Offensive explosion propels Big Train to 7-3 win over Giants

by Ian Domeika

                 Max Martzolf striking out a Gaithersburg batter. (Esther Frances)

Box Score

ROCKVILLE, Md. — The Big Train bats were hot right out of the gate Saturday night, as a four-run first inning was enough to take down the Gaithersburg Giants. The Big Train ultimately won by a score of 7-3.

All nine batters stepped to the plate in the first inning, working surgically with two early outs on the board. Sophomore Emilio Gonzalez (Florida Atlantic) hit an RBI double to open the first-inning lead.

“A few guys got out; Luke [Vaughn] was able to get something going. He has a good at-bat, and I follow with a double. Like I said before, all we need to get going is one guy to step up and be a dog, and the rest just flows from there,” said Gonzalez.

While the offense opened up hot, it was the Big Train pitching that held the lead as the bats went quiet in the middle of the game. Reliever Jonathan Stevens (Alabama) was called in the fifth inning, and pitched a shutout, only allowing one hit with four strikeouts.

“It was nice for them to come in and be extended a little bit. Normally it’s a one-inning game, or closing and saving. But we needed to get them a few more and obviously, we are getting to the latter part of the summer, and they came in and did a really nice job,” said pitching coach Craig Lopez.

As the game winded down to the final few innings, the Big Train held a slight two-run lead. But as the top of the order came up, Andrew Williamson extended the Big Train lead with a 363-foot home run well over the right field wall.

After the home run, the Big Train once again called on their closer Max Martzolf (Florida Atlantic) to bring home the victory, and he did just that, striking out six batters with no hits allowed.

“I felt good, the mindset was just attack early then mix it up with breaking balls. And once I had them guessing, they didn’t know what was coming. So I just have to get ahead on that fastball and then mix in the breakers and ultimately tie them up with fastballs inside,” said Martzolf.

The win for the Big Train brings them a game closer to first place in the North division, trailing only Gaithersburg. Coach Lopez is very confident that Bethesda learned a lot from this victory.

“Coach [Colangelo] talked to them today about believing, you know Gaithersburg had our number, Cropdusters had our number, so to be able to have a tough game like last night and come back tonight and stick through it and believe in the process and the journey.”

The Big Train will look to start another win streak on a special Sunday morning game against the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts. The first pitch is scheduled for 11:00 A.M.


Notes: 506 fans attended the first ever Big Train Card Set giveaway with 500 card sets given out by Mid-Atlantic Collectibles…. Big Train players signed cards prior to the game…. Ryan McCormick of Mid-Atlantic Collectibles and Jen Farkus of our game sponsor MoCo360 (Bethesda Magazine and Bethesda Beat) participated in the pre-game first pitch ceremony…. It was Montgomery County Sports Hall of Fame Night with Trish Heffelfinger receiving a Big Train Community Hero award for her leadership in establishing the Maryland SoccerPlex and the Montgomery County Sports Hall of Fame…. Three Hall of Famers came out to help honor Trish Heffelfinger — Bob Milloy, the winningest football coach in Maryland high school history with 405 career wins; Springbrook High School’s Shawn Springs who played 13 seasons in the NFL; and Paint Branch High School’s Tracy Jackson who played in the NBA.