T-Bolts 2014 Season Now In The Record Books
By Gary Sarnoff
July 26, 2014, Glen Burnie, Maryland. Run, Robert, Run! (with apologies to John Updike). This afternoon at Bachman Field in Glen Burnie, Maryland, Robert Lucido (Amherst College) reached base in all five plate appearances, smacked three hits, walked, and score twice. And he stole four bases! He also scampered all the way from first to third on a wild pitch. However, the brilliant performance by the T-Bolts All-Star catcher, it wasn’t enough to lead the T-Bolts to victory in their final game of the season. A long fly ball with the bases loaded scored the tie-breaking run in a bottom of the ninth for a walk-off 5-4 win for the Orioles. It was another frustrating loss for the Thunderbolts in what was a tough-luck 2014 season.
Following the game, the 2014 Thunderbolts huddled to hear head coach Doug Remer’s final speech of the season. The second-year head coach thanked his players for their effort throughout the summer and wished them the best in their future endeavors. After the brief meeting adjourned, the players shook hands and some embraced. It was a rather touching moment. For with the exception of a few, these young athletes will never be teammates again. “Let’s keep in touch, “one collegian said to another.” “I will be sure to email you,” another youngster said.
And the 2014 version of the Thunderbolts will now go into the record books. Their season, which looked promising when the flowers were blooming in the late spring, concluded with a disappointing thirteen wins – the same amount as last season.
Although 2014 was a tough season, let’s look at the positives, beginning with the pitching:
All-Star Brandon Holsworth (Gallaudet University) won 3, saved one game, and posted the ninth best ERA in the league (2.16); Michael Austin (Bethune-Cookman University), one of the hardest workers in the league, finished in the top 15 in ERA (2.43) and struck out 25 batters in 33 innings; Greg Jakusik (Stevens Institute of Technology) won two games, struck out 28 in forty-five innings, with a respectable 2.78 ERA; Garret Perason (Virginia Commonwealth University) led the T-Bolts staff with 31 strikeouts to average a whiff per inning. He allowed just 21 hits in 31 innings; team closer Connor Tagg (Case Western) won 3, saved 2, and struck out 24 in 25 innings; Robert Galligan (university of Maryland), making is only starting assignment of the season this afternoon, finished the summer on a high by winning one, saving one, striking out 16 and walking only three in his final 16 innings of the season. He also allowed only three earned runs for a ERA of 1.69 in those 16 innings; Danny O’Donnell (Galluadet University), although pitched less than hoped, won two games and finished with a 3.04 ERA; Jordan Church (Sam Houston) won a game and struck 6 in four innings in his final appearance of the season; Josh Grant (Pace University) provided solid starting and relief work for the T-Bolts during the campaign as well.
Dominick Zaher (Fisher College) led the team in hitting (.291) and RBI (20).; Jake Taylor (Flagler University), who watched today’s game from the dugout due to a sore shoulder, finished his three-year T-Bolts career with a .268 lifetime batting average, 18 home runs, and 69 RBI. This season, he finished with a CRCBL career high .285 batting average; All-Star catcher Robert Lucido made three hits today. He led the league in walks this season (33) and finished fourth in runs (28) and stolen bases (21). He was also first among all catchers in putouts and assists, and retried many would-be base stealers with his rocket arm; Jason Baytop Jr. (St. Augustine’s) got off to a great start, and was tops in the league in homers for several days before cooling off. He finished with a .266 batting average, hit four home runs, scored twenty-one runs and drove home sixteen; Kyle Norman (University of San Francisco) hit .304 in his last eight games of the season, stole eight bases, covered a lot of ground in the outfield, and will always be remembered for his game-saving catch in a 3-0 win at Herndon; Ben Ruditys’ (Quinnipiac University) seven-game hitting streak came to an end today, however, during his streak he went 8-for-20 for a .400 batting average; Carson Kenney (Trinity College), two hits today, hit safely in nine of his last 11 games and made 12 hits in his last 36 at bats of the season; All-Star Clay Keranen (Liberty University), who began the summer a week after the first game of the season, finished in the top ten in putouts and assists among all shortstops while displaying one of the quickest throwing releases in the league and won one game with a late inning hit. Michael Flax drove home eleven runs and handled 12 of his 13 fielding chances after being pressed into service at shortstop for three games at the tail-end of the season; Pat Hisle (University of Maryland) showed great range as a middle infielder and hit .250 in the month of July; hard-working Robert Clingman (Marshall University) served as a value to the team as the player who warmed up the hurlers, and as a catcher, pitcher and designated hitter; Tyler Coleman (Montgomery College) hit .300 with 6 RBI in just ten games and made one of the best catches of the season in the season opener at Gaithersburg.
And finally, the Thunderbolts fans deserve the final word of recognition for the 2014 season, as it is an honor to report that the turnstile at Montgomery Blair Stadium was clicked over 3,000 times to give the Silver Spring-Takoma community the second highest attendance in the CRCBL. Nice work, T-Bolts fans, for your outstanding support for your team.
It has been my pleasure to be a part of the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts, and to be associated with the best fans in the Cal Ripken Sr. League.
We can now call it a season.
Editor’s Note: Thanks Gary Sarnoff for the wonderful game summaries. The pleasure has been our’s.
Thunderbolts squander 4-run lead in a 2-run loss to Grays
By Gary Sarnoff
July 25, 2014, Silver Spring, Maryland. Brandon Holsworth (Gallaudet) appeared to be in good position for his fourth win of the season when he departed after disposing of the DC Grays in the top of the fifth, and with the T-Bolts owning a 4-0 lead. What would follow would be like a movie out of a horror movie, concluding with a 10-8 Thunderbolts defeat before a fan appreciation evening crowd of nearly 300 at Montgomery Blair Stadium.
Life was fun for the Thunderbolts when Holsworth was in the game. Not only did the All-Star pitcher blank the opposition through the first five innings, he had reached base two times and scored a run to help pave the way to a 5-0 advantage. The excitement began in the bottom of second when Carson Kenney (Trinity College) singled and Brian Ruditys (Quinnipiac) doubled and Michael Flax (LaSalle) belted a long drive into right-centerfield. Kenney and Ruditys easily scored on the hit as Flax touched second base and kept on running. He was out at third, but nobody complained, especially when Holsworth (batting eighth in tonight’s batting order) followed with a single down the leftfield line. Robert Lucido (Amherst College) also came through with a single and Jason Baytop (St. Augustine’s) made it six straight hits with another one-shot to score Holsworth with the third run of the inning.
In the T-Bolts fourth, Baytop reached base for the third consecutive time, stole second, moved to third on a groundout, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Dominick Zaher (Fisher College) to make it 4-0. Holsworth then proceeded to retire the Grays in order in the top of the fifth. At that point, the score was 4-0 in favor of the Thunderbolts, and all seemed fine at Montgomery Blair Stadium.
With Holsworth now out of the game, the Grays, who were averaging over 7 runs in their last six games prior to tonight, began to rally. They scored two runs in their sixth at bat to cut the lead in half, but more was to come.
The Grays put runners on first and second with one out in the top of the seventh. Then a turning point came about when a groundball back to the pitcher looked as if a routine force play at second was in store for the second out of the inning. However, the complexion of the game changed when the hurler’s throw sailed into centerfield. A run was able to score on the errant throw to cut the lead to 4-3. Another error later in the inning helped complete a four-run rally and a reversal of fortunes that gave the Grays a 6-4 lead.
One inning later, the Grays were at it again. With runners on first and second, Jack Graham of Dartmouth College spanked a long drive into the gap in right-centerfield for a two-run double to extend the Grays lead to 8-4. The next batter, Joe Tietjen, doubled down the leftfield line. Graham rounded third and scored to cap a three-run inning.
Meanwhile, the T-Bolts, who made four runs on eleven hits through the first four innings, produced just one hit from the bottom of the fifth through the seventh. Robert Lucido led off the T-Bolts eighth with his second hit of the contest. Baytop followed with an infield hit and Clay Keranen (Liberty University) reached on an error to load the bases with nobody out. Domick Zaher then punched a hit into leftfield to score Lucido and Baytop. Keranen took third, drew the throw on the play to allow Zaher to reach second base. Daniel Heleine (University of West Virginia) followed with hit down the leftfield line to score Keranen and Zaher. Heleine attempted to take second base on the hit, but was cut down on a good throw from the outfield. Nevertheless, the Thunderbolts trailed by just one with one inning to play.
The Grays added an insurance run in the top of the ninth for a 10-8 lead, and that is how it ended.
Notes: Jake Taylor (Flagler University) left the game in the seventh inning with a shoulder injury. Speaking of Taylor, he went 3-for-4 tonight in his final home game of his fine CRCBL career. Jason Baytop also was 3-for-4 tonight. CRCBL 2014 All-Stars Robert Lucido, Jr., (two hits tonight), Clay Keranen, and Brandon Holsworth also played their final home game of their CRCBL career. Michael Flax, tonight’s starting shortstop for the Thunderbolts, handed all seven of his total chances in the field. Tonight’s crowd of 283 was the largest of the season at Montgomery Blair. One more game remains in the T-Bolts season: they are in action on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 at Bachman Field in Glen Burnie. Their opponent will be the Youse’s Orioles, who must win in order to make the playoffs.
Thunderbolts Blanked at Vienna
By Gary Sarnoff
July 24, 2014, Vienna, Virginia. The Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts are fighting for ninth place while their opponent this evening, the Vienna River Dogs, are in contention of the sixth and final playoff spot. The River Dogs, who currently trail the Braves by only a half game for the final playoff spot, kept their post-season hopes alive with a 6-0 win this evening over our Thunderbolts. The T-Bolts, now 13-25 for the season, made just four total hits tonight while being shutout for the second time this season.
With tonight’s loss, the T-Bolts are currently tied with the Baltimore Dodgers and DC Grays for ninth place. The Thunderbolts will square off against the Grays tomorrow evening at Montgomery Blair Stadium in what will be the final home game of the 2014 season. Game time is 7:00. On Saturday afternoon, the T-Bolts will travel to Glen Burnie to meet the Youse’s Orioles for the final game of the season.
Brian Ruditys (Quinnipiac), Antonio Pino (Montgomery College), Carson Kenney (Trinity College), and Pat Hisle (University of Maryland) accounted for the four total T-Bolts hits tonight. The Silver Spring-Takoma defense turned an around-the-horn double play: Hisle to Pino to Taylor, and executed a 4-6-3 twin killing. Starting pitcher Garrett Pearson (VCU) retired six of the first seven batters he faced. That was about all the T-Bolts cheering section had to cheer about this evening at Vienna.
Carson Kenney began the top of the third with a single. The next batter, Kyle Norman, was retired, but Hisle followed with what appeared to be a single to centerfield. Unsure if the ball would be caught or fall for a hit, Kenney hesitated on the base paths. He then got a slow jump when realizing the result was a hit, then slid into second base, but was too late. What could have been first and second with only one out became a runner on first with two down. When the next batter struck out, the inning was over.
In the bottom of the inning, Pearson surrendered a hit and issued a walk with nobody out. The third batter of the inning bunted in an attempt to sacrifice. Pearson fielded the ball, threw to first, but the runner beat the throw to load the bases with still nobody out. Pearson, who had control problems this evening, walked another batter to force in the first run of the game. The next hitter hit one back at Pearson, who got his glove on the ball. Had he been able to hang on, he would have had a force at the plate, or even better, a double play. Instead, the ball bounced away from him. Second baseman Anthony Pino fielded the ball, and with only one play, he threw to first for the out. A run scored on the play to make it a 2-0 game. Pearson retired the next two batters to end the inning. In the next inning the River Dogs scored another one on a bases loaded single for a 4-0 lead. They loaded the bases again in the fifth inning, and that was all for Pearson.
Danny O’Donnell entered the game and walked the first batter he faced to force in another run. One inning later, back-to-back hits by the River Dogs capped the scoring.
T-Bolts Hang On, Defeat Gaithersburg 5-4
By Gary Sarnoff
July 23, 2014, Silver Spring, Maryland.
The Silver Spring-Takoma Boys of Summer seem to like the spoiler role. Tonight, before the second largest home crowd of the season, the Thunderbolts snapped the Gaithersburg Giants four-game winning-streak and put a hold on the high-flying Giants drive to the playoffs with a 5-4 victory. The win speaks a lot for the character of the T-Bolts players. The fact that they played to win proves that they have no intentions on coasting through the final week of the season.
The Thunderbolts offense, disappointing during the past few days, went to work in their first at bat. Robert Lucido (Amherst College) began the inning with a base hit. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Keranen, advanced to third on an infield hit by Dominick Zaher, and scored on an error. Lucido also reached base to help spark the T-Bolts onslaught in the bottom of the third by following a walk to Michael Flax with another single. Once again, Clay Keranen (Liberty University) successfully sacrificed to move the runners into scoring position. Dominick Zaher (Fisher College) followed with his second consecutive hit, a double, to score Flax and Lucido. Jake Taylor (Flagler University) singled to score Zaher for a 4-0 lead.
The Giants scored one against T-Bolts starting pitcher Jordan Church in the top of the fourth. The T-Bolts responded by scoring one in their half when Kyle Norman (University of San Francisco) and Carson Kenny (Trinity College) singled, advance on a sacrifice by Anthony Pino (Fisher College), and Norman was able to score on a sacrifice fly by Michael Flax (LaSalle) to make it 4-1.
Jordan Church (Sam Houston University) and the Thunderbolts appeared to be in control at this point, especially Church, who had struck out six Giants in the first four innings. But in the top of the fifth the Gaithersburg bats came to life, prompting Coach Remer to make a pitching change. He called on relief specialist Connor Tagg (Case Western), who was greeted with a two-run double by Connor Macalla of the University of Texas. Perhaps rattled a bit by the two-run hit, Tagg walked the next batter, and then an error allowed Macalla to tally to cut the T-Bolt to 5-4.
After Tagg retired the first batter in the sixth, Colin McGowen singled to become the first base Giants runner since the fifth inning. This brought up Macalla, and Remer played his hand by calling on Robert Galligan (University of Maryland), who has looked very good in his last three appearances. Sir Galligan retired Macalla on an infield pop out to Taylor and struck out the next better to end the inning.
Galligan sent the Giants down in order in the top of the eighth. In the top of the ninth, Remer went with Brandon Holsworth (Gallaudet), who started by striking out the first batter on four pitches and then got two strikes by the second batter. But that batter singled to make things nerve-racking. The next batter grounded to third for out number two, the runner on first able to advance to second base on the play.
Now things were interesting. A runner on second, the potential go ahead at the plate and Macalla on deck. But as it turned out, Macalla would not get his chance to play the hero role. The runner on second tried a delayed steal. Holsworth threw to third baseman Keranen, who then ran the runner back to second before throwing to second baseman Anthony Pino.
Pino applied the tag on the runner to end the game.
Notes: T-Bolts win! T-Bolts win! T-Bolts win! The T-Bolts will get the chance to play the spoiler role tomorrow night at Vienna. The Thunderbolts return home on Friday to play the DC Grays in the final home game of the 2014 season. Brandon Holsworth is scheduled to start the Friday game. Tonight’s crowd of 222 was the second largest of the season at Montgomery Blair. Robert Galligan’s stats in his last four games: 9 IP, 6 hits, 1 ER, 13 K, 2 W, one win, one save, and a 1.00 ERA. A great day to be a T-Bolts catcher: Robert Lucido and Carson Kenney had two hits apiece. Dominick Zaher also had two hits and drove in 2 runs, and Jake Taylor also finished with 2 RBI. Michael Flax, tonight’s starting shortstop, caught a pop fly. That was his one and only fielding chance of the game.
Thunderbolts lose to Orioles, 4-1
By Gary Sarnoff
July 22, 2014, Silver Spring, Maryland. If the Cal Ripken Sr League had a yearly award for most courageous player, Greg Jakusik (Stevens Institute of Technology) would be a strong candidate, based on his outing this evening at Montgomery Blair Stadium. The Thunderbolts southpaw threw 120 pitches in 6 2/3 innings pitched and did not allow a single earned run, yet he lost the decision to the Youse’s Orioles, 4-1. It was a shame that Jakusik did not win. He had pitched his heart out but received little support from his teammates, who had stranded twelve on the bases and committed five errors.
The Thunderbolts first missed offensive opportunity happened in the bottom of the second. Jason Baytop Jr. (St. Augustine’s) and Antonio Pino (Montgomery College) both singled to put runners on first and second. Brian Ruditys (Quinnipiac) then stepped to the plate with an RBI hit on his mind when Baytop wondered off the second base bag in a delayed steal attempt. The O’s Pitcher saw what Baytop was up to and threw to the third baseman who applied the tag to foil the plan. As luck would have it, Ruditys followed by grounding a solid hit through the middle that would have scored Baytop from second base. There was still hope, as Ruditys hit put runners on first and second for Carson Kenney, however, the T-Bolts catcher popped out to short to end the rally that could’ve been.
The Orioles, currently in eighth place and still in the playoff hunt, scored one in the top of the fourth with the help of a T-Bolts error. Garrett Venner, on second base after smacking a double, decided to try his luck with a delayed seal try. Jakusik caught him in the act and then threw to third. Knowing his secret had been revealed, Venner began to backtrack to second base until he saw the T-Bolts hurler’s throw sail over third base Pat Hisle. That was enough for Venner to advance to third and home for an unearned run.
The next batter walked, stole second, and then tried for home on a hit into left field. Leftfielder Dominick Zaher (Fisher College) fielded the ball and fired to the ball to catcher Carson Kenney (Trinity College), who caught the ball on a third hop, lunged toward the runner to make the tag for the out. The O’s base runner was none-to-happy about the call, but the umpire insisted that he was out, and maybe added the fact that after the night before at Rockville the T-Bolts were due for a call on a close play.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Thunderbolts broke through for a run to tie the score. After two were out, Baytop singled and stole second. Jake Taylor (Flagler University) followed with a hit to bring Baytop home with the tying run. The T-bolts inning was extended when an error and walk loaded the bases. Once again, all three runners were left on the base.
In the top of the seventh, with Jakusik now over the one-hundred total pitch count, O’s shortstop Matt Davis drew a one-out walk, but quickly became the second out of the inning when he was caught leaning by Jakusik for the second out of the inning. One minute later, it appeared that the inning would end on a slow roller; and as luck would have it, the infielder booted it to extend the inning.
This brought up former Thunderbolts All-Star and the 2014 home-run derby champ Chris Bzozowski, and that meant trouble. Bzozowski swung hard at a pitch to his liking and sent the ball into deep left-centerfield. Baytop ran back, but wasn’t even close. The ball fell for a hit, and by the time the ball was sent back to the infield, Bzozokaki was on second base with a RBI double for a 2-1 Orioles lead. The inning went from bad to worse when the next batter walked and the batter after him connected and drove one into deep right field. Right fielder Biran Ruditys run back and to his right, reached out, and barely missed the ball. Both runners were able to score for a 4-1 Orioles lead.
That was all for tough-lucked Mr, Jakusik. Connor Tagg (Case Western) came on and retired the next four Orioles. Jake Taylor pitched the ninth-inning, and like Tagg, he blanked the O’s. This left it up to the T-Bolts hitters. They loaded the bases in the last of the eighth when Jake Taylor doubled for his second hit of the game and pinch-hitter Daniel Heleine and Carson Kenney both walked. But the next two batters were unable produce the vital hit.
Notes: Jake Taylor, 2-for-4 at the plate today, is now 5 for his last 11. The Thunderbolts host the Gaithersburg Giants on Wednesday night. Game time is 7:00.
Four Run Fifth Sends T-Bolts to Defeat
By Gary Sarnoff
July 21, 2014, Rockville, Maryland. Four runs in the bottom of the fourth erased a 2-1 Thunderbolts lead and paved the way to a 5-2 loss for our T-Bolts this evening at Montgomery College. With five games remaining and one game away from post-season elimination, the Thunderbolts will have to accept the role of spoiler.
The playoff-bound Rockville Express got a good performance from starting pitcher Kyle Schneider, who struck out seven in seven innings pitched, and relief pitcher Juan Cortina. The Express were also able to get the hits when most needed and were aided by a few Thunderbolts misplays. Their cause this evening was also boosted by getting close calls from the umpires.
The first questionable call this evening led to the first run of the game. With runners on first and third and two outs in the bottom of the third, T-Bolts starting pitcher Danny O’Donnell (Galluadet) caught the Express base runners in the act of a double steal attempt. He stepped off the mound and readied himself to make a throw to second base when the word “Balk!” was heard loud and clear from multiple voices in the Express’ dugout. The third base umpire responded by upholding the call from the Express’s bench. Head Coach Doug Remer and pitching coach Wade Newman immediately stormed out of the dugout to protest. The umpire listened to Remer’s case, but never considered changing his ruling. The runner on third was permitted to cross home to give the home team a 1-0 lead.
The Thunderbolts rallied for two in the next inning to take a 2-1 lead. Brian Ruditys (Quinnipiac) led off with a single. Jake Taylor (Flagler) followed with a hard-hit grounder up the middle. The pitcher threw up his glove hand and managed to slow the ball down without losing his hand in the process. The shortstop was able to field the ball in front of the second base bag, handled it like a hot potato, and dropped it for what should have been ruled a hit (the ruling was an error on the play). This put runners on first and second with nobody out. Michael Flax (LaSalle) followed with a walk to load the bases for Kyle Norman (University of San Francisco), who has been swinging a hot bat of late. Norman came through with a single over the second baseman to score Ruditys and Taylor. Flax headed to third, but the ball was there long before he was. The T-Bolts second-sacker responded by putting on the breaks and retreating to second base with the third baseman in pursuit. After the third baseman threw the ball to the second baseman, Flax made another jackrabbit stop, did an about-face, and heading toward third base, where he appeared to have a free path to third since the base had been left unguarded. An Express fielder quickly ran toward the base, slowed up to take a throw from the second baseman, then reached down in an attempt to tag Flax. It is unlikely that the fielder could have made the tag in time, yet the third base umpire ruled that he had. Remer, coaching at third base, protested. Once again, the umpire stood by his call.
With a runner on first in the bottom of the fifth, a Rockville batter attempted to bunt the tying run into scoring position. Joshua Grant, who came on to pitch at the start of this inning, fielded the ball. “Two! Two! Two” yelled the T-Bolts bench, meaning for the pitcher to throw to second where he had a play. Grant responded, but threw the ball wide of the mark. Center fielder Jason Baytop Jr. fielded the errant throw, and then threw wildly to third base to allow the runner on first to advance to second base. The next batter was Devon Mahoney, and he upheld his All-Star Game selection by belting one into the gap in right-centerfield to score the two runners for a 3-2 Rockville lead. After the first out of the inning, Dakota Dean pummeled an offering into the far distance of deep right field. The runner on second easily scored, and Dean checked into third with a triple. He would score a few minutes later on a long fly ball to cap the scoring and give the Express a 5-2 lead.
