored first, but the pitching duel ultimately went in the Giants’ favor, 3-1.

Right fielder Chris Diaz (Tulane) started the game off with a bang, hitting a leadoff triple. Center fielder Andrew Williamson (Central Florida) brought Diaz home with a sacrifice fly to give the Big Train the first run of the game. Diaz’s bat remained hot throughout the night as he added on two singles later in the game. 

“I was just trying to be aggressive and trust myself,” Diaz said. “Whatever happens on this field is gonna happen for a reason, so I was just trying to stick to my approach and do my thing.”

The Giants responded quickly to the Big Train’s early lead, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning and added an insurance run in the fourth. Diaz was impressive in the field as well as at the plate, making a diving catch and throwing to first for a double play to end the fourth inning.

“I saw the ball in the air, and I knew there was a man on first and second,” Diaz said. “I knew once I had it, I had to get up real fast and try and get the guy out because I knew I was gonna catch that ball, so I was just trying to make the double play happen.”

After the fourth inning, the Big Train's relief pitchers locked down the Giants, keeping them scoreless for the rest of the game. Aden Ritenour (Shepherd) pitched two scoreless innings. Then, Kevin Scully (James Madison) and Jack Robinson (Roanoke) pitched the eighth and ninth inning, respectively, allowing no hits and no runs. Robinson recorded two strikeouts.

“(The pitchers) were good, kept us in the game, and did exactly what we needed,” manager Sal Colangelo said. “We just came up a little short.”

Although the Big Train batters couldn’t get enough going to put any more runs on the board, three singles in the sixth inning and a standup double from Williamson in the eighth were promising signs.

“To win games against good teams you gotta do the little things, you have to catch the ball, you gotta be just perfect,” Colangelo said. “When you have the opportunity to score some runs, you gotta score some runs, and we just didn't do that. … But that's okay. They're playing well. We'll get it going.”

The Big Train’s next game is Thursday on the road versus the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts with first pitch at 7 p.m. Before that, catch the Big Train’s nine All-Stars Tuesday night in Olney at the Cal Ripken Sr. League All-Star Game. Read more about the Big Train All-Stars here ahead of the game.