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The Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts and the Bethesda Big Train will have to contend with a third competitor in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League Playoffs—Mother Nature. Mother Nature comes in with a perfect average and the ability to force her will upon opponents. It’s possible she’ll throw one of her favorite breaking pitches this afternoon and evening—the rain ball.
Forecasts for today and this evening show rain starting around 2 pm and continuing throughout the evening, threatening completion of the three game series between the Bolts and Big Train, now tied at 1-1. The Bolts had a chance to clinch the series at Blair Stadium last night but the Big Train prevailed 6-3 before a record crowd of 460. See our site for Alexander Dacy’s excellent recap, Big Train Win Tight Game 2 Over T-Bolts for details.
Amidst the swirling predictions of precipitation, are also swirling scenarios of what the League will do in the face of a possible postponement of tonight’s game. The League has said that there will be no baseball after tomorrow—August 1. The forecast for August 1 shows scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon with isolated thunderstorms in the evening.
The League may move up the time of tonight’s game, as Matt Cohen reported on the League home page, “to earlier in the evening.” If the League chooses to do that, the most likely start time, according to rumbles heard from the teams, would be 5 pm. But that depends on weather conditions and the conditions at Shirley Povich Field. You’ll need to check our site and our Twitter account, @TBolts_Baseball for the latest updates.
As of this morning, no starting pitchers have been announced. But League insiders believe that it will be lefthander Ryan Okuda (Virginia Tech) for the Big Train, and righthander Alex Mycut (Milllersville) for the T-Bolts.
Mykut was the hero of Game One of the T-Bolts Semi-Final Series against the DC Grays, throwing five innings of shutout ball, allowing three hits, walking two, and striking out five. The T-Bolts won that one, 2-1, and Mykut did not figure in the decision. Okuda threw three innings against the Alexandria Aces in Game One of their Semi-Final Series, allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits, walking two and striking out four. He also did not figure in the decision in a game won by the Big Train, 11-4.
During the regular season, Okuda was an outstanding pitcher with a 3-0 record and a 1.12 ERA. He beat the T-Bolts twice in 2019 with a six-inning, two-hit, no-run stint on Opening Night at Blair that saw the Big Train win, 10-1. He came back less than a week later at Shirley Povich to throw another scoreless six innings; this time allowing three hits in a 12-0 whitewash by the Train.
Mykut pitched two innings in the 12-0 affair at Povich, giving up three runs on five hits, walking none, and striking out two. But over the season, Mykut emerged as an effective pitcher for the T-Bolts and earned his one victory over the DC Grays on June 24 at the Nats Baseball Academy. He threw five innings, allowing no runs, and gave up just one hit. That paved the way for a Bolts 8-1 victory. His loss came at the hands of the FCA Braves on July 18 at Lorton when he gave up four runs in four innings en route to an 8-5 Braves victory.
Also in the pitching mix for the Thunderbolts might be Bradyn Kail (California University of Pennsylvania) who threw only 22 pitches in the Bolts’ Monday night 9-0 win over the Train. With all hands on deck, starting pitchers may be limited to four innings or less depending upon their effectiveness. In that scenario, the Bolts starter would be followed by pitchers coming out of the bullpen like Greg Albert (UMBC); Bryan Gilliam (UMBC), Brendan Collins (Radford), Rojo Prairie (William and Mary), and Jaren Zinn (Harvard).
The Bolts are the only team besides the DC Grays to beat the Bethesda Big Train twice this season at Shirley Povich. Can they do it a third time against one of the best pitchers in the League?
That’s why the play the games.
Coverage begins on the T-Bolts Radio Network at 6:55 pm from Povich with Julian Baron and Neal Lavon on the call. Clark Boinis will be tweeting.