Notes: Jake Taylor and Kyle Norman made two hits apiece tonight, although Jake Taylor really had three. Kyle Norman has 5 hits in his last 12 at bats. Tonight’s third baseman, Jake Taylor, made a gallant effort for a foul along the third base barrier. He crashed into the fence while making the attempt and was shaken up on the play. He was checked put by the Express’ trainer, said he was alright, and finished the game. Shortstop Pat Hisle (University of Maryland) almost caught the ball after it skipped off Taylor’s glove. The Thunderbolts are at home on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Tuesday night they host the Youse’s Orioles at Montgomery Blair Stadium.
Thunderbolts Lose at Herndon, 6-4
By Gary Sarnoff
July 20, 2014, Herdon, Virginia. The 2014 playoff hopes of the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts are heading south: as in Herndon and Vienna. Needing a win against the Braves on Sunday night, the T-Bolts lost, 6-4, to a team that went from a last place finish in 2013 to a playoff contender in 2014.
The Thunderbolts, now 12-22, are five full games away from the last playoff spot with six games to play. Their magic number from elimination is down to three. It is a shame when one thinks back to May – when hopes were high for what felt like a promising season.
The bright spots at Herndon were Robert Galligan (University of Maryland), Jake Taylor (Flagler), Jason Baytop Jr. (St. Augustine’s), Michael Flax (LaSalle), and Pat Hisle University of Maryland). Galligan, who has pitched very well in his last three appearances, struck out six in four innings of relief work; Taylor, who seems to enjoy hitting in this park, blasted his second home run of the season; Jason Baytop, Michael Flax, and Pat Hisle made two hits apiece. Another plus on Sunday was an errorless game by the T-Bolts.
The Braves scored early and often to take a 5-2 lead after four innings. They matched the Thunderbolts one run in the first with a tally against T-Bolts starting pitcher Amauris Santana and then took the lead for good with a two-run second-inning. The Thunderbolts did get one in the top of the fourth, courtesy of a Herndon error, but the Braves responded with another two-spot in the bottom of the inning against relief pitcher Jordan Church.
In the top of the seventh, the T-Bolts rekindled the hope of victory when Taylor blasted his home run to make it a 5-3 ballgame. Galligan followed by keeping the Braves off the board in the bottom of the inning. Needing to make their move in the top of the eighth, the first two T-Bolts batter were retired. Michael Flax followed with a two-out single and Antonio Pino (Montgomery College) coaxed a walk, but a strikeout followed to end the inning.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Braves added one more to extend their lead back to three. The T-Bolts did score one more in the ninth on a RBI single by Baytop, but it was too little too late.
Notes: The Thunderbolts play at Rockville on Monday night. They return home to take on the Orioles on Tuesday night.
T-Bolts Pitchers Whiff 12 in 6-1 Loss to Redbirds
By Gary Sarnoff
July 19, 2014, Baltimore, Maryland. Michael Austin, Danny O’Connell, and Nick Moylan combined for twelve strikeouts tonight at Carlos Crespino Stadium. However, the Thunderbolts batters were less impressive by totaling just four hits in a 6-1 loss to the defending champions – the Baltimore Redbirds.
The Redbirds, winners of four in a row since the All-Star Game, showed the T-Bolts the reading of a championship team. They got the hits when they needed them, got the pitching tonight, and made a few spectacular plays in the field to add to the T-Bolts frustrations.
The CRCBL champs did not wait very long to take the lead. Tyler Ramirez sent Michael Austin’s fourth pitch of the game over the short right field fence. In truth, the round-tripper would have been a double in any other park in the league. The right field line is just 300 feet away from home and the short fence that rings the outfield is about six feet tall. The T-Bolts would have been in good shape had Ramirez’s drive gone for a double. That’s because Austin retired the next six Redbirds in a row and ten of the next eleven.
Redbirds starting pitcher Willie Rios, who had set the league record by striking out 13 Thunderbolts back on July 5th, started where he had left off by retiring the first seven batters he faced. The T-Bolts finally got a base runner, courtesy of a catcher’s interference call. Then Rios yielded his first walk of the game. Robert Lucido followed with a groundout and then Antonio Pino hit the tar out of the ball, but right at the centerfielder for out number three.
In the top of the fourth, the T-Bolts put one on the board to even the score at 1-1. Clay Keranen (Liberty University) produced the first T-Bolts hit of the game and moved to second when Rios was guilty of a balk. Dominick Zaher (Fisher College) followed with a hit over the third base bag. Keranen rounded third and came home for the one and only tally for Silver Spring-Takoma this evening.
The Redbirds took the lead for good with one in their half of the fourth. All-Star outfield JB Woodman singled, stole second, and moved to third on an error. Then with two outs, Evan Andersen hit Austin’s first offering into centerfield for an RBI single and a 2-1 Baltimore lead.
In the fifth, the Redbirds sent eight men to the plate and scored three to break open this game. Austin, by now showing signs of fatigue, sandwiched his only two walks of the game around a base hit to load the bases with one out. It looked as though the T-Bolts might escape trouble when the next batter grounded to first baseman Jake Taylor (Flagler), who fired to Lucido for a force out at the plate. Then the Redbirds showed the mark of a champion when JB Woodman got the hit when most needed: a single to right to score two teammates for a 4- 1 lead. The score quickly became 5-1 when Cody Sherlin followed with another hit.
Both starting pitcher’s departed after the fifth inning. Rios, although not as dominate as the first time around against our T-Bolts, was in line for the win. However, the next Baltimore pitcher, Carson Bryant, did dominate by retiring nine consecutive batters to discourage our T-Bolts batters from mounting a comeback.
Danny O’Donnell (Gallaudet), making his first appearance since contributing to a T-Bolts win over the Redbirds on June 22, toed the rubber to begin the bottom of the sixth. He celebrated his return to action by striking out the side, and then struck out the first two batters in the next inning to make it five strikeouts in a row. He was heading for sixth straight when he had two strikes on the next batter, but then threw three straight balls for a base-on-balls. The next batter, JB Woodman, took a strike, then got hold of one and drove the ball into the gap into the far distance of left-centerfield. The runner on first rounded second and third and beat the relay throw to the plate to record the run and cap the scoring for tonight.
The Thunderbolts finally registered a hit against Bryant when Brian Ruditys (Quinnipiac) hit a broken bat single down the leftfield line. After two were out, Michael Flax (LaSalle) reached base on a bunt single. Pat Hisle grounded out to the third baseman to end the game.
Notes: Michael Austin (Bethune-Cookman) struck out the side in the bottom of the second and recorded six total strikeouts. Danny O’Connell struck out the side in he last of the sixth and recorded five strikeouts. Nick Moylan (University of Delaware) pitched one inning and recorded one strikeout. The Thunderbolts play at Herndon on Sunday night and at Rockville on Monday night. They return home on Tuesday night to take on the Youse’s Orioles. Game time is at 7:00.
T-Bolts Top Aces 4-3 in Extra Innings
By Gary Sarnoff
July 18, 2014, Alexandria, Virginia. Connor Tagg (Case Western Reserve University) has more strikeouts than innings pitched, two saves to his credit, and currently ranks fourth for the league’s mythical Fireman’s Award standings. This afternoon at Alexandria, the T-Bolts’ relief specialist did not allow a hit during the final 2 2/3 innings of the game to record his third win of the season in a Thunderbolts 4-3 victory in extra innings. The win was big for the Thunderbolts, who currently trail Vienna and Gaithersburg by three full games in the race for the final playoff spot.
In what was scheduled as a seven-inning game, the Thunderbolts scored one in the extra inning (top of the eighth) to take a one-run lead. Tagg, who had retired five consecutive batters, including the league’s leading hitter, Josh Swirchak, took the mound in the bottom of the eighth to preserve the lead. He walked the leadoff batter – the first to reach base against Tagg this afternoon. The second batter sacrificed to move the runner to second, and when Zach Kessinger followed by grounding one to the right side of the infield, the runner advanced to third. The next batter was Thomas Bradley, who had blasted a three-base-hit that score two runs to tie the game, 3-3, in the bottom of the fourth. But Tagg struck him out, and that was all she wrote. The Thunderbolts won and won for the second time this season over the highly-rated Alexandria Aces.
This game was a continuation from a game on July 3rd, which went two full innings before the rain came. When the game resumed this afternoon, with the T-Bolts batting in the top of the third, there was no score. In the bottom of the third, the Aces took a 1-0 lead against Brandon Holsworth. In the top of the fifth, the Thunderbolts put three across to take a 3-1 lead. Jake Taylor (Flagler) began the three-run rally with a single. Michael Flax (LaSalle) followed with a walk and Jason Baytop Jr. (St. Augustine’s) reached base on an error to load the bases with only one out. Carson Kenney (Trinity College) followed with a fly out to center that was deep enough to score the runner on third to tie the game. Another run scored when Kyle Norman’s grounder was mishandled for the second error of the inning, and the Brian Ruditys (Quinnipiac) drove home the third run with a base hit.
Joshua Grant (Pace University), who replaced Holsworth with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, blanked the Aces in the fifth frame, but got into hot water in the bottom of the sixth when tagged for two singles. With two men on base and one out, Aces manager David DeSilva sent up Thomas Bradley to pinch-hit. The move proved to be a good one when Bradley smacked a triple to clear the bases and tie the game, 3-3.
In the top of the seventh, Flax drew his second walk of the game, was sacrificed to second by Baytop, and then attempted to score on a hit by Kyle Norman (University of San Francisco). Flax rounded third in and headed home, but was gunned down at the plate: leftfielder to the catcher. Then Connor Tagg retired the Aces in order in the last of the seventh, and this meant that overtime would be needed to settle the issue.
Ruditys began the T-Bolts eighth with a single. Clay Keranen followed by hitting into a fielder’s choice. Robert Lucido (Amherst College) coaxed a walk to put runners on first and second. This was followed by a wild pitch, allowing Keranen to take third. Now with Pat Hisle (University of Maryland) on the plate, Remer played his hand by ordering a double steal. Keranen stole home on the play to give the T-Bolts a 4-3 lead.
Tagg then retired the Aces in the bottom of the eighth.
Notes: The Aces played another game tonight when the Rockville Express came to Frank Mann Field following the conclusion of the T-Bolts win. The Aces scored 7 runs on 9 hits in a win over the Express. The Big Train, limited to just 6 hits by Garrett Pearson and Greg Jakusik at Montgomery Blair Stadium last night, like the Aces, took on the Gaithersburg Giants, scoring 14 times in a 10 run win. The Thunderbolts will have a tall order tomorrow night at Towson, Maryland, when they take on the Baltimore Redbirds. Tonight, the Redbirds pounded the River Dogs, 11-0 and 11-3. Willie Rios, the losing pitcher in Wednesday night’s All-Star Game, will be the Redbirds starting pitcher. Rios has a 1-1 record with a 4.50 ERA. He has struck out 28 and walked 10 in 20 innings pitched. Likewise, Baltimore will have to face T-Bolt scheduled starting pitcher Michael Austin (Bethune Cookman), who currently has the fourth lowest ERA (1.58) in the CRCBL.
T-Bolts Come Up Short Against the Big Train, 3-2
By Gary Sarnoff
July 17, 2014, Silver Spring, Maryland On June 12th, 2010, Jeffrey Flax crossed home plate in the bottom of the twelfth to give the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts a one-run walk-off win over the Bethesda Big Trains. Four years, one month, and five days later, the man who scored the game- winner the last time the Thunderbolts beat the Big Trains was on hand to talk to his brother, Michael, and the rest of the Thunderbolts prior to their battle with the visiting Bethesda Big Trains before the largest home crowd of the season. But Jeffrey Flax did not talk about that feeling of triumph or the 2010 T-Bolts. Instead he spoke about the current team as the players and coaches gathered around the T-Bolts alumnus in the home team’s dugout. “The Biggest thing about the game is everyone is the same at this level,” he told them. “Play the game you now how to play. I’ve seen you play. You can beat any team in this league. Fair enough? Now, go out there and get a win tonight!”
Inspired by Flax’s pre game pep talk, the Thunderbolts out-hit, out-fielded, and out-played the Big Train. But in the end, the Big Trains came away with a 3-2 win. “Two plays, maybe three, made the difference,” said a member of the Thunderbolts coaching staff following the game. Two or three plays, and like Jeffery Flax said about all teams being equal at this level. If all are equal, then it will come down to those few plays that make the difference.
The two or three plays in this game could be traced to an errant pickoff throw allowing a Big Trains runner to advance into scoring position; a walk and a wild pitch leading to a run that proved to be the game-winner; the first two T-Bolts batters in the bottom of the seventh reaching base, and with a botched hit-and-run nullifying the potential for a big inning.
On the other hand, the Thunderbolts did make a few big plays to keep the victory hopes alive: Garrett Pearson (VCU) and Greg Jakusik (Stevens Institute of Technology) both working out of bases-loaded jams, and combining to hold freshman all-American Brandon Lowe to no-hits tonight; Kyle Norman (University of San Francisco) delivering a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the fifth; executing a few web gems in the field.
Garrett Pearson, tonight’s starting hurler for the T-Bolts, made his second start of the season against the Big Train. His first start against this team was back on June 7th, a day after his high school graduation. That night, he was victimized by poor fielding and left the game with the bases loaded and nobody out in the second inning. Tonight, Pearson breezed through the first, but began the second by walking three batters to load the bases with just one out. Shortstop Ryne Willard, who had whiffed the first time he faced Pearson back on June 6th, watched strike three go by for the second out of the inning. A line drive to third baseman Clay Keranen (Liberty University) by the next batter ended the inning with no damage done.
Cody Brown led off the third-inning by belting a deep drive to right field. Jason Baytop Jr. drifted back, looked up and watched the ball hit the top of the fence. Brown rounded second and made it to third for his first triple of the season. The next batter, Logan Ferrar, who will be Pearson’s teammate next spring at VCU, hit one deep enough to centerfield to allow Brown to tag and score the game’s first run.
League All-Star Kevin Tatum began the top of the fourth by grounding one that looked to be earmarked for a hit to right field. First baseman Jake Taylor (Flagler) dove, gloved the ball, and then tossed the pill to Pearson from a reclining position. Pearson beat Tatum to the bag to record a dazzling out which proved to be important. For the next batter singled, however, Pearson retired the next two hitters to end the inning.
Pesky Cody Brown began the next inning with a walk. He was able to advance into scoring position when Pearson threw the ball over Taylor on a pickoff try. As the first baseman ran to retrieve the ball, Brown rounded second and made it to third. He would eventually score for an unearned to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.
Through the first four innings, the Thunderbolts made just two hits against Bethesda starting pitcher Jake Valdez, but in the bottom of the fifth, Jake Taylor drove one deep to leftfield that looked like it might leave the yard. The ball hit the bottom of the fence, and Taylor checked into second base with a double. Michael Flax (LaSalle) followed with a sacrifice to move Taylor to third. Pat Hisle fouled out for the second out of the inning, but Kyle Norman came through in the clutch with a sharp single to right to allow Taylor to score for the T-Bolts first run of the game.
Greg Jakusik came on in the top of the sixth in place of Pearson. He walked the first batter, threw a wild pitch, and then turned in the best defensive play of the night when the next batter tapped a little pop above the third base line. Like a cat on the prowl, Jakusik charged off the mound and sprinted toward the ball. He then dove, extended his arm to the fullest, and made a spectacular catch. He retried the next batter for the second out of the inning, but then Willard followed with a hit down the left field line to score Brown for a 3-1 lead.
The Thunderbolts immediately went to work in their half of the sixth. Jason Baytop (St. Augustine’s) and Dominick Zaher (Fisher College) got the crowd going by hitting back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second for Jake Taylor. As the fans stomped their feet and yelled for more, Taylor fouled off two pitches. On the next pitch, Remer sent the runners. Taylor swung and missed for strike three, and then the runner heading to third was thrown out to complete a double play. Michael Flax followed with a ground ball that the second baseman muffed to allow Zaher score from second to reduce to lead to 3-2.
In the bottom of the seventh, Norman made his second hit of the day, but was left on base. In the next inning, Taylor singled. Ben Ruditys, pinch-running for Taylor, attempted to steal second, but was thrown out to end the inning. In the bottom of the ninth, Pat Hisle (University of Maryland) got on base on a two-out infield hit, but then came the final out of the game.
Notes: Tonight’s crowd of 267 was the largest at Montgomery Blair Stadium this season. Garret Pearson struck out five tonight and Jaksuic struck out three. Pearson and Jakusik are currently tied for eleventh in strikeouts in the CRCBL with twenty-eight apiece. The Thunderbolts play four consecutive games on the road before returning home next Tuesday evening to play the Youse’s Orioles.
The Night the Stars Came Out
By Gary Sarnoff
July 16, 2014, Bethesda, Maryland The South All-Stars made just one total hit in tonight’s Cal Ripken Sr. League All-Star game. That’s right, just one hit, the lowest amount in an All-Star Game since the National League totaled two in the 1990 Summer Classic. Unlike the 1990 NL All-Stars, the South All-Stars scored. In fact, they scored twice in the seventh inning to win the game, 2-1, before an overflow crowd at Shirley Povich Field in Bethesda.
Actually, the South All-Stars made a second hit in the bottom of the ninth, although the game had technically ended after the North All-Stars were retired in the top of the ninth. For the sake of playing nine full innings, and to let a few players take an extra at bat, a decision was made to allow the home team to take their last wraps in their half of the final inning.
The North All-Stars roster included four Thunderbolts: Brandon Holsworth (Galluadet), Jason Baytop Jr. (St. Augustine’s), Robert Lucido (Amherst), and Clay Keranen (Liberty). All four played well, and two of our All-Stars were complimented by one among the several scouts who were on hand. “Oh yes, the kid who throws in the mid-eighties (mile per hour)” a scout said of Brandon Holsworth, who pitched one scoreless inning tonight. “The kid has a (good) build on him,” the scout added. When asked about catcher Robert Lucido, his answer was “They had some good pop to second base,” a reference to all of tonight’s All-Star catchers, but he had to have Lucido on his mind since the T-Bolts All-Star backstop rifled a throw to second base to gun-down the CRCBL’s leading base stealer in an attempt to steal.
Although there are no scouting details to report on Clay Keranen and Jason Baytop Jr., both players registered a hit. Keranen also made on assist in the field and Baytop caught two fly balls. With two outs in the top of the second, Baytop connected on a pitch by Big Trains all-star Josh Thorne and lined a deep drive to leftfield. The leftfield drifted back, reached up, but the ball sailed over his glove. Baytop rounded first and went to second base for a double.
Lucido and Keranen entered the game in the bottom of the fifth. In that inning Trae Sweeting, the league’s leading base stealer, began the inning with a walk to become just the second base runner for the South All-Stars in the game. As expected, Sweeting attempted to steal, and the result was the same as the last time he tried to steal on the T-Bolts catcher: an out, catcher to shortstop.
In the top of the sixth, with the North All-Stars ahead, 1-0, Brandon Holsworth stepped onto the pitcher’s mound. At that moment, the North All-Star Team’s battery consisted on Lucido and Holsowrth, and in addition, Clay Keranen was stationed at second base. Holsworth sent the South team down in order on just eleven pitches. He retired the first two batters on come-backers to the mound and whiffed the third batter on a side-arm curveball.
In the top of the seventh, Keranen singled through the middle for the second consecutive hit of the inning. His hit put two on the base paths with nobody out, but the next three batters were retired to end the threat.
The South team made their first hit of the game in the last of the seventh. This followed a lead off walk to put runners in first and second with nobody out. Perhaps noting that Lucido was now out of the game, the South squad took advantage by sending the runners in a double steal attempt. Both runners were safe. The next batter hit the ball on the ground for an out, but by getting the ball into play, the runners were able to advance, which tied the game and allowed the runner on second to move to third. The next batter also hit one on the ground. With only one play, Keranen tossed out the batter, but the runner on third tallied scored to give the South All-Stars a 2-1 lead. And that was how it would end.
Notes: The festive evening began with a 60-yard dash, with Lucido and Baytop participating against the fastest in the CRCBL. The winner was not announced, although River Dogs manager Bruce Hall said that three players were timed at 6.5 seconds or less. It was also mentioned that Baytop was timed at 6.7. Jake Taylor (Flagler), the 2013 CRCBL Home-Run Derby winner, represented by the T-Bolts. With head coach Doug Remer pitching Taylor launched two over the leftfield wall. This year’s winner was former T-Bolts All-Star Chris Bzozowski, who hit a total of six home runs. The Thunderbolts return to action on Thursday at Montgomery-Blair Stadium against the first place Bethesda Big Trains.
Keranen, T-Bolts’ Four-Run Eighth, Sink Riverdogs
By Gary Sarnoff
July 13, 2014, Silver Spring, Maryland. During the 2013 season, Thunderbolts head coach Doug Remer took the time to tutor his shortstop on the finer points of hitting. One year later, Clay Keranen (Liberty University) is hitting fifty-nine points higher than his final 2013 season batting average and currently has as many hits as he did all of last season. But Coach Remer is not about to take credit for the shortstop’s improvement at the plate. “He is part of a college (baseball) program that has an excellent weight training program,” Remer says. Whatever the reason, one thing is for sure: Keranen is more confident at the plate. Tonight, with two men on base and two outs in the bottom of the eighth, and with the Thunderbolts on the short end of a one-run game, a self-assured Clay Keranen delivered the hit that paved the way to a Silver Spring-Takoma 4-3 win before 170 happy fans at Montgomery Blair Stadium.
The Thunderbolts had no easy task tonight in facing River Dogs starting pitcher Joseph Vanderplas. An All-Star in 2013, Vanderplas is one of the best hurlers in the league, and he proved that tonight by allowing just two hits while blanking the T-Bolts in his five innings of work.
Thunderbolts starting pitcher Jordan Church (Sam Houston) matched his counterpart by keeping the River Dogs off the scoreboard in his three innings of work. Amiuris Santana (Fisher College), who replaced Church after the third-inning, kept the River Dogs scoreless through the top of the fourth, but gave way to a pair of runs in the next frame. In that inning, the River Dogs loaded the bases with one out when Vienna manager Bruce Hall sent in Shaun Corso to pinch-hit. A .351 hitter and member of the CRCBL South All-Star team, Corso came through with a hit to score the game’s first run. Another single followed to score another run, and that was all for Santana. Remer called on Joshua Grant (Pace University), who retired the next two batters to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, the T-Bolts looked like they might break through against Vanderplas. Keranen singled, Kyle Norman (University of San Francisco) reached base on an error, and Lucido walked to load the bases with only one out, however, the next two T-Bolts batters were retired to end the inning and the threat. The River Dogs added one more in their half of the seventh for a 3-0 lead, and the T-Bolts followed by going down in order in their half of the seventh to make it twenty-three innings without scoring a single run. But that streak quickly came to an end in the bottom of the eighth.
