Road Walk-off? Bishop Scores on Wild Pitch as Big Train Top Grays 3-2

by Jack McGuire


Washington, DC -- In the first game of a doubleheader, the Bethesda Big Train (17-6) walked-off the D.C Grays (9-17) 3-2 in extra innings. After reaching base on a lead-off double to start the eighth, Casey Bishop (Towson) came home to score on a wild pitch by Grays reliever Kai Cummings.

“We hit some balls hard today, but we couldn’t get runs across,” Bishop said. “Luckily, we got one in that last inning.”


A bizarre set of circumstances contextualized the Big Train walkoff. Despite playing at Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, the Grays' home field, the Big Train had home field advantage for the first game of the doubleheader as a result of that game being a rescheduled rainout initially slated for Povich Field. Moreover, the extra innings walkoff came in the eighth inning, as Cal Ripken Senior League doubleheader games are only seven innings long. 


Ripken League all-star Jesse Gutierrez (San Jose State) pitched very well in his start for Bethesda. Gutierrez allowed just one earned run and his six innings pitched is the longest outing by a Big Train starter this season. He allowed five hits, no walks, and struck out two. His start was also interrupted by a one hour rain/lightning delay that came after the first inning, but Gutierrez did not let the delay affect him, earning the admiration of his teammates.


“Jesse always does a good job throwing strikes,” Bishop said. “It’s nice playing behind him, always pounding the zone.”


The Grays opened the scoring in the top of the second. Grays’ right fielder Henry Zipay beat out a two-out infield single, allowing Parker Goff, who reached second on a single and an error, to score from third, giving D.C. a 1-0 lead. 


In the top of the fourth, Zipay added his second RBI single of the game and extended the Grays lead to 2-0. The Grays could have tacked on more runs in the inning, but Bethesda shortstop Bishop made a sliding stop to his right to end the threat with runners at second and third. Bishop had missed the last couple of weeks while recovering from an injury, and he immediately made an impact with both the bat and glove.


“I've been, you know, waiting to come back,” Bishop said. “A lot of these guys are probably tired so it's nice to hopefully give them a break and just continue to play good.”


The Green and White began to fight back in the bottom of the fourth. After hitting a single to center, Dixon Williams (East Carolina) stole second and third, and after Grays catcher Goff made a throwing error trying to catch Williams at third, the East Carolina product came home to make the score 2-1. 


Bethesda tied the game at two one inning later. Zeb Ruddell (LSU) clobbered a ball to right field for his second home run of the year. Ruddell hit his home run 414 feet with an exit velocity of 105 MPH. It was one of the hardest hit balls by a Big Train hitter this season and, combined with strong relief pitching, gave the Big Train a chance to win it in the later innings.


The game stayed scoreless until the bottom of the eighth inning when the Big Train walked the game off. Max Martzolf (Florida Atlantic) was the winning pitcher for Bethesda, striking out three in two scoreless innings in relief of Gutierrez..  


The Big Train’s second game against the Grays is set to start at 7:55 at Nationals Youth Academy. After playing as the home team in the first game, Bethesda will shift to being the away team in game two.