By Dylan Reffe
The Bethesda Big Train defeated the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts 7-4 at Blair Stadium on Sunday evening, dropping the T-Bolts to 18-17 on the summer. The Big Train clinched the South Division title last week, but Sunday’s win increased their lead on the No. 1 overall seed to one game over the Baltimore Redbirds. The T-Bolts remain in second place in the North Division, but fell to fourth place in the overall standings with Sunday’s loss.
The Big Train got on the board early on Sunday, taking a 3-0 lead after four innings, and knocking T-Bolt ace Conrad Wozniak (UMBC) from the game. Sunday was Wozniak’s first home start of the summer, and also his shortest start of the season. The T-Bolt defense didn’t give Wozniak much support, making three errors for the second consecutive night. In fact, the T-Bolts have now made 14 errors in their past five games, and will look to shore up their defense down the stretch.
However, the T-Bolts continued to do what they have done all summer, hit the baseball hard. Eight T-Bolts recorded in hit in Sunday’s game, and Zach Racusin (Marist), Nick Dunn (Maryland), and Hunter Hope (Tulane) all had multi-hit games. Racusin also stole his 18th and 19th bases on Sunday, tying him for the league lead.
The T-Bolts twice cut the Big Train lead down to two runs, but the home team left a total of 12 men on base, and were not able to come any closer.
With only five regular season games left on the schedule, the T-Bolts are still looking to lock down that elusive playoff berth. While the T-Bolts currently have a three game cushion in the race for the playoffs, in order guarantee themselves a playoff spot they need to win three of their remaining five games. If they fail to do so, either the Herndon Braves, Rockville Express, or the D.C. Grays could still catch the T-Bolts and end their season.
For more information on the league standings and playoff system, please visit http://pointstreaksites.com/view/calripkenleague/league-6/league-championship-series-format.
As they enter the final week of the regular season, the T-Bolts will travel to Gaithersburg to take on the Giants at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, July 20. The next T-Bolts home game is scheduled to take place at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21, against the Vienna River Dogs. The game is a rescheduled contest from the postponed game on June 28.