Robert Lucido (Amherst College) began the T-Bolts rally with a walk, advanced to second on a groundout, and scored when a River Dogs fielder committed the team’s fifth error of the game. That fifth Vienna miscue allowed Dominick Zaher (Fisher College) to reach base, and he scored all the way from first base when the next batter, Jake Taylor (Flagler University), launched a double to cut the Vienna lead to 3-2. No doubt at this moment, River Dogs manager Bruce Hill was concerned. He called on a relief pitcher to face Jason Baytop Jr. (St.Augustine’s), and the T-Bolts right fielder came through with a hit to advance pinch-runner Antonio Pino (Montgomery College) to third base. Baytop then proceeded to steal second. After Brian Ruditys fouled out for out number two, the slack fell to Keranen, and the shortstop delivered in the clutch to score and Baytop for a 4-3 T-Bolts lead.
Robert Galligan (University of Marland) came on to pitch the top of the ninth and struck out two batters for the final two outs of the game.
Notes: The Thunderbolts will have their work cut out for them when the return to action following the All-Star game. On Thursday, they host the first place Bethesda Big Train, and on Saturday they travel to Towson, Maryland, to take on the second place Baltimore Redbirds. Connor Tagg (Case Western) pitched the top of the seventh and eighth innings and was credited with the win, his second of the season. The Thunderbolts defense bounced back from a tough night in Gaithersburg to turn three double plays this evening. Clay Keranen, Brandon Holsworth (Gallaudet), catcher Robert Lucido, and Jason Baytop, will represent the T-Bolts this Wednesday at the CRCBL All Star Game. .
T-Bolts Blanked By Gaithersburg 5-0
By Gary Sarnoff
July 12, 2014, Gaithersburg, Maryland. For the second time in 2014, the Thunderbolts were shutout by the Giants at Criswell Automotive Field in Gaithersburg. The rest of the story is the slumping T-Bolts made just three hits, committed six errors, and fell another game behind the Giants, the team that currently owns the sixth and final playoff spot in the standings.
In fairness to the T-Bolts batters, they did face a tough one-two punch in Giants pitching duo Ty Culbreath and Taylor Bloom, who were stingy tonight by not issuing a single walk. The Giants defense was a tad more generous in allowing a T-Bolts player to reach base on an error. Jason Baytop Jr. (St. Augustine’s) was the recipient of the Gaithersburg gift, and he received another present when pitcher Culbreath threw the ball past the first baseman in a pickoff attempt. That miscue allowed Baytop to advance all the way to third to become the only T-Bolts player to be fortunate enough to get that far on the base paths tonight.
Clay Keranen (Liberty University) singled in the first inning, Pat Hisle (University of Maryland) reached base on a bunt single in the sixth-inning, and Carson Kenney (Trinity College) ripped a solid single to right field in the seventh-inning. Daniel Heleine (U of West Virginia) ripped two liners into the outfield, but right at the fielder for the out, and Hisle scorched one, but directly to the second baseman. It was that kind of night for the T-Bolts batters.
The defense, although it fell apart in the bottom of the eighth, turned in a few impressive plays, the most notable catch of the night made in the Thunderbolts third base bullpen by head coach Doug Remer. While tutoring Brandon Holsworth (Gallaudet), a Giants player lined one in his direction. Displaying the same kind of quick reflexes like during his playing days at Einstein High School, Remer took a few steps forward and caught the ball in his bare hands. He then obliged by returning the ball to the umpires, nevertheless, his touch ultimately paid off when two pitches later, the Thunderbolts turned a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Brain Ruditys (Quinnipiac), who was busy in left field tonight, made a great grab on a line drive after sprinting to his right to record a web gem, and Clay Keranen made a great diving stop, then scrambling to his feet to complete the play by heaving a dart to first baseman Heleine to retire the batter. The other nice play tonight was a rocket of a throw by Robert Lucido to Keranen to execute an assist and putout on a steal attempt.
Starting pitcher Michael Austin (Bethune-Cookman) turned in another solid outing, allowing only five hits in six-innings. Unfortunately, Michael was victimized by two unearned runs and the fact that the T-Bolts simply could not score.
The Giants drew first blood with a two-run second-inning. A walk and a hit and a sacrifice put two runners into scoring position. Then came a two-run single through the middle to give the Giants a 2-0 lead. Another hit put runners on first and third, however, the Giants bid for a bigger inning was canceled when Pat Hisle fielded a grounder and fired to Lucido to retire the lead runner in his attempt to score.
In the bottom of the fifth, a walk and an error put a runner on third base with just one out. A grounder, resulting in the second out of the inning, was all that was needed to score the runner from third to make it a 3-0 game.
The Thunderbolts yielded two more unearned runs in the bottom of the eighth to fall behind, 5-0, thanks to three errors by the T-Bolts. In addition, a high fly ball to left-centerfield, that should have been caught, somehow dropped in for a double.
Notes: Robert Clingman (Marshall University) made his CRCBL pitching debut in the bottom of the eighth tonight. The Thunderbolts return home on Sunday night to play the Vienna River Dogs. Game time is 6:00. A three day All-Star break follows Sunday’s game.
Express Defeat T-Bolts 6-3
By Gary Sarnoff
July 11, 2014, Silver Spring, Maryland. Ten base-on-balls and no hits in the last four innings sent the Thunderbolts to their fourth consecutive defeat before a Friday evening gathering of 170 fans at Montgomery-Blair Stadium. The T-Bolts out-hit tonight’s opponent and made one less error, but still lost, 6-3.
The evening began with promise when the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts. After T-Bolts starting pitcher Greg Jakusik (Stevens Institute of Technology) retired the visiting Express in the first inning, the Thunderbolts scored two in their first at bat, and added one more in the second inning. With two outs in the first-inning, Domick Zaher (Fisher College) singled, stole second, and took third on a dropped third strike on strike three to Jake Taylor (Flagler). A wild pitch sent Zaher across home and Taylor, who had reached base on the dropped third strike, to second base. Clay Keranen (Liberty University) followed with a single to score Taylor.
Jakusic struck out the side in the top of the second. In the bottom of the inning, the T-Bolts made it 3-0 when Antonio Pino of Montgomery College, playing in his first game of the season, singled and then scored all the way from first when Robert Lucido (Amherst College) blasted his fourth two-base-hit of the summer. With one out in the top of the third, Jakusic began to miss the strike zone. He passed two batters before recording the second out of the inning, and then after getting one strike Brandon Benson, the All-Star shortstop of the Express singled to score one run. Jakusic retired the next batter to end the inning, and retired the first batter in the top of the fourth before issuing another walk. He quickly ended the inning on a double play. He would then retire Rockville in order in the fifth-inning.
Meanwhile, the Thunderbolts squandered their chances to add to their three run lead. Dominick Zaher started the T-Bolts third with a double, stole third, but was left on base. In the bottom of the fourth, Carson Kenney (Trinity College) led off with a single, but was erased on the double play. Jason Baytop Jr. (St. Augustine’s) singled with one out in the next inning, stole second, however, he was left on base.
The Thunderbolts and Jakusik ran into tough luck in the top of the sixth when two of the three Express singles never left the infield to load the bases with nobody out. Needing a strikeout, Jausik got it by whiffing Dominick Fazio. He also retired the next batter on a harmless infield pop out for the second out of the inning. At this point, Express head coach Rick Price went with a pinch-hitter in Lewis Guilbeau, who was 17 for 86 on the season for a .198 bating average. Jakusic, now approaching the 100 pitch count for the game, got two strikes by him, but needing just one more strike to escape the jam, the pinch batter came through with a double that clear the bases for a 4-3 Rockville lead. The tiring Jakusic walked the next batter, and that was all for him. Head Coach Doug Remer called on Garrett Pearson (VCU), who ended the inning with a strikeout, but the damage had been done.
The Express added two more runs in the top of the ninth. A walk and an intentional pass put two men on with one out. Anthon Firenzi then made his second hit of the game to score one run. Another run scored on a wild pitch.
Notes: Congratulations to Brandon Holsworth (Gallaudet), Robert Lucido, and Jason Baytop on their selection to the CRCBL All-Star game. The Thunderbolts venture to Gaithersburg on Saturday evening to take on the Giants at 7:00. The game will be the first ever night game for the T-Bolts at Criswell Field in Gaithersburg. The Gaithersburg Giants have won two straight and now occupy the sixth and final playoff spot. On Sunday, the T-Bolts will return home for a 6:00 game versus the Vienna River Dogs.
Youse’s Orioles Rained Out
July 10, 2014, Silver Spring, Maryland. The T-Bolts home game against Youse’s Orioles was postponed due to rain and will be made up on July 22, 2014.
T-Bolts Lose to Big Train 5-2
By Gary Sarnoff
July 9, 2014, Bethesda, Maryland. The Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts had a window of opportunity when they entered Shirley Povich Field at Bethesda on Wednesday night. The first place Bethesda Big Trains had lost four of their last seven games. However, just four total hits and two mental lapses in the field cost the T-Bolts in a 5-2 loss.
Starting pitcher Brandon Holsworth (Gallaudet University), in search of his fourth win of the season, displayed heart and courage by throwing 111 total pitches in 5 2/3 innings of work. Although the final stats do not indicate the true reading of his performance, Holsworth pitched a good game but was victimized by his team’s lack of run production and those two mental lapses.
After the first five Big Trains batters went down in order, Big Trains outfielder Kevin Tatum snapped the string by pounding out the first hit of the game. Appearing to be rattled by he hit, Holsworth walked the next batter on four pitches and accidentally plunked a batter to put runners on first and second. Following two consecutive balls to the next batter, the T-Bolts three-game-winner got a strike over, but his next pitch was hit into centerfield to score two runs for a 2-0 Bethesda lead.
The only two batters to reach base in the first four innings for the T-Bolts were Pat Hisle (U of Maryland), who drew a walk in the third inning, and Dominick Zaher. In the fourth inning, Zaher hit a double high off the centerfield fence but was left on base. Jake Taylor (Flagler) began the T-Bolts fifth by hitting the centerfield barrier on one bounce for a double. Michael Flax (LaSalle) followed with a sacrifice to move Taylor to third. However, the next two batters were unable to produce the clutch hit.
The T-Bolts finally got one in the top of the sixth when Robert Lucido (Amherst) led off with a walked, stole second, and Clay Keranen (Liberty) flew out deep enough to centerfield to allow Lucido to tag and advance to third. The next batter, Tyler Coleman (Montgomery College), who has been dependable at the plate sine returning from his injury, tapped one along he first base line which Big Trains pitcher Sean Labsan fielded. Knowing he had no play on the fast Tyler Coleman, Labsan whirled around to check on Lucido at third base, and noticing the T-Bolts catcher had a big lead off the base, he heaved the ball in hopes of a possible play. The T-Bolts catcher dove for the base, and as he dove, the ball struck his bright red batting helmet and bounced into leftfield. Lucido got up from his dive and motored across the plate for the T-Bolts first run. Coleman was able to take second on the play, took third on a wild pitch, but once again, the call for the clutch hit went unanswered.
With the score now, 2-1, Holsworth took the mound in the bottom of the sixth. He retired the first batter, gave up a walk, and then retired another batter for the second out of the inning. That’s when the craziest play of the night occurred. On a soft pop fly into shallow leftfield, Shortstop Clay Keranen and third baseman Pat Hisle both ran into the outfield while left fielder Brian Ruditys (Quinnipiac) sprinted in from his outfield position. The ball fell to the turf for a hit, and then noticing that third base was unguarded, the runner on first rounded second and made it toe third base without a play. Further insult was added to injury on the play when the batter who made the hit took advantage of the fact that nobody was covering the second base bag.
The next batter lined one down the third base line for a double. Hisle took a stab for the drive, but missed. The ball rolled into left field to allow both runners score for a 4-1 Bethesda lead. The next batter grounded one toward left field. Moving to his left, Keranen dove, got the ball, and as he lay on the ground, the runner heading to third rounded the base and headed for home. Keranen, not noticing right away, lobbed the ball toward home while in a reclined position with one knee on the ground. His throw landed short of the plate, skipped, bounced off Lucido’s shoulder and rolled away.
In the top of the ninth, Zaher doubled for the second time in the game, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Jake Taylor’s sacrifice fly.
Notes; Dominick Zaher (Fisher University) socked two doubles tonight and made the best defensive play of the game. He took a few steps back on the line drive, leaped high, and made the grab for the out. Robert Galligan (University of Maryland) allowed just one hit in 2 1/3 innings pitched tonight, struck out two, allowed no runs, and pitched his best performance of the season. There is no place like home, and the Thunderbolts will be home for three of the next four evenings. They host the Youse’s Orioles on Thursday night, the Rockville Express on Friday night, and the Vienna River Dogs on Sunday. On Saturday the T-Bolts venture to Gaithersburg to take on the Giants. Coach Remer has his two fire ball pitchers going the next two days. Garret Pearson (VCU) (20 strikeouts in 19 inning pitched) is slated to throw on Thursday night. Grag Jakusic (Stevens Institute of Technology) (20 K’s) is schedule to start on Friday.
Aces Defeat Thunderbolts 11-4
By Gary Sarnoff
July 8, 2014, Alexandria, Virginia. Tonight at Frank Mann Field in Alexandria, the Thunderbolts lost, 11-4, to the contending Aces in a seven inning game. The second game of the scheduled twin bill was washed out.
Our Thunderbolts, now 10-16 on the season, fought back after falling behind. Down, 3-0, when they came to bat in the fourth inning, the T-Bolts, unable to register a single base runner against Aces starter Korey Anderson through the first three innings, rallied during their fourth at bat. Robert Lucido (Amherst) and Brian Ruditys (Quinnipiac) both coaxed a pass to put the first two batters aboard in the inning. Tyler Coleman (Montgomery College) followed by launching his third double in his last three games to score Lucido and Ruditys. Clay Keranen (Liberty) singled to move Coleman to third, and Jake Taylor (Flagler) scored Coleman with the tying run with his first of two hits in the game.
Amauris Santana (Fisher College), the latest addition to the Thunderbolts roster, made his debut as tonight’s starting pitcher. He allowed three runs on five hits in four innings prior to departing before the T-Bolts rallied to even the score. Connor Tagg (Case Western) came on in the fifth and got into hot water when the first two batters reached base. Tagg managed to escape the jam with just one run scored that give the Aces a one-run lead. After the T-Bolts were unable to score in their next at bat, the Aces sent ten men to the plate during a five run rally to put the game away.
In the T-Bolts seventh, Jake Taylor launched his first home run of the 2014 season.
Notes: The Thunderbolts take on the first place Bethesda Big Trains at Shirley Povich Field on Wednesday night. Game time is at 7:30.
Errors cost Thunderbolts in 9-6 loss to Dodgers
By Gary Sarnoff
July 7, 2014, Hanover, Maryland. For the second night in a row, the Thunderbolts gave way to a three-run first inning; for the second night in a row, the Thunderbolts fought back and took the lead; unlike the night before, the T-Bolts lost the lead; unlike the night before, the T-Bolts committed four errors that lead to four unearned runs, and a 9-6 loss.
The Thunderbolts, now 10-15 in 2014, lost the lead on three occasions tonight. They took their first lead in their first at bat of the evening. Robert Lucido (Amherst College) led off with a walk, swiped second base, and scored on Tyler Coleman’s double. Starting pitcher Joshua Grant began the bottom of the inning with a putout, but then was hit hard for three runs on four hits. He settled down after that, in fact, faced the minimum in the next three innings and escaped a jam in the bottom of the fifth.
Down, 3-1, after the first inning, the T-Bolts quickly evened the count with a pair in their second at bat. With two outs, Kyle Norman (University of San Francisco) singled, Michael Flax (LaSalle) was hit-by-a-pitch, and Lucido walked to load the bases. Brian Ruditys (Quinnipiac) then delivered the clutch hit – a single – to score Norman and Flax.
The T-bolts grabbed the lead in the top of the sixth and re-took it in the seventh. Two errors by the Dodgers supported the T-Bolts in scoring their fourth run of the game for a 4-3. After the Dodgers scored one to tie the game in their half of the sixth, the T-Bolts scored a pair for a 6-4 lead. Another Dodgers error, a hit by Lucido, and Ruditys’ third successful sacrifice in the last two games advanced the runners into scoring position. Domick Zaher (Fisher College) produced the big hit to score runs number five and six for what felt like a safe two-run lead. But then came five Dodgers runs with the help of four errors, leading to the Thunderbolts waterloo.
A single to begin the Dodgers sixth inning and a stolen base with an error on the throw was the first sign of trouble. The next batter struck out but reached first on a dropped third strike. The misplay also allowed the runner on third to score. A walk and another hit scored the runner who had reached base on the dropped third strike to tie the game, 6-6. A double and a sacrifice and two more T-Bolts errors led to a three run eighth to open a 9-6 Dodgers lead.
Notes: Joshua Grant (Pace University) became the second Thunderbolts pitcher to surpass the century mark in total pitches in a game. Grant threw 101 tonight. Last Wednesday, Michael Austin (Bethune-Cookman) pitched 111 in his win over the DC Grays. Tyler Coleman (Montgomery College) has two RBI doubles in the last two games. Domick Zaher has now hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games. With two RBI tonight, Zaher now has 14 for the season. Jason Baytop Jr. (St. Augustine’s) leads the team with 15 RBI. He also currently leads the league with 4 home runs. The Thunderbolts travel to Alexandria to take on the Aces in a double header on Tuesday night.
Late inning rally lifts Thunderbolts past Braves
By Gary Sarnoff
July 6, 2014, Silver Spring, Maryland. The Thunderbolts had to win and they did. Trailing the Braves and two other teams for the sixth and final playoff spot, and trailing the Braves, 3-1, as tonight’s game entered the bottom of the seventh at Montgomery Blair Stadium, the Silver Spring –Takoma Boys of Summer rallied for three to take their first lead of the game.
With the home crowd going wild and sensing a key victory for the T-Bolts, the Miracle Braves of Herndon still had two innings to either tie or win the game. Head Coach Doug Remer, knowing the Braves would be on the warpath, sent fire-baller Garrett Pearson to the mound to slam the door.
Pearson breezed through the eighth inning by striking out the first two batters and retiring the third batter on a harmless pop fly to second baseman Clay Keranen. The top of the ninth did not start off as promising when the first batter of the inning poked a hit through the left side of the infield. Then Braves manager Chris Warren sent the runner into motion. T-Bolts catcher Robert Lucido looked to first base, hoping to “back pick” the runner (by making a throw to the first baseman to pick off the base runner). He then hesitated for a second, as if he was surprised to see the opponent attempting to steal, and then heaved a strike to shortstop Pat Hisle, who tagged the runner for a big first out.
The out was an important one for the T-Bolts. Not only did it result in the first out of the inning, but the next batter advanced to first base when hit-by-a-pitch. And to add to the tension, manager Warren looked to his bench for a pinch-hitter, and saw he had the perfect player for the task in Brian Burns.
Flashback: To Herndon. With the T-Bolts ahead, 3-0 game in bottom of the ninth, two outs and two runners on base. Brian Burns launched one to center fielder that looked a sure home run, which would tie the game and perhaps pave the way for a Braves win. Kyle Norman (University of San Francisco) faded back to the fence, leaped, and made the catch to save the day.
Now, here was Mr. Burns with another opportunity to play the hero role. All on the T-Bolts side were understandably nervous, all except for Robert Lucico (Amherst College), who knew something. “He [Burns] had never seen Pearson before,” said the Thunderbolts catcher, “and Pearson had a (good) curveball tonight.” With this in mind, Lucido called on Pearson’s curve to get two strikes on Burns. He then signaled for a changeup, which Pearson heaved past the batter for strike three and out number two. The T-Bolts fans let out a sigh of relief and cheered as Burns sauntered back to the Herndon bench. But the Braves were not done. With one out to go, the next batter bounced one to the left side of the infield for what looked a sure hit to leftfield. But third baseman Dominick Zaher ranged to his right, made the glove-hand stop, then threw to first, where first baseman Jake Taylor (Flagler) stretched and used on his boarding house reach to coral the ball for the final out. The T-Bolts had won the battle, 4-3, for their tenth win of the season.
The game began like it might be a repeat of the night before. A lead off single and a single that must have had eyes to make it through the left side of the T-Bolts infield put first two Braves batters on the base paths. After Greg Jakusic recorded his first of two strikeouts of the game, Alan Mocabee unloaded on the first pitch and sent a drive to the top of the firehouse roof in leftfield for his second round-tripper of the season and a 3-0 Braves lead. The next batter recorded the fourth hit of the inning, but the inning came to a close when the T-Bolts turned a double play: Jakusic to Hisle to Taylor.
The Braves were at it again in the next inning. Back-to-back singles put runners on the corners with just one out. The Braves runner on first then broke for second in an attempt to set up a delayed double steal for the runner on third. The play had worked against the T-Bolts at Vienna a week ago, but not on this evening. Jakusic threw to first baseman Jake Taylor to trap the runner between first and second. Taylor then looked at the runner on third base to be sure he was not going anywhere. He then threw to shortstop Pat Hisle (University of Maryland). Hisle checked the runner on third, who was still content on staying on the base, and then chased the trapped runner back to first. He then threw to Taylor who applied the tag. The next batter flew out to Michael Austin in right field to end the inning.
Jakusic was in command after that. He allowed only two hits from the top of the third through the seventh. More importantly, he kept the Braves off the board.
Trailing 3-0 before they even came to at bat, the T-Bolts had their work cut out for them. They did score one in the first inning, and then would wait for six more innings before scoring and then some to claim the lead.
In the bottom of the first, Clay Keranen (Liberty University) walked, advanced to second on Tyler Coleman’s groundout, to third on a hit by Zaher, and scored on Jake Taylor’s solid single to center. Then the T-Bolts batters decided to take a break until the seventh.
T-Bolts catcher Carson Kenney (Trinity College) came through with a single to left to lead off the T-Bolts seventh. Coach Remer then sent in Lucido to pinch-run, and the move paid off. The next batter, Pat Hisle, grounded to the right side of the infield. Lucido held up in the base path to let the ball go though and to distract the second baseman. The fielder scooted to his left to make the stop, and with only one play, he whirled around and threw to first base, but his throw was low and resulted in the game’s first and only error.
This put runners on first and second with nobody out. With the home crowd of 155 now making their presence known, Brian Raditys (Quinnipiac) executed his second successful sacrifice bunt to move the runners along. Clay Keranen followed with a drive to right field. The ball fell in for a hit and rolled to the right field corner. Both runners – Lucido and Hisle – scored to tie the game, 3-3. As the crowd roared its approval and stomped on the aluminum bleachers, Tyler Coleman (Montgomery College), playing in his first game since June 6th, strolled to the plate. Coleman was 0-for-3 at this point, but felt his swing was back in the grove. “It was a little weird at first, but I got use to it,” Coleman said after the game. “He hit the ball well in his first three at bats,” according to Remer.
