Playing their third doubleheader in ten days, the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts knew they needed strong efforts from their starting pitching if they wanted to beat the FCA Braves.
They got just that, as Jake Pecilunas and Tyler Dyball allowed three runs each, and the Thunderbolts’ offense came up clutch in two extra-inning wins.
Silver Spring-Takoma jumped on the Braves early in the first game, loading the bases in the first inning and scoring a run on Lucas Donlon’s RBI single.
Braves starting pitcher Marty Neal recorded just one out before leaving the game due to injury. Carson McClure took over and retired Dominic Ford and Lyle Miller-Green to get out of the jam.
The Braves answered quickly against Pecilunas, with Ryan M. Davis hitting a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning.
The Thunderbolts would retake the lead two innings later, as Miller-Green singled in Tyler Murray, continuing his hot start.
McClure, meanwhile, was clutch in an unplanned relief appearance, allowing one run in 4.2 innings while largely fooling Thunderbolts’ batters.
His performance kept the game within reach for the Braves, who took their first lead of the day on Jordan Ebersole’s two-run home run in the fifth.
That was all Pecilunas would allow, though, as he tossed five solid innings, giving up three runs on six hits.
That lead would not last long, as Miller-Green welcomed new Braves pitcher Cade Owens with a solo home run to tie the game leading off the sixth inning.
Brady Pearre came on for Silver Spring-Takoma in the bottom of the sixth and tossed two shutout innings, picking up the win.
The Thunderbolts broke the tie in the eighth inning. They loaded the bases with no outs, and Owens hit Ian McMillan to bring a run home and put the Thunderbolts up 4-3. One batter later, DaVonn Griffin smacked a two-run single off new pitcher Patrick Halligan to extend Silver Spring-Takoma’s lead.
Rojo Prairie then worked out of a jam in the bottom of the eighth, allowing two runs but stranding two baserunners to earn the save and seal the Thunderbolts’ 6-5 victory.
Game two followed nearly the same script as game one, as Silver Spring-Takoma came out strong early. Luke Trainer drove in McMillan in the first inning to put the Thunderbolts up by one against John Reynolds Jr.
Tony Gallo added on to Silver Spring-Takoma’s lead in the third, singling in Daulton Martin to put the Thunderbolts up 2-0.
The Braves temporarily cut into the Thunderbolts’ lead in the bottom of the third against Dyball, as Davis singled in Brian Rall to make it 2-1.
Brenden Williams restored the Thunderbolts’ advantage to two in the fourth inning, driving in Cade Swisher on a bloop single to center.
That lead would not last, however, as Wesley Lane scored on a wild pitch and Brian Schaub on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game.
Zeke Gongola relieved Dyball in the fifth inning and made his Thunderbolts debut. Dyball tossed four strong innings, allowing three runs and four hits.
Gongola came out firing, allowing one baserunner in his first two innings of work. He finished the day striking out four in three innings.
The Braves turned to Cameron Taylor in the sixth after Reynolds departed. Reynolds allowed three runs and nine hits in five-plus innings.
Both teams put two runners in scoring position with one out in the seventh inning but could not bring any runs home, sending the game to extra innings once again.
In the eighth, the Thunderbolts quickly retook the lead on Ryan Roell’s lead-off home run, his first of the season. But the Braves tied it up in the bottom of the inning, as Davis came home on a delayed steal.
Brendan Collins preserved the tie after that for the Thunderbolts, getting Rall to strikeout while stranding two runners in scoring position. Collins later picked up his first win of the season, striking out seven in three innings.
Leading off the 10th inning, Gallo put the Thunderbolts up for good, drilling a solo home run to right field off Taylor.
Silver Spring-Takoma then loaded the bases with two outs, setting up Ian McMillan’s two-run single. That provided insurance for the Thunderbolts, who would go on to win 7-4.