By Dylan Reffe
The Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts took down the division leading Baltimore Redbirds 6-5 at Blair Stadium on Friday night. The win was the T-Bolts’ third against the Redbirds this summer, and cut the Redbirds’ North Division lead to a mere four games.
Steven Paredes (Lindsey Wilson) and Kyle Conger (Belmont) both had two hits in the game, and Nick Dunn (Maryland) added three hits, raising his season batting average to .329. Paredes now has eight hits in his last six games and is hitting .325 for the summer.
“Tonight I just reiterated that when a guy is pumping strikes we have to go up there and be aggressive, and thats what we did,” said T-Bolts Head Coach Doug Remer.
Michael Austin (Bethune Cookman) gave the T-Bolts the start they needed, holding the potent Redbird offense in check through the majority of the game. Austin struck out six Redbirds and only allowed four hits through seven innings of work.
“Last year Michael pitched like that all the time, but we didn’t give him any run support,” Remer said. “Tonight we scored six for him and obviously he was huge for us. Anytime you can go and throw seven strong innings is huge.”
However, the T-Bolts had to work out of a late-inning jam. First basemen/pitcher Nick Spadafino (Delaware) took the mound with the T-Bolts clinging to a 6-4 lead after the Red Birds had loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the eighth inning. Spadafino induced a double play on a fly out when T-Bolts right fielder Victor Nazario (Lindsey Wilson) fired a missile to second base from deep right field to throw out the tagging runner. One run scored on the play, but Spadafino struck out the final Redbird hitter of the inning and the T-Bolts took a 6-5 lead into the ninth inning.
“Nick is definitely a go to guy both offensively and on the bump, but that’s just the type of team we have,” Remer said. “We have a bunch of guys who want to come in and help each other out.”
Connor Tagg (Case Western Reserve) helped his team out by working yet another scoreless ninth inning, and earning his ninth save of the season. Tagg lowered his ERA to a minuscule 0.90 for the summer.
“When Coach Johnson and I put the team together, we knew we wanted Connor back as our closer. Once we put Tagg in, Marcus [Johnson] sits on the bench and I put my helmet in my bag because we know the game’s done,” Remer said with a smile.
Both teams played the game with a high intensity level, and after the traditional post game handshakes a few words were exchanged between players on the field.
“We’re trying to help our guys make it professionally, and I tell them everyday that to do so they have to act professionally,” Remer said, with regards to the extra curricular activities after the game. “Beating a good team and a very good pitcher like that, it should give us a lot of confidence going forwards.” Remer said.
The two teams will play for the final time in the regular season in Baltimore on Thursday, July 23.
The T-Bolts are back in action on Saturday, July 11, when they will travel to take on the Baltimore Dodgers (9-20).
The T-Bolts next home game is scheduled for Sunday, July 19, at 6:30 p.m., when the league-leading Bethesda Big Train will make the trip to Blair Stadium.