Coleman had grounded out the first two times and then hit the ball hard on a lineout to the second baseman in his third plate appearance. This time he “went with the pitch” on the outside corner of the plate and belted one into right field that landed for another hit. Keranan rounded third and scored to give the T-Bolts the lead as Coleman made it to second for a double.
Garrett Pearson then entered the game and nailed down his third save of the season. Greg Jakusic was credited with the win, his second in 2014.
Notes: “Not our best in the field out there,” Remer said after the game. “It was nice of Michael (Austin) to fill in for us in right field. He couldn’t throw today.” You sure can’t fault Michael Austin (Bethune-Cookman) for that. After all, he threw 111 pitches four days ago in a win over the Grays. Austin did handle all four of his total chances and recorded two putouts. Hall-of-Fame outfielder Wee Willie Keeler, who use to say, “Hit ‘em where they ain’t,” would be proud of Clay Keranen. “He is finding the gaps this season,” Remer said about Keranen, who hit two doubles tonight. Last season, Keranen had no extra base hits. This season, he already has five extra base hits. With a hit tonight, Domminick Zaher (Fisher College) has hit safely in eleven of his last twelve games. Greg Jakusic (Stevens Institute of Technology) did not strikeout eleven Braves like he did in his starting assignment earlier this summer at Herndon, but he struck out enough to become one of twenty-five hurlers in the CRCBL to record twenty-plus strikeouts this season. Garrett Pearson (VCU), three K’s tonight, is also a member of that club with twenty-one strikeouts. Connor Tagg (Case Western) is also in the club with twenty-one K’s. The home run onto the roof of the firehouse in leftfield hit by Alan Macabee was like one hit onto the outfield rooftop at Old Comiskey Park in Chicago. Back in the good old days they would post a sign with the players name at the exact spot on the rooftop of the home run ball. Last heard, the Silver Spring Fire Department has no plans to follow that tradition. Our Thunderbolts (10-14) now trail the Braves by one full game for that sixth and final playoff spot. The Orioles and Giants are also ahead of the T-Bolts by ½ games. The T-Bolts hit the road for three games before returning home to take on the on Youse’s Orioles on Thursday night. They play the Dodgers at Joe Cannon Stadium on Monday, are at Alexandria on Tuesday, and play at Bethesda on Wednesday night.
Biggest home crowd of season see T-Bolts fall to Champions
By Gary Sarnoff
July 5, 2014, Silver Spring, Maryland. Over 200 fans were in good spirits when they entered Montgomery Blair Stadium this evening to see the local team take on the CRCBL champion Baltimore Redbirds on a pleasant summer evening. “The Bowie Baysox are out of town so we decided to come out and watch the Thunderbolts this evening,” said a female fan as she entered the ball park with her husband. “This is our first time here,” she added. “I heard a lot about this team,” said another fan, “so I decided to finally make it out here and see what they are about.”
Unfortunately, the Thunderbolts played their worst game of the summer before the largest home crowd of the season. “They were flat tonight,” a fan said after the game. “They were flat right form the beginning.” The Baltimore Redbirds, who had a rooting section of their own tonight, showed why they are the champions of the last two seasons. They scored twelve runs on sixteen hits in a 12-5 win and also displayed why pitching depth makes a big difference. Willie Rios, this evening’s starting hurler for Baltimore,tonight he looked like an All-Star by allowing just two hits in six innings while surpassing Greg Jakusik’s single game strikeout record with thirteen.
The Thunderbolts were unable to hit Rios, but midway through the contest they were in the embarrassing situation of accumulating two more errors than total hits. They did manage to make one hurrah tonight by batting around in the ninth inning, long after winning pitcher Willie Rios had departed.
In that inning, a hit and two walks loaded the bases with nobody out. Then first baseman Daniel Heleine (U of West Virginia) tapped one toward third. The Redbirds third sacker fielded the ball, made a hurried throw to first, but the throw was wide of the mark, allowing two runs to score and Heleine to advance to second and the runner on first, Michael Flax (LaSalle), to third. A walk and hit batsman produced the final run of the evening.
T-Bolts pitcher Jordan Church (Sam Houston), starting his second game of the summer, struggled early by walking the first two batters of the game. A fielder’s choice and Sacrifice fly made it a one-run inning without the Guests producing a single hit. Two hits and another walk made for a two-run top of the second and a 3-0 Redbirds lead. The Redbirds were at in the next inning with another walk followed by four consecutive hits and two questionable calls by the arbitrators on the same play. On that play, Jason Baytop Jr. (St. Augustine’s) appeared to make a summersault catch for the first out of the inning. However, first base umpire Norm Gordon ruled that the T-Bolts right fielder had trapped the ball. While Baytop and the rest of the T-Bolts on the field were up-in-arms, a runner attempted to score. A throw to the plate appeared to be in time, however, the plate umpire ruled that the runner tapped the plate with a hand before the catcher’s tag, and the Redbirds went on to score four runs for a 7-0 lead. The defending champs scored another run in the fifth and rallied for four more in the sixth for a 12-0 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Thunderbolts finally got on the board. Robert Clingman (Marshall U.) singled for just the home team’s second hit of the game, advanced two bases on a groundout and passed ball, and then scored on a groundout. Two innings later, Pat Hisle (U of Maryland) was hit-by-a-pitch, advanced two bases on a grounder and wild pitch, and scored on a single by Brian Ruditys (Quinnipiac).
Notes: Jake Taylor (Flagler), tonight’s designated hitter, pitched the last three innings. He allowed just one hit, struck out three, and did not allow a run. Farwell to Rich Condeelis Jr. The infielder/pitcher will be leaving for college next week. Welcome back Tyler Coleman (Montgomery College), who played the first five games of the season before being sidelined by a back injury. The Thunderbolts take on the Herndon Braves on Sunday night at Montgomery Blair Stadium. Game time is at 6:00. The Braves currently occupy the sixth and final spot in the playoff standings and are 2 ½ games ahead of the T-Bolts.
Thunderbolts beat Grays, 5-1.
By Gary Sarnoff
July 2, 2014, Washington, D.C. When Thunderbolts head coach Doug Remer addressed his team following Monday’s one-run loss to the Orioles, he told them to relax and enjoy their day off on Tuesday. He also told them to forget about baseball for a day and be ready when they arrive for Wednesday’s game at the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy. The coach’s message was heard loud and clear and the Thunderbolts put one in the win column with a 5-1 victory over the DC Grays.
Leading the way for the T-Bolts tonight were Jake Taylor (2-for-3 with a run) and Robert Lucido, who scored two times and gunned down Trae Sweeting – the CRCBL leading base stealer. But if baseball was to follow the gridiron tradition of giving the game ball to the outstanding player of the game, it would go to tonight’s starting and winning pitcher, Michael Austin (Bethune-Cookman University).
Austin, a 2013 CRCBL All-Star, threw an eye-popping 111 pitches in eight innings pitched this evening. He allowed just 4 hits, struck out 6, picked a runner off of first base, and sent the Grays down in order three times.
The Thunderbolts wasted little time in putting runs on the board. Robert Lucido (Amherst) led off the game by advancing to first. Clay Keranen (LibertyUniversity) followed with a walk, and Jason Baytop Jr. (St. Augustine’s) moved the runners along with a sacrifice. A passed ball allowed Lucido to plate the game’s first run. Dominick Zaher (Fisher College) made it 2-0 with his eighth hit in his last twelve at bats.
The T-Bolts posted another run in the top of the second for a 3-0 lead. Brian Ruditys (Quinnipiac) singled, advanced while Flax was busy being thrown out after hitting a groundball, and scored on a hit by Pat Hisle (University of Maryland).
Although brilliant this evening, Austin’s beginning was no indication on how sharp he would be. In the last of the first, a single sandwiched between two walks loaded the bases with two outs, but Austin retired the next batter for the third out. In the next inning, Austin gave way to a leadoff home run. That would be as good as it would get for the Grays on this night.
In the top of the fifth, Jake Taylor (Flagler) pounded out his first of two hits, Ruditys got on base with a walk, and Michael Flax (LaSalle) singled to load the bases. A passed ball followed to allow Taylor to count for a 4-1 lead. It became 5-1 in the next inning when Lucido got on base for the forth consecutive time and scored all the way from first on Keranen’s two-base hit.
Meanwhile, the Grays were getting nowhere with Austin. There was hope in their half of the fifth with a single and a walk, but Austin sent one runner back to the dugout with a pickoff move that caught the base runner flatfooted for an out, and Lucido eliminated the other base runner, Trae Sweeting, in his attempt to swipe his twentieth base of the season.
The bottom of the seventh looked promising for the Grays with a leadoff single, but that ray-of-hope died when the T-Bolts executed their daily double play. Austin then struck out the first batter in the bottom of the eighth, induced the second batter to groundout to Keranen, and got the third batter to fly out. That was all for Mr. Austin.
Remer called on Nick Moylan (University of Delaware) to mop up in the bottom of the ninth, and the T-Bolts relief specialist whiffed two batters, but also gave up a single and accidentally plunked one batter. Things got a tad uneasy when the next batter walked to load the bases and bring the tying run to the plate. Remer then called on Garrett Pearson (VCU), who got the last out of the game to seal the deal for our Thunderbolts.
Notes: Robert Lucido was hit-by-a-pitch four times tonight, thus reminding some of Ron Hunt, who had more career ouches than any other player. Hunt was very crafty in taking one for the team. Not only did he wear a rubber suit beneath his uniform to lesson the feeling of being hit, he would step in against the old Iron Jack pitching machine in the batting cage and practice being hit by the baseball, if you can imagine that. Lucido is a hard-nosed ball player who hates to lose and will beat you some how, some way. His disposition is comparable with all-time Washington Senators great, Buddy Myer, a .303 lifetime hitter. It was no surprise that Myer was the prime target of the New York Yankees during the good old days of the heated Senators-Yankees rivalry. In the end it was Myer’s bat that sank the Yankees in 1933 – the year the Senators won their last American League pennant. Want to find out more about Myer and the Senators triumph over the Yankees en route to the 1933 pennant? Your correspondent authored a book, The Wrecking Crew of 33: the Washington Senators’ last pennant. One-hundred and eleven pitches heaved by Michael Austin has to be a CRCBL record, or close to it? It is the most pitches thrown in a game in the memory of your correspondent, who has been covering the T-Bolts for three seasons. For the record, Danny O’Donnell (Gallaudet) threw ninety-three pitches in his starting assignment and win over these Grays on June 6th. Garrett Pearson totaled ninety-two pitches in his starting assignment last Friday at Vienna. The DC Grays are one of two teams the Thunderbolts have defeated two times this season. The Baltimore Dodgers are the other team.
A CRCBL Version of the old “pebble game”
By Gary Sarnoff
June 30, 2014, Glen Burnie, Maryland. Ninety years ago, a groundball hit a pebble at Washington’s old Griffith Stadium, causing the baseball to take a hop over the third baseman’s head for a hit to win the 1924 World Series for the Washington Senators.
Although not a championship game at Bachman Park in Glen Burnie on Monday night, there was a ground ball to the right side of the infield during an important moment in the game between the Thunderbolts and Orioles. Thunderbolts second baseman Michael Flax moved into position to field the ball in hopes of starting an inning-ending double play. “I tried to get outside of the ball (to the left side) so I would field it and make the throw to second base,” Flax said after the game, “but the ball took a skip to the right,” or hit a pebble, perhaps, resulting in a hit to allow a run to score and give the Orioles their first lead of the game. In the next inning, the Thunderbolts went down in order to complete a disappointing 4-3 loss. It was the second night in a row that the T-Bolts fell to the Youse’s team.
The Thunderbolts, now 8-13 on the season, were also victimized by a few other tough breaks during tonight’s game, including the fact that they are still shorthanded with just eleven position players and a few relievers to back up their starting pitchers. “We’re tired,” admitted Flax.
Brandon Holsworth (Gallaudet), in search of his fourth win of the season, received the starting assignment. He began by retiring five batters and showing a strong move to first base when picking off a base runner. In the top of the third, the T-Bolts drew first blood when Robert Lucido (Amherst) singled, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Jake Taylor’s four-hundred foot drive to centerfield for a long out.
In the Oriole half of the third, Holsworth yielded his first hit of the game, but no harm was done. With one out, a man on first, a line drive earmarked for a hit to right field was converted into a twin killing when Michael Flax (LaSalle) scaled the ladder to pluck the ball out of the air, and then threw to first baseman Rich Condeelis Jr. to double up the base runner. In the O’s next at bat, they scored one run on two hits to tie the game, 1-1, however, the T-Bolts responded in their next at bat with two runs.
Jason Baytop ,Jr (St, Augustine’s), laid down a nice bunt. The third baseman attempted to make the play, threw to first, but was too late. His throw was also too high, enabling Baytop advanced to second the on the error. Following an out, Dominic Zaher (Fisher College) made hit second consecutive hit to score Baytop for a 2-1 lead. Brian Ruditys (Quinnipiac) drew a base on balls, and then both Zaher and Ruditys moved up a base on a wild pitch. Rich Conddelis Jr (Lackawanna) followed with a line drive that chased the leftfielder to the fence. The catch was made, Zaher tagged and easily scored to give the T-Bolts a 3-1 lead.
In the Youse’s fifth, a leadoff grounder somehow eluded the reach of third baseman Jake Taylor (Flagler) and shortstop Pat Hisle (U of Maryland) and rolled into the outfield for a single. Another groundball that had eyes made it through the middle to put runners on first and second. Then came a T-Bolts’ error to allow a runner to cross home to cut the lead to 3-2.
The Orioles sixth-inning began with two hits to put runners at the corners. The next batter grounded to the right side of the infield. Flax quickly ranged to his right, fielded the ball and threw to Hisle, who was covering the second base bag, however, the runner heading to second beat the throw. A run also scored on the play to tie the game. Now with runners on first and second and still nobody out, KJ Hockady, last season’s CRCBL batting champion with a .362 average, was at the plate. Holsworth kept a cool and proceeded to strikeout Mr. Hockaday. Then head coach Doug Remer emerged from the visiting dugout and decided that was enough work for Holsworth, who had thrown seventy-five pitches, plus threw one inning in Saturday night’s win. On came Conner Tagg (Case Western) to put out the fire in the Orioles uprising. The first batter he faced hit one back at him. Tagg was unable to hold the ball, resulting in a hit to load the bases. But the Thunderbolts relief specialist struck out the next batter and got a groundout from the third batter he faced to end the threat.
After that, all was quiet until the bottom of the eighth when the Orioles made three consecutive hits, including that pebble ball which scored the run that proved to be the game winner.
Notes: Dominic Zaher was 2-for-3 this evening and now has 7 hits in his last 11 at bats. Brian Ruditys was also 2-for-3 this evening. The Thunderbolts have a bye tomorrow night and on Friday, the Fourth of July. They play the Grays at the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy on Wednesday and host the Alexandria Aces on Thursday.
Missed Chances too much for Thunderbolts to overcome
By Gary Sarnoff
June 29, 2014, Silver Spring, Maryland. The missed offensive opportunities that head coach Doug Remer has been trying to eliminate haunted the Thunderbolts this evening in a 5-3 loss to the Youse’s Orioles at Montgomery Blair Stadium. The setback closes out the first half of the 2014 season on a sour note. The T-Bolts are 8-12 at the halfway point and currently trail the Orioles by a half game for the sixth and final spot to qualify for the playoffs. But there is plenty of baseball remaining to be played, and the T-Bolts are in the thick of battle to clinch a postseason birth.
Tonight’s first opportunity knocked on the door in the bottom of the second, but the Thunderbolts were unable to deliver the key hit. After starting pitcher Jordon Church retired the visiting O’s in order for the second inning in a row, the T-Bolts loaded the bases with nobody out. Hits by Zaher and Flax and a hit batsman presented a golden opportunity, however, a 5-2-3 double play and an infield pop out canceled the expected rally. Two innings later, with the Orioles leading, 2-0, Dominic Zaher (Fisher College) made his second consecutive hit with a leadoff double. Once again, the next three batsmen went out in order.
In the bottom of the fifth, now behind by three, the Thunderbolts capitalized to get back into the game, with some help from the Orioles battery. Daniel Heleine (University of West Virginia) smacked a leadoff double. Pat Hisle (University of Maryland) followed with a successful sacrifice attempt, and got more for his money when the opposing hurler threw the ball away. Heleine scored on the mishap, and the T-Bolts were on the board. A wild pitch and passed ball followed to bring Hisle around for the second run of the inning. Unfortunately, the T-Bolts returned the favor in the next inning by committed two errors to aid the Orioles in extending the lead back to three.
Trailing 5-2, the Thunderbolts went quietly in the sixth and seventh innings, but did get a run in the eighth to keep their victory hopes alive. Robert Lucido (Amherst) walked, moved to second on a groundout, and scored on Zaher’s third hit of the game.
Michael Flax (LaSalle) led off the last of the ninth with a single for his second hit of the night. However, the next three batters were retired to end the game.
Notes: This evening, Jordan Church (Sam Houston) received his first starting pitcher assignment of the season. The 6’7 hurler allowed two hits and one earned run and struck out two in 3 2/3 innings pitched. Nick Moylan (University of Delaware) struck out two after replacing Church with two outs in the top of the fourth and also made one plate appearance tonight and reached base in that plate appearance. Robert Galligan (University of Maryland) shutout the Orioles and held them hitless in the last two innings. With three hits tonight, Dominick Zaher is five for his last eight. Michael Flax made two hits for his second straight two-hit game. Kyle Norman was 2-for-4 for his first multi-hit game of the season. The two teams will meet Monday night at Bachman Park in Glen Burnie. Game time is set for 7:00.
Clutch hitting, Jake Taylor, Lead Way To Walk-Off Win
By Gary Sarnoff
June 28, 2014, Silver Spring, Maryland. The way the top of the ninth played out at Montgomery Blair Stadium this evening was like a trip into the past, or more specifically, last season, when too often the Thunderbolts held the lead in the final inning, only to see the probable victory go up in a puff of smoke.
The Thunderbolts held a one-run lead when the game entered the top of the ninth this evening. With two outs, a runner on third, Brandon Holsworth, making a rare appearance in relief, induced the batter into a ground ball that looked as if it would be the final play of the game to cap a dramatic T-Bolts come-from-behind win. Then a familiar scene occurred – as if it were a sequel to a movie from the 2013 season. Shortstop Pat Hisle (Maryland) made an error to allow the tying run to tally. On the next play, third baseman Jake Taylor booted one to put runners on first and second. But when the next batter grounded to the shortstop, Hisle made good on another chance by pegging the ball to first in time to end the inning.
Now it was the bottom of the ninth, with our heroes needing one run for an important win against a good Gaithersburg team. The inning started promising when Robert Lucido reached base for the third consecutive time on a base on balls. With Michael Flax (LaSalle) at the plate, who was 2-for-4 on the evening, things were looking up, but head coach Doug Remer was not going to alter his strategy by playing it safe. The head honcho of the T-Bolts put Lucido in motion, and the speedy backstop made it safely to second with his eighth steal of the season.
Lucido stayed on second base while Flax grounded out, but no harm seemed to be done, for Jason Baytop Jr. (St. Augustine’s), who was 2-for-3 on the night, was at the plate. The Giants made it clear that they were not going to have anything to do with him, and intentionally walked Baytop to get to Dominic Zaher (Fisher College), who was 2-for-4 in the game.
Zaher looked at four consecutive pitches out of the strike zone. Lucido went to third, Baytop to second, and Zaher trotted to first. The bases were now loaded for Jake Taylor (Flagler University), who had delivered a clutch hit in the bottom of the seventh to score two runs to give the Thunderbolts their first lead of the game. And Taylor came through again by singling to score Lucido for a Thunderbolts walk-off win.
Final score: Thunderbolts 7 Giants 6.
The Giants drew first blood tonight by scoring two in the top of the third. The T-Bolts quickly responded by scoring two in the bottom of the inning to tie the game. Pat Hisle walked, and Flax, Baytop, and Zaher singled in succession to bring Hisle around the bases. Jake Taylor hit a sacrifice fly to score Flax with the second run.
The game remained deadlocked until the guests scored one in the top of the fifth. Once again, the Thunderbolts responded in the bottom of the inning to tie the game. Lucido singled, moved to all the way to third on an error by the pitcher, then scored on Zaher’s second hit of the game.
The Thunderbolts elected to wait before answering the Giants two-run outburst in the top of the sixth, but when the T-Bolts did reply, they rallied for three to take a 7-6 lead. With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Hisle made his first extra base hit of the season – a double. Lucido was hit-by-a-pitch and Flax singled to load the bases. Baytop followed with a single to score Hisle and cut the lead to 6-5. Zaher struck out for the second out of the inning, leaving it up to Jake Taylor to deliver the big hit.
Taylor watched strike one go bye, then took two balls, and then watched strike two. The next pitch was to the big fellow’s liking, and he singled to score the tying run. And an error by the second baseman on the play permitted another runner to cross home with the go-ahead run. The Thunderbolts now owned their first lead in the contest by a score of 7-6.
Connor Tagg (Case Western), who entered the game in the eighth inning, struck out two in the Giants eighth in a one-two-three inning. Holsworth then took the mound in the top of the ninth. He was credited with the win, his third of the season.
Notes: The Thunderbolts batters bailed out the fielding this evening. The T-Bolts defense was guilty of five errors, leading to four unearned runs. Doug Jaksuic (Stevens Technology) was the starting pitcher for the T-Bolts this evening. He hurled six innings and finished with nine fewer strikeouts than his league record of eleven he accumulated in his previous outing. Connor Tagg, usually the closer, played the role of set-up by pitching the seventh and eighth innings, and he did the job by striking out four and allowing no runs. Brandon Holsworth (Gallaudet) now has three wins, the same amount as Big Train standout (and former T-Bolt 2013) Tayler Stiles. Three wins is second best in the CRCBL. Kit Scheetz of the Big Train leads the league with four wins. Holsworth has the third best ERA in the CRCBL at 0.78, and that is even better than Kit Scheetz (0.82). Robert Lucido (Amherst) has eight stolen bases in 16 games this season. Project that amount into the course of a major league season, and project the fact that Lucido did not play in two games, and the T-Bolts catcher would finish with 68 steals, which would easily eclipse Johnny Wathan’s 36 stolen bases in 1982, the record for the most steals by a catcher. Actually, Buck Ewing stole 53 in one season back in the 1890’s, but as Vince Lombardi might say, even the Little Sisters of the Poor could have stolen 53 bases back then. With two hits tonight, Baytop is now batting .343. With two hits tonight, Dominick Zaher is now batting .300. The Thunderbolts play a home-and-home game with the Youses’ Oriole on Sunday and Monday. The two teams meet at Montgomery Blair Stadium on Sunday night at 6:00.
