Big Train escapes with a playoff victory

 

With its title defense at stake Saturday night the host Bethesda Big Train scored two eighth inning runs at Shirley Povich Field to earn a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Alexandria Aces and advance past the first round of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League playoffs.

After Aces starter Colin Milon stifled a typically potent Bethesda offense for the game’s initial six innings the three-time defending league champion Big Train found themselves in 2-1 hole in the single-elimination first round of the playoffs.

A scoreless seventh left the Aces six outs away from a monumental postseason victory before Big Train’s season saving rally unfolded.

Center fielder Hunter Renfroe lead off the bottom of the eighth for the Big Train by reaching base on an error by Alexandria shortstop Keith Picconi and then advanced to second on an error by catcher Nick Octavi.  Aces reliever Ronny Glenn responded by striking out Colin Kish, but had no such luck against Bethesda left fielder Avondre Bollar

Bollar singled scoring Renfroe, bringing up Cole Norton who has been hitless in his previous nine at-bats, including an 0-3 performance Saturday Night leading up to his eighth inning plate appearance. Norton busted out of his slump by delivering an RBI double, which put Bethesda up 3-2 and would prove to be the game-winning hit.

Norton’s heroics were only made possible by the dominance of Big Train reliever Ethan Miller. After starter Ryan Doran gave up two runs over an admirable six innings for Bethesda, Miller hurled three perfect innings to end the game. Miller’s dominance held the Alexandria lead to a single run during the seventh and eighth innings and once the Norton put the Big Train ahead the big right-hander forcefully shut the door in the ninth.

After surviving Saturday night’s thriller the Big Train advance to the second round of the playoffs, which becomes double elimination. Bethesda travels to face the Baltimore Redbirds tomorrow night, seeking to extend their postseason and become the first team in league history to capture four consecutive league titles.

The Big Train takes on the Baltimore Redbirds, who finished 2nd in the regular season, for the second round of the playoffs at 6PM Sunday July 29 at the Redbird's home field at the Carlo Crispino Stadium at Calvert Hall High School - 8102 Lasalle Road Towson, MD. Meanwhile, the league leading Rockville Express (30-11 in the regular season) take on the 4th place Vienna River Dogs under the new lights at Knights Field on the Montgomery College Campus in Rockville. The Rockville Express game is at 7PM Sunday July 29. For more information seehttp://www.calripkenleague.org/view/calripkenleague

Aaron Kasinitz

Vox Sports

@AaronKazreports

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