T-Bolts Fall to Vienna 7-2
By Gary Sarnoff
June 27, 2014, Vienna, Virginia. Absentees, injuries, and other factors limited the T-Bolts to only sixteen players in uniform on Friday night at Vienna. Ten of the 16 were position players, meaning that head coach Doug Remer had just one substitution on the bench. Four of the 6 pitchers who were present were starting pitchers, leaving two relief pitchers to back-up tonight’s starting pitcher. Rich Condeelis (Lackawanna) played his first game of the summer in leftfield, Dominick Zaher (Fisher College) played his first game at third base, Robert Lucido was the designated hitter for the first time this season, and Carson Kenney (Trinity) started in just his second game. Nevertheless, the Thunderbolts gave it the old college try, but finished on the short end of a 7-2 final. Like the night before, the T-Bolts were unable to capitalize on their chances and left nine men on base. Their makeshift lineup made only six hits, but received support in the form of five errors by the generous River Dogs infield.
Tonight’s starting pitcher, Garret Pearson, pitched a good game. The VCA-bound freshman threw over ninety pitches in 5 1/3 innings, allowed just one hit and struck out five. He deserved to win; he should have won, but the missed opportunities on offense proved too much to overcome.
Pearson struggled with is control at the beginning. With his fast ball up, the first two batters he faced were able to reach base when the T-Bolts hurler missed on eight of his first nine pitches. But Pearson settled down in a hurry and retired the next two batters. Knowing that the T-Bolts’ pitcher would be tough to hit from there on out, the River Dogs took their chances on a double steal. The gamble paid off for a run, a good thing for the River Dogs. For their next eight batters were retired in succession.
Coach Remer and his coaches may have known that runs would be tough to come by this evening, but the T-Bolts did put one over in the top of the fifth to tie the score, 1-1. Daniel Heleine (University of West Virginia) led off that inning with a single to left field for the first T-Bolts hit of the evening. Kyle Norman (University of San Francisco) followed by successfully sacrificing Heleine into scoring position. Then Carson Kenny hit a solid grounder that was earmarked for a hit into centerfield. However, the River Dogs pitcher happened to have his mitt in the right place. Heleine, thinking the hard hit ball would make it through the middle for a hit, broke for third, and then was rundown for the second out of the frame. Pat Hisle (University of Maryland) was the next batter, and he got on base when the shortstop booted his groundball for an error. Robert Lucido (Amherst) smacked a single to right field to load the bases for Michael Flax (LaSalle), and Mr. Flax drilled one toward leftfield. The Vienna shortstop dove to his right and managed to knock the ball down for an infield hit. Kenney crossed home on the base hit to tie the game.
Pearson sent the River Dogs down in order in the fifth, but walked the first two batters in the sixth. The third batter of the inning sacrificed to put the runners on second and third. At that time Remer called on one of the two relief pitchers, Robert Galligan (University of Maryland), who induced the first batter he faced into grounding out for the second out of the inning. A run scored on the out to break the tie, and then the next batter came through with an RBI hit to make it 3-1.
Things looked like they might become worse when the sixth batter of the inning drilled one that looked like another hit until second baseman Michael Flax dove to his right to nab the liner to end the inning.
The Thunderbolts answered with a run in the top of the seventh to cut the lead to 3-2. Pat Hisle reached base on an error, stole second and reached third when the ball got away on his steal attempt. Jason Baytop Jr. came through later in the inning with a solid single to right field to count Hisle.
The River Dogs extended the lead back to two with two hits in their bottom of the seventh to make it a 4-2 game. The T-Bolts fielders were able choke off a big inning threat by executing their daily double play on the next batter: Flax to Hisle to Heleine.
In the eighth inning, the home team scored three more to put the game away.
Notes: Robert Lucido began the game by reaching base to make it nine consecutive games that he has reached base on his first at bat when batting first in the batting order. With one RBI tonight, Jason Baytop now has 14 RBI for the season to tie him for second best in the CRBCL. Baytop still leads the league in home runs (4) and has the sixth best batting average in the CRCBL (.328). Robert Lucido drew one walk tonight to up his lead league in passes to 16. Brodie Leftridge, expected to play his last game tonight, opted to rest in order to prepare for an early start and long road trip to Tennessee on Saturday morning. Once again, we wish Brodie the very best in his scholastic and athletic career at the University of Tennessee.
T-Bolts Lose to Big Train 10-5
By Gary Sarnoff
June 26, 2014, Silver Spring, Maryland. The Bethesda Train is now 17-1 and have won eleven in a row. On Thursday evening at Montgomery Blair Stadium, our Thunderbolts lost, 10-5, to become the latest victim of Bethesda Juggernaut. T-Bolts head coach Doug Remer liked the way his team battled and never gave up, even when down, 10-1, but the head coach also offers no excuses for missed opportunities in the early going. “You can’t do that against a team like the Big Train,” he said after the game.
Remer admitted that something else was on his mind. In the bottom of the third, T-Bolts infielder Jake MacWilliam (Sam Houston) tumbled over the first base bag when running out a dropped third strike. He fell heavily to the ground, then rolled on the turf three or four times while clutching his knee. After the game, T-Bolts trainer Danielle Ulekowski said she was unsure of the extent of the injury, but Remer and all who are concerned about the T-Bolts kept MacWilliam in the back of their minds throughout the evening.
The home team missed chances early on when the outcome was still in doubt. Robert Lucido (Amherst) led off the bottom of the first with a two-base hit, but the T-Bolts were unable to capitalize. In the T-Bolts third, the first two batters reached base, however, a double play nullified a potential rally, and two were left on base in the home half of the fifth and sixth innings.
The Thunderbolts saved their best offensive for their last at bat, when they batted around for the third time this season. Trailing, 10-1, in the bottom of the ninth, Michael Flax (LaSalle) coaxed a walk, moved to second on a groundout, and advanced to third on Clay Keranen’s first hit of the night. Jason Baytop Jr. (St. Augustine’s) followed by reaching base on the Big Train’s fourth error of the game. Flax scored on the miscue, giving Baytop his second RBI of the game. Dominic Zaher (Fisher College) singled to load the bases for Jake Taylor, and the big infielder broke his 0-for-6 slump with a hit to right field to score Keranen and Baytop with the second and third runs of the inning. Following the second out of the inning, Daniel Heleine (University of West Virginia) singled to score the forth and final run of the rally.
Michael Austin (Bethune- Cookman), the starting pitcher for the T-Bolts, blanked the Big Trains in the first inning. In the top of the second, the 6-5 275 pound Bethesda first baseman Wes Rae connected and sent a long drive over the 362 sign in left field to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. In the next fame, Austin walked two, but was aided when the T-Bolts infield turned an inning ending double play: Keranen to MacWilliam to Taylor. Then the T-Bolts batters went to work.
MacWilliam was called safe on the play at first base that resulted in his injury. Lucido then laid down a beautiful bunt, forcing the first baseman to field the ball and the pitcher to cover the first base bag. The speedy T-Bolts catcher won the foot race to the base to put runners on first and second with nobody out. A double play ruined the chance for a big inning, but Baytop followed with a single to salvage a run to tie the game, 1-1.
In the next inning, the Big Train appeared to be in for a rally that would quickly put the game away. However, two key defensive plays kept the Thunderbolts in the game. Two hits, and intentional pass, and a sacrifice fly gave the Big Trains a 2-1 lead. Then with runners on second and third, another hit scored another run, but on the play the runner on second attempted to score against the rocket arm of Brodie Leftridge. The strong-armed centerfielder threw home, and on the throw it appeared that the cutoff man on the play, Jake Taylor, would make the cutoff, but instead Taylor faked making the play and let the ball through. Lucido caught the ball on the second bounce and applied the tag on the runner for the out. On the next play, the runner on first tried to steal, but was gunned out by the T-Bolts catcher to end the inning.
In the top of the fifth, the Big Train went to work again by loading the bases with nobody out. A walk sandwiched between two strikeouts scored a run, and another run scored when first baseman Jake Taylor missed on a backhanded stab attempt on a grounder. Another run by Bethesda in the next inning made it a 6-1 game, and the route was on. In the top of the eighth, the visitors sent ten men to the plate in a four run rally for a 10-1 lead.
Notes: Brodie Leftridge (University of Tennessee) received a special salute this evening when the crowd took a moment to applaud him for his outstanding work this summer. Leftridge played his last home game of the summer against the Big Train. He will play in Friday’s game at Vienna, and then will leave Maryland to begin his scholastic career at the University of Tennessee. The Thunderbolts return home on Saturday evening to play the Gaithersburg Giants, who by the way are the only team to defeat the Big Train this season. Robert Lucido has reached base in eight consecutive games in his first at bat of the game when batting first in the lineup.
Thunderbolts Win, 3-1, In Rain Shortened Game
By Gary Sarnoff
June 25, 2014, Rockville, Maryland. It was the Thunderbolts hitters turn to shine against Rockville on Wednesday night. A day after Brandon Benson belted four hits and Chris Miller made two of his own in Rockville’s twelve-hit attack in their 6-4 win at Montgomery Blair Stadium on Tuesday evening, Jason Baytop Jr. (St. Augustine’s) went 3-for-3 and Brodie Leftridge (University of Tennessee) was 2-for-2 in the Thunderbolts 3-1 win at Rockville. And while Baytop and Leftridge were the batting heroes, the stars from the night before, Mr. Benson and Mr. Miller, struck out for a combined four times and went hitless. They can thank starting and winning pitcher Brandon Holsworth (Gallaudet) and reliever Garrett Pearson for that.
Holsworth, who won his second game of the season, played no favoritism with the Express lineup. He did not allow a hit or issue one pass threw the first three innings. The Express, who needed time to solve the pitcher Holsworth riddle, were able to get a runner on base in each of the first three innings through the generosity of three errors by the T-Bolts. However, the first two base runners were left on base, and the third Express player fortunate to reach base was gunned down by catcher Robert Lucido (Amherst) in a steal attempt.
The Thunderbolts, now with a 7-9 season record, wasted no time in scoring the game’s first run. Lucido lead off the game by reaching base on a walk. He advanced to second base on a wild pitch and scored on Baytop’s first of three hits. Two innings later, Baytop singled and Dominick Zaher (Fisher College) smacked a two base hit to score Baytop to make it 2-0, Good Guys.
In the Rockville fourth, the Express finally put a man on base when Holsworth issued a leadoff walk. That brought up Benson, but Holsworth induced the league’s leading hitter to ground out. The next batter, another dangerous batter in Chris Miller, struck out for the second straight time. And a line out to second baseman Jake MacWilliam (Sam Houston) ended the inning.
Kyle Norman (University of San Francisco) singled to begin the top of the fifth and advanced to second on a passed ball. Lucido followed with a hit to score Norman to make it 3-0 lead. After an out, Baytop followed with his third hit of the game, but the threat ended when the next two T-Bolts flew out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Express finally broke through against Holsworth with one run on four consecutive hits. With one out, the eight and nine hitters in the batting order singled, however, the number nine hitter’s hit was nullified when Officer Lucido gunned a pick off throw to first baseman Jake Taylor, who applied the tag for the second out of the inning. The next two batters singled to score Rockville’s first run and put runners on first and second, but the inning ended with a fly ball to right fielder Jason Baytop.
Mr. Benson and Mr. Miller were due up to lead off the Express’ sixth inning. Holsworth worked Benson to a full count when head coach Doug Remer decided to call on Garret Pearson (Virginia Commonwealth University) in a surprise relief role. Inheriting Holsworth’s full count on Benson, Pearson needed just one pitch for strike three.
Chris Miller hit a foul ball, took two balls, swung and missed for strike two, then swung and missed again to become Pearson’s second strikeout victim and second out of the inning.
The next batter worked the count to 2-2 when the Express head coach decided to take a page from Coach Remer’s book by sending up a pinch batter. The new batter saw one pitch, waved and missed, and that was that. The game was called complete after six innings, and our T-Bolts won, 3-1, for their seventh win of the season.
Notes: The Bethesda Big Trains chugs into Montgomery Blair Stadium on Thursday night. The Big Train are 16-1 and currently riding a ten-game-winning-streak. The Big Trains are first in the standings, first in the league in hitting, pitching, and attendance. Michael Austin (Buthune-Cookman) is scheduled to be the starting pitcher versus Bethesda. He will be opposed by Kit Scheetz, who is 3-0 on the season.
Thunderbolts Defeated by Rockville 6-4
By Gary Sarnoff
June 23, 2014, Herndon, Virginia. Make way for the new Expressway, as in Rockville Express. They have won seven of their last ten since their 2-4 start to begin the season, and with a 6-4 win tonight at Montgomery Blair Stadium over our Thunderbolts, they are now tied for second in the CRCBL. The Express won this evening with a strong offensive – led by their shortstop and league’s leading hitter, Brandon Benson – and a good starting pitching performance turned in by Rhyan Karr.
The Thunderbolts had their moments: at the plate and in the field. The offense did score four runs on six hits, while the fielders made good on all but one fielding chance and executed two double plays. What did in the T-Bolts tonight was a missed opportunity for a big inning in their first at bat and a four-run Rockville rally in the top of the third.
Robert Lucido (Amherst) began the home half of the first inning by reaching base on an error, and when Clay Keranen (Liberty) followed with a sharp single to right, there was a feeling about a big inning, even after Jason Baytop Jr. hit into a fielder’s choice for the first out. Dominic Zaher (Fisher College) and Jake Taylor (Flagler University) both walked to force home the game’s first run, but then came a double play to end the inning with only a 1-0 lead. It quickly became 2-zip when Brodie Leftridge (University of Tennessee) hit the first offering by Rhyan Karr in the next inning over the leftfield fence for his first career CRCBL home run.
Thunderbolts starting pitcher Robert Galligan (University of Maryland) breezed through the first inning by retiring the Express in order on just ten pitches. The second inning began less promising when the first two Express batters singled. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners into scoring position and set the stage for a most unusual play. The next batter grounded to T-Bolts third baseman Pat Hisle (University of Maryland), who threw home to trap the lead runner between third base and the plate. Catcher Robert Lucido tried to apply the tag as he ran the base runner back to third base, but missed. As he continued in pursuit of the runner, he noticed the runner on second heading to third base, thus creating a situation of having two base runners on the third base bag. “The front runner has priority,” noted the T-Bolts catcher, but to be safe, he tagged both runners as they stood on the same base. “You’re out, you’re safe,” third base umpire Tom Hall shouted while pointing at each runner to be sure they understood the ruling. Both base runners meant to oblige, however, the runner who was called out remained on the bag while the runner told that he was safe began to saunter back to the Rockville dugout. Lucido responded by applying the tag on the base runner who wondered off the base to complete a double play.
Galligan and the T-Bolts were able to dodge trouble in that second inning, but were less fortunate in the next inning when the Express sent eight batters to the plate. A walk, a hit, a double, and another double scored three runs before an out was recorded. The fifth batter of the inning grounded out to second, but that was all for Mr. Galligan. Head coach Doug Remer immediately called on pitcher Nick Moylan (University of Delaware) to extinguish the fire. The first batter he faced was the red-hot Brandon Benson, and the star shortstop made his second hit in a row to score another run to make it 4-2 in favor of Rockville. The Express then upped the ante with another one in the seventh inning when Jason Baytop barely missed on a diving grab on a long RBI hit by Benson.
Express starting pitcher Karr was tough after serving up the homer to Leftridge. The right-handed flinger did not allow another hit until Jake MacWilliam (Sam Houston) doubled in the bottom of the seventh. At that time, the Rockville manager, most likely noting that his first pitcher’s pitch count was getting rather high (86 to be exact), decided it was time to make a call to the bullpen. Brodie Leftridge greeted the new pitcher with a hot grounder that shortstop Benson was unable to handle. The ball rolled out just far enough into leftfield to allow MacWilliam to round third and cross home to cut the lead to 5-3. Pat Hisle followed with a sacrifice bunt back to the pitcher, which was converted into an out, but noticing third base was left unguarded, Leftridge rounded second and kept going. An Express fielder quickly responded by breaking to the base, took a throw from the first baseman, but was still too far from the base to apply the tag on Leftridge.
As the crowd cheered, and the Express fielders tried to figure out what had just happened, Leftridge pulled another rabbit out of his hat by breaking for the plate, and he scored without a play to make it a one-run game. The reality of a possible Thunderbolts win took shape when Leftridge (who had shifted from centerfield to pitcher in the top of the seventh) retired the Express in order in the top of the eighth. With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Jake Taylor doubled to the 403 sign in straightaway centerfield. But another hit needed to delivery Taylor with the tying run did not come about. MacWilliam and Leftridge both grounded out to end the inning.
A two-out hit in the top of the ninth scored the last Express run of the evening for a 6-4 lead. Robert Lucido doubled with two down in the T-Bolts ninth, but the game ended when the next batter grounded out.
Notes: The Express have four of the league’s top eight hitters in their starting lineup. Shortstop Benson is currently hitting .413 to lead the league. This Benson is going to make Rockville fans forget about their all-star shortstop form the last two seasons, Will Kengor, who by the way, was recently drafted by the Tigers in the 28th round. Not only is Benson hitting over .400, he leads all CRCBL shortstops in assists and is second in the league in putouts. All good things must come to an end, and Baytop’s ten-game hitting streak was snapped this evening. Jake Taylor has put eighty-three points onto his batting average in a little over a week. “I’m feeling more relaxed,” Taylor says about his improved hitting. It also should be noted that Taylor has hit three double in his last two games. In the top of the fifth, Benson recorded his third consecutive hit of the game with a single to right. On the play, the runner on second rounded third and attempted to score, but was out when right fielder Jason Baytop (St. Augustine’s) uncorked a strike to Officer Lucido for the 9-2 putout. The Thunderbolts travel to Rockville tomorrow night to play the Express on their home turf. Brandon Holsworth (Gallaudet) is slated to be the starting pitcher. The T-Bolts return home on Thursday evening to play the first place Bethesda Big Train.
Great Catch Saves the Day for the T-Bolts
By Gary Sarnoff
June 23, 2014, Herndon, Virginia. An experienced Hollywood movie writer would have a difficult time in creating a script with a more dramatic ending than how the final out played out in the Thunderbolts 3-0 win at Herndon this evening. “A little too much for one to take, but it’s all right,” said T-Bolts infielder Jake Taylor, who had two hits and scored a run in tonight’s win. Pitcher Brandon Holsworth also expressed his feelings by tapping his chest to indicate how worm out he felt from the excitement.
With two outs, two runners on base in the bottom of the ninth, and with Brian Burns, who was 3-for-5 this evening, at the plate, Thunderbolts closer Conner Tagg (Case Western) delivered what would be his final pitch. Burns swung and sent a deep fly ball to straight away centerfield that St. Louis Cardinals broadcaster Mike Shannon would have called “a peck of trouble.” As the players in both dugouts and every fan in the stands held their breath, T-Bolts centerfielder Kyle Norman (University of San Francisco) drifted back to the fence. “I thought it was long gone,” Norman admitted after the game, “but then I saw that the ball was dying. I put my right hand on the top of the fence and thought, ‘Oh Gosh, it is going to be close.’” Norman then extended his glove hand, perfectly timed his leap, and made the unbelievable catch over the wall to end the game. “It was the best feeling I ever had after a game,” said the centerfielder.
Kyle Norman’s play may prove to be one of the best and most important of the season for the T-Bolts. For his game-ending catch to clinch the victory moved the Thunderbolts past Herndon and Vienna (who lost tonight to the Orioles) and into sixth place in the CRCBL. That means that if the current standings hold true through July, the T-Bolts would be heading to the playoffs. The win was also the second in a row for the Thunderbolts, which might sound ho-hum, but two in a row equals the longest winning-streak for Silver Spring-Takoma this season. The shutout win is the first for the T-Bolts since Doug Fusco blanked these Braves here on July 13th last season in a seven inning game. Hunter Englehardt pitched the last shutout prior to that in 2010, also a seven-inning affair. One has to go back to the last decade to see when the last time a T-Bolt team won by a shutout in a nine-inning game, like tonight, unless you want to count the 3-0 preseason game win over the Rockville Express back on May 31st.
While Kyle Norman made the heroic catch, the star of the game was Greg Jakusik (Stevens Technology), who threw ninety-eight pitches in seven innings and struck out eleven. The game did not start off very well for him as the first Braves batter of the game singled and the next batter reached base a sacrifice bunt attempt that went for a base hit. But Jukasic kept his poise and whiffed the next three batters to retire the side.
In the second inning, Jakusik did not record a strikeout, but retired the opposition on just five pitches. After that he recorded at least one strikeout in every inning, except for the bottom of the sixth, the only inning he encountered trouble. The Thunderbolts posted two runs with the help of three consecutive hits in their half of the second [the fourth time this season the T-Bolts have recorded three hits in a row this season]. Dominic Zaher (Fisher College) singled and scored on Jake Taylor’s line drive double off the Babe Ruth sign on the left-center field wall. Daniel Heleine (University of West Virginia) followed with a single to move Taylor to third. Then catcher Carson Kenny (Trinity), playing in his first game this season, grounded to the shortstop. Taylor charged for home, but the throw beat him to the plate. However, Taylor made a hard slide to jar the ball loose and register the second run of the frame.
After that the Silver Spring-Takoma bats were silent until the sixth inning, when Taylor smacked another double, this one high off the twenty foot wall in left field. The T-Bolts were also able to put runners on base in the seventh and eighth innings, but had no additional runs to show for it. In the top of the ninth, with the T-Bolts still holding a 2-0 lead, Jason Baytop Jr. (St. Augustine’s), the leagues leading home run hitter, stepped to the plate. The star outfielder was hitless in the game and in jeopardy of losing his nine-game hitting-streak. However, he extended that by striding into a pitch to his liking and delivering the ball to the trees beyond the miniature Green Monster in left field for his fourth home run of the season.
With the exception Brian Burns, the Herndon Braves were unable to figure out how to get on base against Jakusik. In the bottom of the sixth, Jaksuic appeared to be tiring. Burns started the inning by registering his third hit of the game. Two outs later, another singled move Burns to third base. Then a walk loaded the bases, but the next batter lined one back to Jakusik, who snared the ball to end the inning.
Jakusic struck out the side in the following inning, including Burns for the final out of the frame. In the bottom of the eighth, Doug Remer turned the game over to his bullpen. Brodie Leftridge (University of Tennessee) got the call, and the center fielder who sometimes works out of the bullpen was aided by a great stop and throw by shortstop Clay Keranen (Liberty). On that play Keranen ranged to his right and made a nifty backhanded stop, fell to a knee, and then made a strong throw to first to get the runner. Leftridge followed by striking out the last two batters to end the inning. Remer then called on closer Connor Tagg to close out the Braves in the ninth. He walked the leadoff batter, got a fielder’s choice, then he hit a batter with a pitch to put runners on first and second. A long fly to right was caught by Baytop Jr. for the second out of the inning. That’s when Kyle Norman made the brilliant catch the end the game.
Notes: A Braves front office official informs us that a home run robbery was turned in by an outfielder for the DC Grays earlier this season at Herndon. This outfielder was literally atop of the fence, his feet in the air, as he reached over the barrier to make the catch. Jake Taylor (Flagler University) had two hits tonight, as did Clay Keranen for his second multi-hit game of the season. Anyone know if Jakusic’s eleven strikeouts a league or T-Bolts team record? Your correspondent checked his scorebooks but was unable to locate a game where a pitcher topped that. Last season at Montgomery Blair Stadium, Tayler Stiles struck out 9 in seven innings versus these Herndon Braves. The Thunderbolts play back-to-back, home-and-home games with the Rockville Express. The Express play at Montgomery Blair Stadium on Tuesday and the T-Bolts play at Rockville on Wednesday. And on Thursday night the Bethesda Big Train are at Montgomery Blair Stadium to take on our T-Bolts.
T-Bolts Snap Losing Streat Versus Two-Time League Champs
By Gary Sarnoff
June 22, 2014. Silver Spring, Maryland. It’s a brand new day and the sun is shinning in the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts camp. After eight consecutive against the Redbirds dating back two years, including dropping all four games verses the Redbirds in 2013, and following a one-run loss in eleven innings prior to the scheduled contest, the Thunderbolts have defeated the Baltimore Redbirds. They did it with the missing ingredients from the eight prior ball games: great team defense, solid pitching, and timely hitting. In addition, the T-Bolts properly executed one of those plays to change the complexion of the ballgame.
That key play occurred in the top of the sixth inning. The visiting Redbirds, trailing to our T-Bolts, 3-2, had loaded the bases with two outs when Baltimore outfielder Tyler Ramirez singled to centerfield to score the runner on third to tie the game, 3-3. As Thunderbolts centerfielder Brodie Leftridge (University of Tennessee) fielded the ball, the Redbirds runner on second rounded third and attempted to score against one of the best throwing outfielders in the CRCBL.
Flashback: Last Thursday night, it was the bottom of the fifth; the Thunderbolts ahead, 1-0. With runners on first and second, a Grays’ batter singled to centerfield. With the question to as if the runner on second would round third and try to score, Leftridge fielded the ball and then held it in the air, as if he dared the Grays third base coach to send the runner (or more likely, to show catcher Robert Lucido that he was going to throw home). Leftridge uncorked a powerful throw that plunged into Lucido’s big catcher’s mitt with a loud “pop.” Luckily for the Grays, the base coach held the runner. The next batter flew out to Baytop Jr. in deep right field to end the inning with no harm done.
Now back to this evening: A different story. The third base coach elected to send the runner around third, and the result was a Leftridge threw to Lucido (Amherst), who applied the tag for the 8-2 putout to end the inning. The textbook fielding play of Leftridge to Lucido seemed to fire up the T-Bolts, and relief pitcher Jordan Church (Sam Houston), who followed by throwing his best two innings of the summer. The Thunderbolts’ batters went to work and produced the go-ahead run in their half of the sixth and another run in the next inning.
The evening began with the conclusion of the suspended game from June 10th. Although the game was continued at Montgomery Blair Stadium, the Redbirds acted as the home team since that June 10th game was at their home field. The two teams picked up where the game had ended, which was after the completion of the eighth inning. Therefore, the T-Bolts started the night be batting in the top of the ninth, but went down in order. They also went three and out in the tenth. In the top of the eleventh, Rich Condeelis Jr. (Lackawanna) drew a leadoff walk, took second on an out, but was left on base.
Michael Austin (Bethune-Cookman) took care of the Redbirds in the bottom of the ninth and tenth innings. Brodie Leftridge was then sent to the mound in the bottom of the twelfth. He recorded one out, gave up a hit, recorded the second out of the frame, but then gave way to another hit which drove home the winning run.
Danny O’Donnell (Gallaudet), in search of his third win of the summer, took the hill in the scheduled game and shutout the Redbirds through the first four innings. He departed after the top of the fourth and Jordan Church came on in relief. Church started slowly, then perhaps inspired by that play at the plate, finished strong.
The Thunderbolts batters had been humbled, manhandled, and shutout through six innings [the ninth, tenth, and eleventh innings of the suspended game and the first three in this one]. In the last of the fourth, the T-Bolts finally scored when Dominic Zaher (Fisher College) walked, Jake Taylor (Flagler) singled to advance Zaher to third, and a sacrifice fly by Jake McWilliam (Sam Houston) counted Zaher for a 1-0 lead. In the top of the fifth, the guests responded with two runs, aided by two walks and a wild pitch, which made the one and only hit of the inning more productive.
Trailing 2-1 in their half of the fifth, the Thunderbolts hope to at least tie the game appeared to die when Leftridge was thrown out at the plate while trying to score from third on a grounder. The T-Bolts leftfielder had led of the inning with a hit, went to second on a sacrifice, stole third, and then was out trying to score. The T-Bolts did not give up. A walk to Baytop Jr. (St. Augustine’s) kept the inning alive and put runners on first and second, and then Dominic Zaher launched a double to left field to clear the bases for a 3-2 T-Bolts lead.
The Redbirds tied the game in their next at bat, but a play at the plate that nullified the go head run served as the game’s turning point. In the bottom of the inning, the T-Bolts retook the lead when MacWilliam made his second single of the game, stole second, moved to third on a groundout, and scored on a wild pitch. In the top of the seventh, Church sent the Redbirds down in order.
In the last of the seventh, the T-Bolts added another one for a 5-3 lead. Leftridge walked, Keranen (Liberty) singled, and Baytop doubled to score Leftridge. Church did his job in the top of the eighth by sending the opposition down in order (two by strikeout) and that set the table for team closer Connor Tagg (Case Western), who retired three in a row for the win and for his league-leading second save of the season
T-Bolts Win, T-Bolts Win
By Gary Sarnoff
June 20, 2014, Silver Spring, Maryland. Thunderbolts head coach Doug Remer called Friday evening’s 4-3 victory over the Aces “a great team effort. “And not just by the starters,” added the head coach, who was in good spirits following his teams fourth win of the season. The most notable reserves to contribute this evening were Brodie Leftridge (U of Tennessee) and relief pitchers Greg Jakusic (Stevens Technology) and Conner Tagg (Case Western). It was Leftridge who entered the contest as a pinch-runner and scored the winning run, while Jukisic and Tagg held the Aces in check for the last three innings.
The notables in the Thunderbolts starting lineup tonight begins with starting pitcher Garret Pearson. “He is going to fight for us when he is out there,” said Remer, and he did that tonight. Making his first career start at Montgomery-Blair Stadium, the VCU-bound freshman threw 54 strikes on 86 total pitches in six-innings of work. He struck out four and did not issue a single base on balls. When he departed two-thirds of the way through the game, the T-Bolts were ahead, 3-2, and Pearson was in position to pick up his first win of the campaign. However, the Aces managed to tie the game with a run in the top of the eighth.
Although a few mistakes were marked in the scorebook, the Thunderbolts defense was solid. First baseman Jake Taylor (Flagler) picked a few pegs out of the dirt and stretched for a few other throws to record the putouts, Jason Baytop Jr. made a grab at the right field fence after a long run on a deep fly ball, and the infield executed by turning their daily double play.
The offense was less impressive, although Remer feels it is just a matter of time. “We are still making adjustments,” he noted. “It is not going to happen in just two weeks,” Bill Wright, the Thunderbolts hitting instructor, who worked with designated hitter Rich Condeelis Jr. (Lackawanna) on his stance in between innings, agrees. “He’s adjusting pretty well,” he said about his student of the evening.
Starting catcher Robert Lucido, Jr. (Amherst), who led the offensive by getting on base three times tonight, scored the game’s first run for the second game in a row. In the bottom of the first, the T-Bolts catcher took first base after a hit-by-pitch. He advanced to second on a wild pitch, then to third when Clay Keranen (Liberty) grounded out to the right side of the infield, and he scored when Jake McWilliam (Sam Houston) followed with a groundout.
The Aces tied the score in their half of the fourth on a double, groundout, and sacrifice fly, but the game quickly became untied when the T-Bolts responded in the bottom of the fourth. Jake Taylor singled and Jason Baytop Jr. (St. Augustine’s) doubled down the left field line to put runners at second and third with nobody out. Rich Condeelis, Jr., followed with a grounder that was earmarked for a hit to right field. The Aces first baseman made a diving stop, got up, threw home for a play at the plate. Taylor slid, appeared to get under the catcher’s tag, but the home plate umpire rung him up. It was a call that was none too popular with the home crowd, or with Taylor, but it was soon forgotten when Michael Flax (LaSalle) scored Baytop Jr. on a fielder’s choice to give reclaim the lead for the Thunderbolts.
In the T-Bolts’ fifth, Kyle Norman (U of San Francisco) advanced to first on a hit-by-pitch. Lucido and Keranen followed with back-to-back singles to load the bases with nobody out. Dominic Zaher (FisherCollege) grounded into a twin-killing, which snuffed the chance for a big inning, nevertheless, a run scored on the play to make it 3-1, T-Bolts.
In the top of the sixth – Garret Pearson’s last inning of work for the evening – the Aces scored one to cut the lead to 3-2. That lead appeared to be safe after Jakusic took care of business and the Aces in the next inning with the help of a T-Bolts Flax to Keranen to Taylor double play (that’s 4-6-3 if you are scoring at home). After that, things appeared to be in hand, especially when T-Bolts next pitcher, Connor Tagg, retired the first two batters in the top of the eighth. But the inning was extended when Aces leading hitter Danny Bermudez singled. That was followed by the weirdest play of the game, and perhaps the season.
The next batter singled to left field. The T-Bolts left fielder was in position to play the ball on the hop, but the ball did not hop. Instead it took a strange skip by the fielder and rolled toward the fence, thus allowing Bermudez to score all the way from first base. When the ball was retrieved and returned to the infield, the batter was on second base, a result of a hit and error. Then the Aces batter who had reached second base took a lead off the bag. On cue, second baseman Michael Flax ran toward the runner and applied the tag for what appeared to be an out on the old hidden ball trick. The infield umpire, his back to the play, never saw the tag, but made a ruling anyway, and it was unfavorable to the T-Bolts when he called a balk and rewarded third base to the runner. Doug Remer immediately emerged from the dugout to protest. When he finished with his closing argument, the umpires conferred to discuss the case and then delivered their verdict. The ruling was that time out was still in effect. Therefore the runner was sent back to second base and play resumed as if nothing had happened. Tagg then induced the next batter to groundout to end the inning.
In the last of the eighth, Jake Taylor coaxed a one-out walk. General Remer responded by sending in Leftridge to pinch run, and the strategy paid off to win the battle. Knowing of the fast Brodie Leftridge’s reputation of burning up the base paths, Aces pitcher Andrew Witczak threw to first base four or five times to keep the runner close to the base. But perhaps thinking too much, the hurler committed a balk to permit Leftridge to advance into scoring position. Condeelis then hit a hard grounder. The second baseman was there to make the play, but failed to get his glove down. The ball ricocheted off of his leg and into right field. Leftridge rounded third and crossed home to score what proved to be the winning run.
In the ninth inning, Tagg struck out the first two batters and got the last out when Leftridge caught a line drive in centerfield for the 4-3 victory.
Notes: Robert Lucido is 3 for his last 7 and is now hitting .318. “That’s why he (Lucido) is here this season,” said Remer. “He finished strong last season.” Jason Baytop Jr. got a hit tonight to extend his hitting streak to eight consecutive games. Baytop has hit safely in all but three games this season: the first game of the season because he did not play, the game versus the Big Train when he made one at bat as a pinch hitter, and at Alexandria. The Thunderbolts are off tomorrow. They return to action on Sunday at Montgomery-Blair Stadium versus the two-time champions, the Baltimore Redbirds. Danny O’Donnell (Gallaudet), 2-0 this season, is the scheduled starting pitcher. Before the regularly scheduled game, the two teams will complete their suspended game played on June 10th at Baltimore. That suspended will be resumed with the two teams tied, 3-3, and the T-Bolts coming to bat in the top of the ninth.
Grays Score 3 in the 8th for a 3-2 Win Over Thunderbolts
By Gary Sarnoff
June 19, 2014. Washington, D.C. For the second consecutive evening, the long ball defeated the Thunderbolts. Heading into the bottom of the eighth on Thursday evening at the brand new Washington Nationals Baseball Academy, the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts were clinging to a 1-0 lead. There was one out, a runner on first, and relief pitcher Robert Galligan had a 2-and-1 count on the Grays next batter, Joe Tietjen. Then the complexion of the ballgame changed with one swing of the bat on the next pitch.
Galligan threw a curveball; Tietjen swung and sent a long fly to left field. As the ball sailed through the air, the Grays fans cheered while the T-Bolts fans groaned, and when the ball landed in the home team’s bullpen beyond the leftfield wall, the Thunderbolts found themselves trailing by a run. After Galligan retired the next batter for the second out of the inning, and with the T-Bolts fans discussing who was due up in the top of the ninth, the Grays struck again to extend the lead to 3-1. A single, a steal, and a double produced the all-important insurance run, which paid off handsomely for the Grays.
Trailing for the first time when coming to bat in the top of the ninth, the T-Bolts had their work cut out for them. With one out, Jason Baytop Jr. (St. Augustine’s) belted a one-strike fastball over the 326 sign in straight away left field. The circuit blast barely cleared the fence, but when it disappeared over the barrier, a roar came up from the guest’s dugout that let everyone know that the T-Bolts when not going down quietly.
T-Bolts head coach Doug Remer then played his hand by sending up Brian Ruditys (Quinnipiac) to bat for Pat Hisle. And pinch-batter Ruditys did his job by drawing a walk. He moved into scoring position on a ground out by Brodie Leftridge (Tennessee), but was left on base when Robert Lucido (Amherst) swung and missed on a 0-2 pitch to end the game and cap another heartbreaking defeat for our T-Bolts.
T-Bolts starting pitcher Brandon Holsworth pitched well, and in fact, it is a shame he did not get the win. The conference pitcher-of-the-year at Gallaudet University allowed just two hits and kept the Grays off the scoreboard through six innings.
The Thunderbolts scored in their first at bat of the evening. Lucido led off with a single through the middle, and then was off and running and made it to second base with his sixth stolen base of the season. Clay Keranen (Liberty) followed by purposely surrendering himself with a ground ball to the right side of the infield, allowing Lucido to take third. Another ground out, this one by Jake MacWilliam (Sam Houston), scored the T-Bolts backstop to give tonight’s guests a 1-0 lead.
A 1-0 margin looked as if it might hold up by the way Holsworth began his starting assignment. He retired the Grays in their first two at bats on just eleven pitches. In the third inning the Grays managed to get two aboard with a walk and a scratch hit after two were out, but Holsworth got the last out to end the inning. Two innings later, the Grays loaded the bases on a clean hit to centerf ield and two hit batsmen. Then Grays’ first baseman Wes Bobo hit a high fly to right field that looked like trouble. Baytop Jr. turned and ran back to the wall, then took a few steps forward to camp beneath the ball and made the catch in front of the warning track.
Holsworth coasted through the sixth inning (his last inning of work) by sending the Grays down in order. Galligan came on and struck out two in the bottom of the seventh to help preserve the one-run advantage. Then the fatal eighth inning followed.
Notes: Thunderbolts fans are in for a treat on Friday evening at Montgomery-Blair Stadium when the T-Bolts take on the Alexandria Aces. Garrett Pearson (VCU) is the scheduled starting pitcher, and he is something to see. This will be Pearson’s first home appearance of the season. Game time is set for 7:00. The Thunderbolts successfully handled all of their chances in the field this evening. The T-Bolts made just four total hits tonight. The hits were made by Lucido, Dominic Zaher (Fisher College), Pat Hisle (U of Maryland), and Baytop. The two home runs hitters tonight, Baytop Jr. and Tietjen, are tied for the league lead with two homers apiece (although Baytop has one more coming when the stats from the suspended T-Bolts- Redbirds game are counted after the game is officially completed on Sunday evening).
Layoff Hurts Thunderbolts
By Gary Sarnoff
June 18, 2014, Silver Spring, Maryland. One team looked flat and the other team was in sync at Montgomery Blair Stadium on Wednesday evening. The Baltimore Dodgers, defeated twice by the Thunderbolts and eight other opponents for ten straight losses to begin the 2014 season, played every day since losing here in Silver Spring last Saturday night, 5-3. On the other hand, the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts were idle on Monday and Tuesday. Combine that with rain outs last Thursday and Friday, and the T-Bolts have had played just two games in the last six days prior to this one. The layoff definitely showed this evening, and they became the first team to lose to the Baltimore Dodgers in 2014.
It was a long night for the Thunderbolts. Four pitchers gave way to nine runs on fifteen hits, including three home runs, to a team that ranked second to last in the league in runs scored. The T-Bolts committed three errors and made a few too many mistakes on the base paths. It all added up for a tough night in a 9-5 setback.
The Thunderbolts did show character by clawing their way back into the game after trailing 7-0 halfway through the contest. They managed to cut the lead to two by rallying for four runs in the fifth inning and one in the sixth. Trailing by four in the bottom of the ninth, the T-Bolts had two men on base when an error allowed one base runner to score, but the other base runner got hung up between second and third on the Dodgers miscue and became an easy out. Instead of having two runners on the bases with nobody out, there was a man on first with one out. The next two men were quietly retired, and that was that, a three run loss for the sixth T-Bolts defeat of the season.
A Dodgers two-run homer in the first and second innings off of starting and losing pitcher Joshua Grant (Pace) quickly got Silver Spring-Takoma into a hole. Three more hits produced another run against relief pitcher Jordan Church (Sam Houston) in the top of the fifth to make it 5-0. Through the first four innings the T-Bolts could only muster one hit – a double by T-Bolts centerfielder Brodie Leftridge (U of Tennessee). In the bottom of the fifth, Jake Taylor (Flagler) sent one to the fence in deep leftfield, but the opposing outfielder had just enough room to make the catch on the warning track. Then the T-Bolts offense went to work.
Leftridge sent one to deep leftfield, the outfielder having to no chance of catching this one. The ball hit the fence and the T-Bolts fast centerfielder made it to second for a double. Michael Flax followed with a single to score the T-Bolts’ first run of the game. Two wild pitches and an error on the Dodgers catcher allowed Flax to tally. Brian Ruditys (Quinnipiac) and Robert Clingerman (Marshall University) kept the inning alive by walking, and then Ruditys moved up to third on the third wild pitch of the inning. Clay Keranen (Liberty) singled to right to score Ruditys and a fielder’s choice counted Clingerman for the fourth run of the inning. Third baseman Jake MacWilliam (Sam Houston), making his season debut, hit into a fielder’s choice, Dominic Zaher (Fisher College) walked, and Pat Hisle (U of Maryland), pinch-running for McWilliam, stole third. But the inning ended when Jason Baytop Jr. (St. Augustine’s) flew out to leftfield.
Nick Moylan (U of Delaware), who entered the game in the top of the fifth, sent the Dodgers down in order in the top of the sixth, the first time the visitors were retired in order in the game. Now with the momentum teetering in the direction of the T-Bolts, the hometown scored one in the bottom of the sixth to make it a 7-5 game. Jake Taylor slammed a long drive that landed on the track in right-centerfield, hit the fence on one bounce, and Taylor made it to second base. Michael Flax singled again to drive in Taylor.
Moylan retired the first batter in the top of the seventh, but the next man up got hold of one and sent it over the leftfield fence for an 8-5 Dodgers lead. The T-Bolts went out in order in their half of the seventh.
The Dodgers added another run in the eighth for a 9-5 lead. Another walk for Ruditys, Clingerman’s first hit of the season, and an error produced the last Thunderbolts run of the evening.
Notes: Robert Lucido (Amherst) walked twice tonight and has three additional walks coming when the suspended Thunderbolts- Redbirds game from June 10th is completed this Sunday prior to the regularly scheduled T-Bolts-Redbirds game that evening. This means Lucido has 11 passes for the season, tops in the CRCBL. Lucido also stole one base tonight to give him five on the season. Leftridge also has five swipes and Baytop leads the team with 7. Catcher Robert Clingerman made his season debut when he replaced Lucido behind the plate in the top of the fourth inning. Clingerman finished the game by going 1-for-2 with a run. On Thursday evening the Thunderbolts venture to the new Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, located at 375 Ely Place SE in Washington DC, to take on the DC Grays at 7:00. Hank Thomas, grandson of pitching legend Walter Johnson, was on hand this evening. Mr. Thomas, the author of Walter Johnson: Baseball’s Big Train, is a T-Bolts fan and attends a few home games each summer.
Thunderbolts Take A 4-2 Lead After Six Innings But Lose By One
By Gary Sarnoff
June 15, 2014, Silver Spring, Maryland. The fielding and pitching that had sparkled in the Thunderbolts win on Saturday night was less impressive in a disappointing 7-6 loss before the second largest home crowd of the season at Montgomery Blair Stadium on Sunday evening. With a two-run lead two-thirds of the way through, the T-Bolts were victimized by two runs in the top of the seventh and a three-run rally in the top of the eighth to give the visiting Vienna River Dogs a 7-4 lead.
Relief pitcher Rich Condeelis Jr. (Lawkawanna) held the River Dogs scoreless in an eventful top of the ninth inning before the T-Bolts batters added to the festivities by scoring two to cut the lead to one. Condeelis, serving as tonight’s designated hitter, changed hats on the job by trading his cap for a batting helmet, then stepped to the plate to represent the game’s tying run, but lifted a pop fly to the right side which the first baseman corralled to end the the game in a 7-6 defeat of our Thunderbolts.
During the bottom of the ninth, with one out and Robert Lucido (Amherst) at the plate, both benches cleared and ultimately Vienna Head Coach Bruce Hall and T-Bolts Third Base Coach Phil Newman were ejected. When order was restored and play resumed, Lucido walked, as did the next batter, Clay Keranen (Liberty University). Jason Batop Jr. (St. Augustine’s) hit into a force out at second base with Lucido moving to third on the play. Then Baytop Jr. headed for second in a steal attempt. The catcher tried to head off the T-Bolts outfielder, but his heave sailed into the outfield as neither the shortstop nor the second baseman covered the base, thus allowing Lucido to score and Baytop to move up to third on the play. Baytom scored when the River Dogs pitcher made a wild pitch. That made it a one-run game, but Condeelis followed with the pop up for the third and final out to end the uprising
The visitors drew first blood with an unearned run in their half of the third inning. With two outs in that inning and a runner on third, the River Dogs’ chance add one more abruptly ended when the batter was declared out for using an illegal bat. The T-Bolts tied the score in the fourth inning when new recruit Dominic Zaher (Fisher College) launched one out of the confines of the Montgomery Blair playing field for a home run. The next time the River Dogs scored to take a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth, the T-Bolts responded by taking their first lead of the evening.
Lucido led of the Thunderbolts fifth with a walk and advanced to third on a double by Keranen. Baytop hit a fly out deep enough to score Lucido to tie the game. Kerannen advanced to third on a groundout, and then scored on an infield hit by Jake Taylor (Flagler). The Thunderbolts added insurance to the lead with one more in their next at bat.
In the bottom of inning number six, Lucido singled, stole second, and scored on Keranen’s third straight hit of the game. That made it 4-2 in favor of the T=Bolts.
University of Maryland pitcher Robert Galligan made is season debut by taking the mound in the top of the seventh. He encountered trouble by walking the first two batters he faced. A successful sacrifice followed to move up the runners, and then a pinch-hit single scored both runners to even the score, 4-4.
Galligan got into hot water in the top of the eighth by yielding back-to-back hits to the first two batters. The third of four errors on the night by the T-Bolts followed, and it was costly. For it allowed the go-ahead run to score and another runner to advance to third. After a steal of second base to put both runners into scoring position, a base hit backed the strategy by scoring the two runners to extend the lead to 7-4.
Notes: T-Bolts starting pitcher Michael Austin (Bethune-Cookman) allowed three hits, two walks and struck out four in four innings of work in his first start of the season. By going 3-for-4 tonight, Clay Karenan is now batting .417. Dominic Zaher, who hit .311 with three home runs at Fisher College in Boston this spring season, went 2-for-3 with a home run in his season debut. Chalk up another one for Jason Baytop Jr. who singled in his first at bat tonight to extend his hitting streak to five consecutive games. Lucido stole two bases to give him four on the season. Last season the speedy backstop stole 15 against CRCBL opponents. The T-Bolts were washed out last Thursday and Friday and they will be idle on Monday and Tuesday, courtesy of the schedule makers. They will return to action next Wednesday night when they host the Baltimore Dodgers at Montgomery Blair Stadium.
T-Bolts Defeat Dodgers With Total Team Effort
By Gary Sarnoff
June 14, 2014, Silver Spring, Maryland. You could not ask for a more balanced hitting attack than what the home team’s starting lineup displayed tonight at Montgomery Blair Stadium. All nine starters contributed a hit in the T-Bolts 5-3 win over the Baltimore Dodgers. No, that’s not at least one hit per player. That’s one hit apiece for all nine batsmen. “I like that,” said Remer, who seemed to get a kick of it.
Outfielders Brian Ruditys (Quinnipiac) and Brodie Leftridge (U of Tennessee) got the most of their one hit by driving home two runs apiece. The other T-Bolts’ run came courtesy of Leftridge, who did like Ricky Henderson season by scoring from first base with out the benefit of a hit to move him around the bases. The soon to be member of the University of Tennessee student body stole second and third and crossed home on a passed ball.
The Thunderbolts victory was also aided by the backing of good pitching performances from five members of their hurling staff. Danny O’Donnell (Gallaudet University) received his second starting assignment of the season and responded by pitching five strong innings to earn his second win of the season. Jordan Church (Sam Houston) followed by pitching the next two frames in his first appearance of the season. Nick Moylan (U of Delaware) followed by blanking the Dodgers in the top of the eighth, then Josh Kisamore (USC Beaufort) recorded two outs in his 2014 season debut in the ninth inning, and Connor Tagg (Case Western) recorded the last out of the game to earn the save.
Perhaps the biggest role in the win was played by the T-Bolts defense, which makes the T-Bolts defensive minded head coach very happy. “I love defense,” he said with a smile following the victory. This fielding performance turned in by the T-Bolts was one that the hometown crowd has not seen at Montgomery Blair in a long time. Three doubles plays were turned and not one error was committed by the hometown troops. In addition, third baseman Pat Hisle (U of Maryland) turned in a diamond gem with a diving stop to his left on a grounder followed by a strong throw to first base for the out.
The game began as if a pitcher’s dual was in store. It took until the bottom of the third, when Thunderbolts second baseman Jack Graham (Slippery Rock) recorded the game’s first hit. In the top of the fourth, the Dodgers got their first hit, courtesy of Erick Ferreras slapping Danny O’Donnell’s 59th pitch of the game into left field for a clean single. However, he was erased when the T-Bolts turned a ground ball by the next batter into an inning ending double play.
Rich Condeelis Jr. (Lackawanna) hit the first offering in the last of the fourth to the left-center field fence. The ball took one bounce before bouncing against the wire fence, and by the time the ball was fielded and returned to the infield, Conddelis Jr. was standing on second with a double. Jason Baytop Jr. (St. Augustine’s) followed by extending his hitting streak to four consecutive games with a single to right to put runners on the corners. Then the T-Bolts outfielder stole second to put both runners into scoring position, and Ruditys followed by poking a single to left field. Conddelis Jr. easily scored from third base, but Baytop Jr. had to dig hard and slide to beat the throw to the plate. It was a close play, but Baytop Jr. did cross home ahead of the throw and before the tag, but barely.
The Dodgers managed to cut the lead in half with a run in the top of the sixth. A hit, a steal, and a one-out single did the trick. But the Thunderbolts infield quickly ended the inning with another twin killing. In the bottom of the inning, Silver Spring-Takoma scored three runs to take a 5-1 lead.
Daniel Heleine (U of West Virginia), who was 1-for-17 in the early going of the season, launched a two-base hit to left-center field. Pat Hisle snapped a 1-for-9 slump with a single to right-centerfield. The Dodgers outfielder who fielded the ball made a strong throw to the plate to force Heleine to stop at third, however, the throw enabled Hisle to take second. hen cTame Brodie Leftridge, who was overdue, and he snapped his 0-for-15 slump with a single to left to score Helieine and Hisle. Leftridge proceeded to steal second and third and scored on a passed ball.
In the top of the ninth, with the game seemingly in hand, Josh Kisamore took the hill for his first appearance of the season. He walked two, struck out one, retired another batter, and had the next batter down to his last strike before his payoff pitch was lifted into leftfield for what looked like would be the last out of the game. Leftfielder Brian Ruditys was in position to make the catch; then hesitated as if he had lost the ball in the lights. When he was able to relocate the ball, he took two steps back, extended his arm in the air, but missed the catch. The ball fell behind him and two runs scored to make it a two-run game.
When the next batter was hit by a pitch to put two runners on the bases, and allow the go-head run to come to the plate, Remer called on Connor Tagg to extinguish the fire. The next batter lifted a pop fly into shallow right field that looked like it may spell trouble. Second baseman Jack Graham back peddled in an attempt to get under the ball; then stopped. Jason Baytop Jr. sprinted to his right from his position in right field, reached out and made a spectacular grab to end the game.
Notes: Gallaudet U. is in first place in the CRCBL with a 3-0 record. Or at least that’s one way to look at the fact that the two Gallaudet pitchers on the Thunderbolts staff – Brandon Holsworth and Danny O’Donnell – have combined for a 3-0 record this season. The fact that the GU Bisons pitchers have been showing up well in the early going is unsurprising to the T-Bolts head coach. “They have a good pitching coach at Gallaudet,” according to Remer. O’Donnell, three-game winner last season for the T-Bolts, has already won two in his first two starts of the 2014 campaign. Dad O’Donnell, who was on hand at Montgomery Blair stadium this evening to watch his son, was born in the shadows of Wrigley Field. Although he now lives in Maryland, he is still loyal to that North Side of Chicago team he had grown up with. Head Coach Doug Remer has been absent in the third base coach’s box for the last three games. When asked why he said that current third base coach Phil Newman is very experienced, and staying in the dugout during the T-Bolts turn at bat enables him to focus on the team’s personnel. The Thunderbolts are home on Sunday night versus the Vienna River Dogs. Game time is at 6:00.
T-Bolts/Aces June 13th game postponed
June 13, 2014, Silver Spring, Maryland. Tonight’s contest between the T-Bolts and the Aces in Alexandria has been postponed due to rain. The game will be rescheduled at a later date.
T-Bolts/Express June 12th game postponed
June 12, 2014, Silver Spring, Maryland. Tonight’s contest between the T-Bolts and the Rockville Express has been postponed due to poor field conditions. The game has been rescheduled for June 24th at Blair.
T-Bolts/Redbirds Suspended After 8 Innings, Tied at 3
By Gary Sarnoff
June 10, 2014, Baltimore, Maryland. The Silver Spring-Takoma boys of summer did not win tonight, but they did not lose. Prior to the lights being turned off at 11:00 due to “time restraints,” following 4 ½ hours at Carlos Crespino Stadium that included an eighty-nine minute rain delay and eight full innings of baseball, the issue went unsettled. With the two teams tied, 3-3, a suspended game was declared. The two teams will finish this game prior to one of the three remaining scheduled match-ups this season.
After a brief rain delay at the start of the game, the Thunderbolts began the game in good fashion when in the top of the first Jason Baytop Jr.(St. Augustine’s) deposited a Sean Kennedy pitch over the leftfield fence for his second round-tripper of the season. The score became 2-zip when in the top of the third, Robert Lucido Jr. (Amherst) walked and eventually came round to tally. In the top of the fourth, Pat Hisle (U of Maryland) got on base he hard way – hit by pitch. An error allowed him to come around and count for the third and final run for the T-Bolts.
T-Bolts starter Joshua Grant (Pace) pitched efficiently through three innings of work, which included a long rain delay. T-Bolts Head Coach Doug Remer turned the game over to Garrett Pearson (VCU) when Baltimore rallied for two runs to erase a 3-1 Thunderbolts advantage in the last of the fourth. With runners on first and third and only one out, and with a home crowd of over one-hundred howling for more, Pearson responded to the challenge by quickly getting two strikes past the next batter before inducing a shallow fly ball to right field that was not deep enough to score the runner on third. He then struck out Redbirds slugger Grady Sheets (a .375 hitter) to end the inning.
Pearson has yet to make a game appearance at Montgomery Blair Stadium this season, but Thunderbolts fans will enjoy what they see when head coach Doug Remer calls his number during a home game. Tonight he pitched in his second game of the season, allowing only one hit and striking out four in 3 2/3 innings. He did encounter two jams by walking three and hitting two batsmen, but each time the rangy right-hander snuffed the threat to keep the Thunderbolts in position to win the game. And right now a win over the CRCBL champions of the last two seasons would be great. For the T-Bolts lost all four encounters with the Redbirds last season and have not defeated them since June 7th, 2012.
Pearson sent the Redbirds down in order in the bottom of the fifth, but in the next inning the Redbirds knocked at the door again. With one out, Pearson plunked a batter and walked another one. But on ball four to the second hitter, the runner on first, unaware that ball four was called, attempted a steal. T-Bolts’ catcher Robert Lucido, also unaware, responded by heaving the ball to second base. The throw went into centerfield. The base runner then headed for third, but was thrown out on a perfect throw by centerfielder Brodie Leftridge (U of Tennessee), who had wisely backed up the play.
Following the out at third base for the second out of the inning, the next two batters reach base to load the bases, but Pearson averted danger by striking out Sheets again. In his last inning of work, Pearson again got into a jam, but he escaped with strikeout for the final out of the inning. In the bottom of the eighth, Remer turned the game over to Conner Tagg (Case Western), and like he other two pitchers before him, he got into a spot, but got two strikeouts, including one to end the inning.
Notes: Chalk up another two-hit game for Jason Baytop Jr. He went 2 for 3 tonight with his second home run of the season. He also counted for two of the five total hits for the T-Bolts tonight. Jake Taylor (Flagler), Kyle Norman (U of San Francisco), and Clay Keranen (Liberty U.) were the other members of the Thunderbolts lineup to get a hit. These Redbirds are plenty gritty and tough. Nine times their batters worked the pitch count to six or more during an at bat. The radar gun timed Garrett Pearson’s fastball at 91 MPH tonight. In the bottom of the second, Robert Lucido gunned down a would-be-stealer with a throw that was so perfect that the fielder at the receiving end did not even need to move his mitt to apply the tag. After swiping twelve bases the night before, the T-Bolts took just two tonight. Jason Baytop Jr. and Kyle Norman were the guilty parties. Yes, they have a collegiate summer league team in Victoria B.C. Canada, known as the Harbor Cats. Last night the Harbor Cats won before a home crowd of 3,338. The Thunderbolts will be at home three times this week. They host the Rockville Express on Thursday, Baltimore Dodgers on Saturday, and the Vienna River Dogs on Sunday. On Friday night they venture to Alexandria to take on the Aces.
T-Bolts Run, Run, and Run to Win, defeat Dodgers 7-2
By Gary Sarnoff
June 9, 2014, Hanover, Maryland.
When Coach Vince Lombardi told his Green Bay Packers to “Run to Win” prior to their playoff victory over the LA Rams in the 1967 playoffs, he meant something far different than what Doug Remer has in mind for his 2014 Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts. Remer shares the same philosophy about running and winning with the most quoted coach in sports history, but his way of achieving his goal is far different than the Green Bay Packers dynasty of the 1960’s. Tonight at Joe Cannon Stadium in Hanover, Maryland, head coach Remer’s squad stole twelve bases on fifteen steal attempts to help pave the way to a 7-2 win over the Baltimore Dodgers. When the totals were tallied, Brodie Leftridge (University of Tennessee) and Brian Ruditys (Quinnipiac) had two steals apiece, Jake Taylor (Flagler) and Logan Mummert (Louisburg) each had one, Jason Baytop Jr. (St. Augustine’s) had three, and Kyle Norman (University of San Francisco) stole home for one of his three thefts in the contest.
But it was more than just the running attack that paved the way to the second Thunderbolts win of the season. The defense was solid in handling all but one of its fielding chances, and the offense was productive. However, the brightest star in tonight’s win was the performance of starting pitcher Brandon Holsworth (Gallaudet), who recorded his first CRCBL win of his career. Holsworth (1-1 0.82 ERA) struck out five, yielded zero walks, and allowed just one earned run in six innings of work. The bullpen picked up the slack by blanking the Dodgers in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings.
Along with the twelve steals, the Thunderbolts offense scored sevens run on nine hits, their second best single game totals of the season. Rich Condeelis Jr.(Lackawanna) led the way by becoming the first T-Bolts player to register three hits in a game this summer. Jason Baytop Jr. added two for his third two-hit game of the campaign and Robert Lucido (Amherst) blasted an RBI triple.
Tonight’s outcome was still in doubt when the game entered the fifth inning with the score tied, 1-1. The T-Bolts had scored first when, in the top of the second, Jason Baytop Jr. and Jake Taylor executed a double steal to put runners on second and third with one out. With the infield drawn in for a potential play at the plate, Clay Kernanen (Liberty) hit a ground ball to the second baseman. The fielder threw home in hope of getting Baytop Jr. heading to the plate. A good throw may have done the job, but the peg was wide, and the ball rolled back to the screen. Baytop Jr. easily scored, and Taylor did not hesitate as he rounded third and made a hard slide into the home, but was tagged out.
The first two batters were quickly retired in the T-Bolts fifth, but then the top of the T-Bolts batting order produced a pair of runs for a two-run advantage. Brodie Leftridge walked, proceeded to swipe second, and then stole third after the next batter, Brian Ruditys, had reach base on a base on balls. Ruditys then broke for second and drew the throw, which was in the dirt and bounced by the fielder. Leftridge easily scored while Ruditys took third. He counted on Condeelis’s second hit of the game.
An unearned run in the bottom of the fifth cut the lead to 3-2, but in the top of the sixth the Thunderbolts were aided by two Dodgers errors to support a three run rally. Kyle Norman, the first batter of the frame, reached base on an error and Ruditys drew another walk. Taylor hit a long fly out to center field, which was deep enough to allow Norman and move up to third base. The T-Bolts then tried another double steal. Baytop got caught in a rundown between first and second, but while the focus was on him, Norman broke for the plate and beat the throw for a theft of home. Clay Keranen followed with a single; then teamed up with Baytop in another double steal attempt, which resulted in another error by the Dodgers to allow Baytop to score.
A botched squeeze resulted in Keranen being erased while trying to safely retreat to third base, but Michael Flax (LaSalle) made up for it by coaxing a walk. Lucido followed by blasting a long triple to deep right field to score Flax. For good measure, the T-Bolts added one more in the seventh on another Condeelis hit sandwiched between an error and a passed ball.
After the T-Bolts took a 7-2 lead following their seventh inning at bat, Holsworth exited, a good night of work in the books. Condeelis switched from first base to the pitcher’s mound and hurled one solid inning. In the next inning, Condeelis went back to first base and Nick Moylan (University of Delaware) toed the rubber for the final two innings of the evening.
Notes: Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Harry Carey would have said, “They are dancing in streets at Gallaudet.” In this case, his reference would be about the two Gallaudet University hurlers on the T-Bolts pitching staff – Brandon Holsworth and Danny O’Donnell – the two winning pitchers in the two T-Bolts wins through the first six games. Clay Keranen, fresh off a trip to the NCAA tournament with Liberty University, reported to the T-Bolts today. Doug Remer did not give him much time to relax, focus, or mingle with his teammates by inserting him in tonight’s starting lineup. Keranen, a member of the T-Bolts in 2013, went 1 for 4 with an RBI; posted four putouts and four assists; fielded a groundball, stepped on second, and fired to first to complete the twin killing that ended tonight’s game. Thunderbolts hurlers Michael Austin (Sam Houston) and Greg Jakusic (Stevens Institute of Technology) were seated in the front row and directly behind home plate to chart and time the T-Bolts pitchers. Their report was Holsworth topped 85 miles per hour and Condeelis Jr. hit the 90 MPH mark. Speaking of Michael Austin, he was the pitcher on the mound for the Presstman Cardinals last season when the Thunderbolts came here. In that game, Jake Taylor doubled and Josh Kisamore (USC Beaufort) pitched seven strong innings for the win. The Baltimore Redbirds lost tonight, 6-3, to the Grays. The T-Bolts will get their first look at the Redbirds on Tuesday evening when they venture to Carlos Crispino Stadium at Calvert Hall High School, the home of the two-time CRCBL Champs. Game time is at 6:30. Joshua Grant, the scheduled starting pitcher for Tuesday’s game, turned in a good performance in his first outing last Friday night at Alexandria. The starting pitcher for the Redbirds will be left-hander Sean Kennedy, and he is a good one. In his first start this season, he struck out 10 in seven innings in the Redbirds 6-2 win over Herndon.
“Miracle” Braves beat T-Bolts, 7-2
By Gary Sarnoff
June 8, 2014, Silver Spring, Maryland. In 1914, the miracle Braves went from last place in July to finishing the season 10 ½ games ahead of the next best team in the National League. From there they went on to sweep the seemingly unbeatable Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series. Now one-hundred years later, the Hendon Braves are looking to produce a miracle of their own by going from last place in 2013 to first place this season. On Sunday night at Montgomery Blair Stadium, the Braves helped their bid with a 7-2 win over the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts. However, if the Braves looked good in their win, the Thunderbolts made them look better in what was their poorest performance of the young season.
The T-Bolts (who fell to 1-4) had a tough night by producing no hits after the fourth inning, stranding 14 runners on the base paths, committing four errors, and issuing 7 passes in the final three innings. Our hometown team managed to have a few positives in the setback: the performances by Jason Baytop Jr. (St, Augustine’s), Brian Ruditys (Quinnipiac), and starting pitcher Greg Jakusik (Stevens Technology). Baytop Jr. pounded the first Thunderbolts home run of the season and had his second two-hit game of the season, Ruditys also produced a two-hit game, and Jakusic walked just one batter, yielded one less hit than innings pitched, and struck out four in six innings of work.
Michael Flax (La Salle) and Logan Mummert (Louisburg) also added pluses in the game. Flax drove in one run and Mummert smacked a double and scored one run. In addition, Mummert made one of the smartest base running plays seen here in a long time when after a routine pop fly was caught in shallow right field, he hesitated for a moment, then darted for second base when noticing that the base was uncovered and made it safely.
The score was 3-2 in favor of Herndon after Jakusic departed after inning number six. T-Bolts head coach Doug Remer played a hunch by calling on tonight’s starting centerfielder Brodie Leftridge (Tennessee) to pitch the top of the seventh, and Leftridge, who usually throws strikes, struggled with his control. He gave up three walks around one of the four fielding misques by the T-Bolts, leading to a run and a 4-2 deficit. In the of the ninth, with the Thunderbolts absolutely needing to hold the visiting team to have a chance in their last at bat, Tyler Coleman (Montgomery College), making his 2014 pitching debut, walked four batters and gave up a key hit, and when the inning finally ended after eight Braves went to the plate, the score was 7-2 in favor of the Bad Guys, and all hope of a come-from-behind-win disappeared into the evening’s dying daylight.
The Thunderbolts began the game as if they were going to win. In the bottom of the second, Jason Baytop Jr. connected and drove a line drive into deep leftfield. The left fielder drifted back, then gave up on the ball and watched the pill barely clear the fence for a home run. Meanwhile, Jukasic was pitching as if a few runs might be all he needed. Through the first three innings, he disposed of the Braves on just thirty-four pitched while allowing just one hit, walked none, and struck out two. The Thunderbolts had a window of opportunity in the bottom of the third to their 1-0 lead when they loaded the bases with two outs, but were unable to deliver that key hit.
Things began to unravel in the top of the fourth when the Braves scored a pair to take the lead, thanks in part to the T-Bolts. Two errors supported one run, and then a wild pitch on strike three allowed another base runner to get aboard, and as luck would have it, he would come around to score the go ahead run.
In the bottom of the fourth, the T-Bolts were able to tally to tie the game, 2-2. Logan Mummert doubled to right-center field, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Pat Hisle (University of Maryland), and then scored on an infield hit by Flax. Little did anyone know that the hit would be the T-Bolts’ last of the evening.
Notes: The Thunderbolts will in the Baltimore area of Monday and Tuesday. On Monday night they have a date with the Baltimore Dodgers at Joe Cannon Stadium in Hanover. On Tuesday evening they play at Calvert Hall College to take on the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League two-time champs – the Baltimore Redbirds. T-Bolts big right handed pitcher Jordan Church (Sam Houston University) arrived today from his home state of Texas. Church, who stands 6’7, is even taller than the Thunderbolts big first base coach, Marcus Johnson.
T-Bolts Lose to Bethesda 7-1, Execute Triple Play
By Gary Sarnoff
June 7, 2014, Bethesda, Maryland. Garrett Pearson (VCU) received his diploma at his commencement at St. John’s University High School on Thursday. Less than twenty-four hours later, he was selected in the 34th round of the MLB draft by the Baltimore Orioles. Just hours later, Thunderbolts head coach Doug Remer gave Mr. Pearson another graduation gift – a starting assignment against the nationally ranked Bethesda Big Train before a crowd of over 700 at Povich Field.
Pearson pitched through the first inning and into the second before exiting, but he did have his moments in his CRCBL debut. He also had his tough moments, one which was out of his control when victimized by two errors by his infield. What also limited him was being unable to get strike three past five batters who reached base after having a two strike count against them. Pearson had two strikes on the Big Tran’s first batter, but lost him when the batsman hit a 2-2 pitch into the outfield for a single. The next batter walked, and then the Big Train pulled a double steal. Pearson maintained his focused on the batter at the plate and registered his first career strike out when slipping strike three past veteran Ryan Willard (a .290 hitter in 2013). The T-Bolts rookie pitcher struck out the next batter, and then had a 0-2 count on the next hitter, but made a mistake by committing a balk to allow the runner on third to cross home with the first run of the game.
In the bottom of the second, Pearson proceeded to get two strikes on the leadoff batter, but that batter reached base on an error. Pearson also had two strikes on the second batter of the frame, but this time the batter doubled to put runners on second and third. The third batter singled to score a run, and then the fourth batter of the inning walked following a two strike count. The final batter Pearson faced in his debut was also down in the count with two strikes, but reached base on another error.
Enter pitcher Connor Tagg (Case Western) came in with the bases loaded and no outs. Connor’s threw only one pitch that inning, but he made it count. Ryne Willard drilled Connor’s pitch to right field, deep enough to score the runner on third base to give the home team a 4-0 lead. As right fielder Kyle Norman (University of San Francisco) camped under the ball, he heard his teammates yell, “Third! Third! Third!” instructing that the ball be thrown to third base after the catch. Norman made the catch for out number one, and then threw to third base in time to get the runner heading from first to third for out number two. And when third baseman Rich Condeelis Jr. (Lackawanna) noticed he had chance to get the lead runner, who for whatever reason stood idle in the base path between third base and home, he threw to catcher Robert Lucido (Amherst) , who applied the tag for out number three to end the inning.
The Thunderbolts immediately went to work to get back into the game in their half of the third, and they did produce one run. Pat Hisle (U of Maryland) led off the inning with a walk, and then Lucido and Brodie Leftridge (U of Tennessee) followed with singles to score Hisle with the T-Bolts first run. Tyler Coleman (Montgomery College) followed with the third successive hit to load the bases. Bases loaded, nobody out, and the heart of the batting order due up, but the opportunity that knocked went unanswered. Kyle Norman struck out and Condeelis Jr. hit into a double play.
Following the heartbreaking conclusion of the third inning, the Thunderbolts were punch-less on offense. They would score no runs and get just three hits in the game’s last six innings. Meanwhile, the Big Train would add two more in the fourth inning and score another one in the eighth to cap the game’s scoring.
Notes: Jake Taylor (Flagler) had his first two-hit game of the season, one of those hits being a double off the scoreboard in left in the top of the sixth inning.
T-Bolts Rally, Then Hold Off Grays For Win
By Gary Sarnoff
June 6, 2014, Silver Spring, Maryland. It was not pretty, but a win is a win. On Friday night at Montgomery Blair Stadium, the Thunderbolts won their first game of the season, 11-9, over the DC Grays. The T-Bolts hitters finally put the ball into play, in fact they did so on twenty-five occasions, and the result was fifteen batters advanced to first base.
The Thunderbolts home opener crowd went home happy with a win by their hometown team, but what a strange evening of baseball they had witnessed. The two teams combined for 13 errors, leading to a two-team total of 6 unearned runs. But a win is a win, and it was good to see the Thunderbolts register one in the win column after beginning the season on the road with two frustrating loses.
The difference was a three inning stretch – the second through the fourth- when the Thunderbolts put the ball in play to the tune of ten runs for a 10-5 lead.
Trailing 3-0 in the last of the second, the young men representing Silver Spring- Takoma went to work. A walk, a hit by Jake Taylor (Flagler), and an error produced the first tally of the night for the home team. Then designated hitter Michael Flax, making his first appearance of the season, scored a pair with a double to tie the game, 3-3.
When the T-Bolts came to the plate for their next at bat, they once again had their work cut out for them. Trailing 5-3, they stepped up to the challenge by scoring another three run rally for their first lead of the game. Tyler Coleman (Montgomery College) and Jason Baytop Jr. (St. Augustine’s) singled, and then Michael Flax (Lasalle) had his second hit of the game. Flax then proceeded to swipe second, and he counted when Pat Hisle (U Maryland) singled.
One inning later, the Grays became a bit too generous by issuing two walks and hit-by-pitch. Jason Baytop Jr. made them pay by smacking a triple to clear the bases, and he tallied when the Grays gave the T-Bolts another present with a wild pitch.
For good measure, the Thunderbolts added one more in the bottom of the seventh when Coleman made his fourth hit in the last two games to score Robert Lucido (Amherst). This made the score 11-6 in favor of the T-Bolts, and it was a lead that seemed safe. However, that assumption almost proved to be incorrect. The Grays rallied for three in the top of the eighth to make things interesting. The Thunderbolts aided their cause when a hurler accidentally plunked one batter and when a fielder committed an error. There were also two walks, which helped make the only two hits of the inning more productive than they should have been.
Then things went from interesting to nervousness when the two first batters reached base to begin the ninth inning. Michael Austin (Bethune-Cookman), who reported tot he team earlier in the day, took matters into his own hands by striking out the next two batters. A fielder’s choice followed to end the game.
Thunderbolts Come Up One Run Short in Alexandria
By Gary Sarnoff
June 5, 2014, Alexandria, Virginia. Throughout the Thunderbolts’ practice sessions leading up to the 2014 season, head coach Doug Remer stressed the importance of his batters putting the ball into play in order to put the pressure on the opponent. The T-Bolts got a lesson tonight of what that looks like when they are the team in the field.
In the last of the seventh, with the bases loaded, two outs, a 2-2 count on the batter, and with the T-Bolts clinging to a 2-1 lead, the Alexandria batsman managed to put the ball into play by chopping one that took a high hop, then hit the turf a second time before settling onto the infield grass, about halfway from home to third base. Thunderbolts third baseman Rich Condeelis Jr. (Lackwanna) managed to make a barehanded pick up, and then whipped the ball toward first base while on the run, but his throw was wide of his intended target. Two runs scored on the play to give the Aces a 3-2 lead, but the morale of this story is if you put the ball into play, things can happen, and sometimes it does not take a long hit to do the job.
The truth to the matter is it should not have come down to this play. Two batters before the two run play, T-Bolts starting pitcher Joshua Grant (Pace) hit the outside corner for what looked like strike three to end the inning. But the home plate umpire did not see it that way. Grant ended up walking the batter, and it came back to haunt the team.
The other side of the coin is the T-Bolts did have their chances, but did not follow the coach’s rule about putting the ball into play, and “did not put the bat where the ball was,” Remer said after the game.
The good news is “the defense has been great,” according to Remer. “The pitching has also been great.” Joshua Grant pitched a fine game and deserved to win. He started off as if he had a few butterflies, but it did not take him long to settle down, and when he retired the Aces on just five pitches in the bottom of the third, it was apparent that General Grant was in complete command. He continued to dominate the Aces in the fourth inning, and after allowing two base runners in the next frame, he managed to get out of the jam with no harm done. In the bottom of the sixth, Jake Taylor went to the bullpen to limper up, but he quickly headed back to the bench when Grant, once again, needed just five pitches to get three outs.
After the T-Bolts went out in order in their half of the first, the Aces took a 1-0 lead on their first at bat. A leadoff single, a walk, and a pair of sacrifice fly balls advanced the lead runner the two bases he needed in order to tally.
Through the first three innings, the Thunderbolts made just one hit. Tyler Coleman (Montgomery College) led off the second with his first hit of the season, however, he soon went back to the bench when caught leaning and tagged out at second base.
Brodie Leftridge started the T-Bolts fourth with a line drive single into left field, and then reached second base, courtesy of an Aces error. Knowing he had a fast man on base, the Aces pitcher appeared to be thinking more about Leftridge than the batter. His third pickoff try resulted in a wild peg, allowing the runner to take second base. A hit by Condeelis put runners at the corners, and then Leftridge counted for the first T-Bolts run of the season on a sacrifice fly by Coleman.
The Thunderbolts took a 2-1 lead in he top of the sixth, and Leftridge was again was able to force an Ace error. The T-Bolts centerfielder walked and then swiped second. As he slid into second base, the catcher’s throw sailed into the outfield. Leftridge quickly bounced to his feet and scampered safely to third base. After the next two batters were retired, Coleman celebrated is recent Juco All-American selection by lining a hit into right-centerfield, his second hit of the game, and his base hit scored Leftridge.
The score was still 2-1 in favor of the T-Bolts when the game entered the tough luck seventh inning, which began when the lead off batter hit a short pop behind the pitcher’s mound. Pitcher Joshua Grant turned and quickly took a few steps toward second base. His back to the plate, he looked up just when the ball was within his reach. He quickly reacted by getting his glove under the ball, but was unable to hang on. A fly out, a walk, and another out made it two outs with two men on the base. That’s when Grant had a one ball and two strikes count on the next batter, and that is when his next pitched hit the outside corner for what looked like strike three to end the inning. But ball two was called, and when Grant missed on his next two pitches for ball three and four, the bases were loaded.
Remer decided the time was right to turn the game over to his bullpen. On came Connor Tagg, and that’s when the next Aces batter did nothing exceptional except put the ball into play to give the Aces a 3-2 lead.
The T-bolts were down but not going down without a fight. Jake Graham (Slippery Rock) led off the top of the eighth with his first single of 2014. Leftridge followed with a nifty sacrifice to move the runner along. A passed ball allowed Graham to reach third base. Jason Baytop, Jr. (St. Augustine’s) followed with a beautiful at bat by fighting off the pitcher with foul balls until he coaxed a walk to put runners on the corners with just one out. Rich Condeelis Jr. was the next batter, and he hit a soft grounder that looked like it might get under the pitcher’s glove, but instead the hurler gloved the ball, threw to second for out number two, and then the relay throw completed a double play to end the inning.
After Leftridge took the mound and retired the Aces in the bottom of the eighth, Kyle Norman (U of San Francisco), who had taken over for Leftridge in centerfield, led of the top of the ninth with a walk. There was hope when he took second base on a passed ball, but the next two T-Bolts were retired to leave the hope of a game tying hit on the shoulders of Pat Hisle. The Maryland infielder lined one to right field that looked as if it might fall for a hit, but the ball hung in the air long enough for the right fielder to charge forward and make the grab to end the game.
Notes: A perfect summer night – one that is ideal to be at the ball park – is in store for us tomorrow night for the Thunderbolts home opener at Montgomery Blair Stadium. Last season’s home opener fell on a Sunday and the T-Bolts set a new attendance record by drawing 431 fans. Brodie Leftridge, 2 for 6 with 2 runs through the first two games of the season, and Garret Pearson (VCU) will miss tomorrow’s game due to their high school commencement. Congratulations to Brodie and Garrett and the St. John’s University High School class of 2014. Coleman was 2 for 2 tonight and drove in both runs for the T-Bolts. Logan Mummert (Louisburg) was the Thunderbolts starting catcher tonight, and oh man, is he quick. With a runner on second in the bottom of the fifth, Joshua Grant threw one outside and in the dirt. Seeing the ball hit the dirt, the runner on second assumed a wild pitch, but underestimated the quickness of the T-Bolts catcher. When he found out the hard way, he knew he was duck soup while on his way to third base. Mummer threw to third baseman Rich Condeelis Jr. for an easy out. Alexandria scored ten runs in less than seven innings against the Grays on Wednesday night. They won game, 8-7, but were ahead, 10-7, when the game was called in the top of the seventh, thus nullifying those last two runs. Danny O’Donnell (Gallaudet) will be the starting pitcher for the T-Bolts at Friday’s home opener versus the DC Grays. The T-Bolts play at Bethesda on Saturday night, then return home to play Herndon on Sunday. Sunday night’s game is a 6:00 start.
Thunderbolts Shutout By Giants In Season Opener
By Gary Sarnoff
June 4, 2014, Gaithersburg, Maryland. “So, we’ll go 41-1, right Jake?” Doug Remer, the head coach of the Thunderbolts, asked his first baseman after the game. When Jake Taylor did not reply, Remer answered his own question: “That’s not a bad record.”
The T-Bolts lost their opening game at Gaithersburg tonight, 3-0. They made just two hits (although a what should have been a third hit was ruled an error). But whatever the score or hit totals were, the T-Bolts head coach appeared calm and confident, and for good reason. All three pitchers he used tonight looked good, and the fielding would have been called picture-perfect had not for an error and one misplay that resulted in two of the three runs for the Giants.
“Two plays and getting under the ball,” Remer told the sportswriters. “We didn’t get the ball into play. We gave them outs.” In fact, thirteen of the twenty-seven T-Bolts outs tonight were pop ups or fly balls.
But there were also pluses tonight, and Remer is still convinced that this team will be good. “One game,” was his last word at the ball park this evening, “so many games to go.”
The positives begin with starting pitcher Brandon Holsoworth (Gallaudet), who allowed just one unearned run in five strong innings. Nick Moylan (U of Delaware) struck out three while working the sixth and seventh innings and Connor Tagg (Case Western) retried the Giants in order in bottom of the eighth on just seven pitches.
Although there were two mishaps in the field, the T-Bolts air-tight defense made life tough for the Giants hitters. Five web gems were turned in by the Silver Spring-Takoma team. Two of those five were made by third baseman Rich Condeelis Jr. (Lackawanna), both on groundballs. The first of the two was in the first inning when a Giants batter scorched one down the line that appeared to be earmarked for the leftfield corner. Condeelis Jr. made a diving stop to his right, then scrambled to his feet and threw to first baseman Jake Taylor (Flagler) in time to retire the batter.
Outfielder Kyle Norman (U of San Francisco) turned in the second fine defensive effort of the evening when he charged in at full speed on a sinking liner and made the catch at his shoe tops. In the bottom of the fifth, a Giants batter tagged a long drive to deep leftfield that sent Tyler Coleman (Montgomery College) on the run. His back facing the infield as he looked over his left shoulder to track the ball, Coleman managed to pluck the ball out of mid-air for a long out. And in the bottom of the eighth, first baseman Jake Taylor and pitcher Conner Tagg executed a perfect 3-1 putout for the second out of the inning.
As for the T-Bolts offense, it was a tough night with a few missed opportunities. In the top of the second, Rich Candeelis Jr. hit a hard grounder that forced the opposing third baseman two steps back. The third baseman’s long throw was wild, but Condeelis Jr. had beaten the throw for what should have been scored as a base hit. Condeelis Jr. proceeded to steal second and took third on an error, but the T-Bolts were unable to produce the hit to bring him home. In the very next inning Brodie Leftridge smacked his first CRCBL career hit, a sold single to leftfield. However, he was erased when caught leaning on the Giants’ pitcher pickoff throw to first base. Knowing he had been caught, the youngster charged for second base, but the first baseman’s throw arrived before he did for the out.
The Thunderbolts were quiet until the top of the sixth when Kyle Norman greeted the second Giants hurler of the game with a leadoff single to left. Leftridge followed with a fly out, and then the side was retired when Coleman struck out and Norman was caught stealing on the same play. The last threat by the visitors came in the top of the eighth when Robert Lucido (Amherst) and Pat Hisle (U of Maryland) coaxed back-to-back walks with one out. But Norman followed with a pop up behind first base for an out and Leftridge popped one into shallow right field that was converted into an easy out to retire the side.
Brandon Holsworth, the tough luck losing pitcher tonight, allowed no hits through the first three innings. An error instead of what should have been a leadoff out in the bottom of the fourth set up the first run of the game. The next batter walked, but then the T-Bolts defense turned a 4-6-3 twin killing – Jack Graham (Slippery Rock) to Hisle to Taylor. But the next batter tagged one to centerfield that sailed over Brodie Leftridge and hit the fence on one bounce to easily score the first run of the game.
The next run for the Giants was set up when the T-Bolts pitcher forgot to cover the first base bag on a grounder to the right side of the infield. Two hits followed to score the runner who should have been a first baseman to pitcher putout. A hit, a steal, and another hit scored the last run of the evening in the bottom of the seventh.
Notes: It looks as if the delay on the lights at Criswell Automotive Field, the home of the Gaithersburg Giants, worked in favor for the home team this evening. That’s because all other CRCBL games this evening, which all started at 7:00, were either delayed by rain or called a rain-shortened complete game. The T-Bolts are due back here on July 12th, and by that time the new lights should be working. The Alexandria Aces, the T-Bolts opponent on Friday night, rallied over the Grays for an 8-7 win in one of those games played in less than nine innings this evening. The T-Bolts faced a left-handed starter tonight and will see another lefty starting pitcher at Frank Mann Field in Alexandria on Friday night. John Gora is the left-hander expected to start for the Aces. Gora was named to the Ohio Valley all-conference team in 2013. The proud parents of Gaithersburg Giants 2013 CRCBL All-Star pitcher Brand Estrain were at the game this evening. “The Thunderbolts have improved 100 percent this season,” said Dad Estrain. It is a fact that Mr. Estrain and Mr. Brad Norman (the proud dad of T-Bolts outfielder Kyle Norman) were teammates on the 1975 Northwood High School baseball state championship team. Brandon Holsworth and Rih Coreelis Jr. wear what looks like the old kangaroo white shoes of the 1972-74 World Champion Oakland A’s. Next thing you know the two collegians will grow mustaches [The A’s of the 1970’s were known as the Mustache Gang]. T-Bolts shortstop Pat Hisle is fast in the field and has good range. He finished tonight’s game with 2 putouts and 5 assists and was the relay man in the T-Bolts one double play of the game. Congratulations to Thunderbolts outfielder Tyler Coleman on being named a first team NCJAA D3 All-American.
T-Bolts Impressive In Pre-Season Tune-up
May 31, 2014, Silver Spring, Maryland. Okay, so it was just a pre season game before 100 fans at Montgomery Blair Stadium on a picture-perfect-weather-wise evening for baseball. But let’s focus on progress for a minute. In last season’s dress rehearsal against the Rockville Express ball club, the Thunderbolts went down in defeat, 12-6. Maybe that game did not set the table for a tough season, but the T-Bolts did go 13-31 after dropping that game. However, if there was a pre season game to regular season correlation in 2013, then tonight’s game would indicate that the 2014 season will be every bit as good as the T-Bolts looked this evening, and it left head coach Doug Remer in fine spirits. “No negatives to speak of,” he said following tonight’s victory.
“How many walks tonight?” asked T-Bolts pitching coach Wade Newman, who then answered his own question, “Zero. Not much more to say about that.” “That was fun,” added Remer with a smile as he addressed his troops.
It was the pitchers who stole the show in the Thunderbolts 3-0 win. Six T-Bolts hurlers combined for 12 strike outs, allowed just 4 hits, and did not permit a single walk. And added to this evening’s accolades is the fact that four of our flingers combined to retire 13 Express batsmen in a row. Brandon Holsworth (Gallaudet), the T-Bolts starting pitcher this evening, set the tone for the evening by throwing strikes on 18 of his 26 pitches and striking out three in his two innings of work. The second T-Botls pitcher of the night, Nick Moylan (U of Delaware), pitched the next two frames. Like Holsworth, he struck out 3 in 2 innings pitched before yielding to Danny O’Donnell (Gallaudet), and the second year member of the T-Bolts pitching staff did his job by striking out a pair and allowing no hits in his two innings on the hill. Connor Tagg (Case Western) was next in tonight’s rotation, and he came through by taking care of business in the top of the seventh to preserve the T-Bolts 2-0 lead.
Through the first four innings, the Thunderbolts batters had no hits, were permitted 3 passes, and struck out six times. With one down in the bottom of inning number five, the T-Bolts bats came to life. Pat Hisle (University of Maryland) belted a hit to right field for the first T-Bolts hit of the evening. Next up was University of Tennessee-bound Brodie Letfridge. The St. John’s University high school product, who will graduate from high school next week, had whiffed on his first two trips to the plate. This time he caught layed down a bunt along the third base line, and it was a beauty. As the speedy Leftridge scampered down the line an Express player warned the third baseman by yelling “One! One! One!” meaning throw to first base. The third baseman seemed to appreciate the advice, cleanly fielded the ball, got off a throw, but perhaps intimidated by the speed of Leftridge, his throw had nothing on it. Leftridge beat the throw, and suddenly the T-Bolts had two hits and runners on first and second with only one out.
Next up was Jack Graham (Slippery Rock) and he laced a single to right field to score Hisle with he first run of the game. Leftridge stopped at second, but he would soon be on the run again.
On the next pitch, Leftridge and Graham were off. Leftridge drew the catcher’s attention but beat the throw with a head first slide into third base. Two pitches later, big Jake Taylor (Flagler) launched one into left-center field. It was playable for the outfield, but deep enough to score Leftridge for the second run of the inning.
In the top of the eighth, Remer sent Leftridge to the mound to pitch one inning. The rising freshman began the inning by heaving two fast balls, the second one resulting in the first out of the inning. He then started the next batter with three fastballs to get the Express batsmen in the hole with one ball and two strikes count. Expecting to see another fast one since the new pitcher had thrown nothing but fast ones on his first five pitches, the batter outsmarted him self. Leftridge introduced his curve ball, and it broke like it had dropped off of a table. The batter’s knees buckled as he left his bat on his shoulder while watching strike three go by. Making no argument abut it, the batter stepped away from the plate and headed to the dugout while shaking his head as if to ask, how do you hit that?
The next batter managed to hit one that fell into fair territory down the right field line. Eager to get into scoring position, the Express player rounded first and headed to second. A T-Bolts fielder picked up the ball and threw to second base where the runner was an easy out to retire the side.
In the bottom of the eighth, Leftridge was at it again. After drawing a walk, and making it to second base, he once again stole third. Three batters later, he tallied on a ground out. The final score, T-Bolts 3, Express 0.
Notes: Brodie Leftridge matched the Great Houdini tonight with two escape acts of his own. His first came in the T-Bolts 2-run rally in the fifth. When Hisle drew the throw to the plate after rounding third on Graham’s hit and scoring the game’s first run, the ball got by the catcher, but the pitcher got the ball while backing up on the play. Seeing that the ball had eluded the catcher, Leftridge had rounded second and was halfway to third when he stopped in his tracks after noticing the pitcher had the ball. Leftridge responded by taking a step toward third, then negotiated a 360 turn and headed back to second base. The pitcher threw to second, but it was not in time to catch the fast Leftridge. The T-Bolts outfielder’s second escape act came in the top of the eighth when, after getting to first base on a walk, he broke for second in an attempt to steal. Having a feeling that the base runner would be on the run, the Express pitcher threw to first base, but Leftridge made it to second base without even drawing a throw. Thunderbolts infielder Jake Taylor must be familiar with Express shortstop Brandon Benson. The two crossed paths last spring when competing against one another in Peach Belt conference play. Back on February 23rd, Benson hit a walk off home run for an 8-7 win for Georgia College over Taylor and Flagler University. Taylor still has ground to make up to even the score, but his sac fly for an RBI in the bottom of the fifth is a step in that direction. The Express must love lefty pitchers. They have five on their roster and they threw all five at the T-Bolts tonight.