Coming out of the All-Star Break into a crucial weekend of doubleheaders, the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts knew they needed well-rounded performances in order to stay in the hunt for second place in the Ripken League.
They got just that Saturday, riding an explosive offense and strong pitching en route to a sweep of the Gaithersburg Giants.
Gaithersburg got on the board early in game one, plating two runs in the first inning against Luke Rettig.
The Thunderbolts responded quickly in the bottom of the inning, as Ian McMillan roped a two-out, two-run double down the left field line to tie the game. Ryan Roell then singled in McMillan to give Silver Spring-Takoma a 3-2 lead.
Braden Doughty put the Giants back on top in the fourth inning, lacing a two-run double down the left field line. Doughty came home two batters later on Brandon Greim’s RBI single.
But the Thunderbolts responded in a big way, plating eight runs in the bottom of the inning. Lucas Donlon came in on a groundout to open the scoring, and Brady Pearre tied the game on a RBI double.
Pearre’s hit ended Giants’ starter Thomas Burbank’s night. He tossed 3.1 innings, allowing six runs and eight hits while striking out four.
DaVonn Griffin then gave the Thunderbolts the lead again, crushing a two-run homer off the firehouse in left field against Giants reliever Brad Dobzanski.
Silver Spring-Takoma chased Donzanski three batters later as they loaded the bases for Roell. He continued his roll, doubling in two runs to put the Thunderbolts up 9-5.
The Thunderbolts added two more runs before the inning ended, giving way to Yash Rane. In four innings, Rettig allowed four earned runs and seven hits while striking out five.
The offense continued cruising, with Luke Trainer doubling in a run in the fifth and Roell doubling in his fourth run of the game in the eighth to extend the Thunderbolts’ lead.
Silver Spring-Takoma’s pitching took over from there. Rane, Jaren Zinn and Nicholas Charleson combined to give up four hits and one run the rest of the way, sealing the 13-6 victory.
The second game was much more of a pitcher’s duel than the first, as neither offense broke through until the fourth inning.
Like game one, the Giants struck first, plating two runs on a single and an error off Thunderbolts’ starter Alex Mykut.
But Gallo tied the game immediately in the bottom of the inning, demolishing a two-run homer to left field.
Mykut was pulled after the fourth, allowing one earned run on three hits while striking out six. Greg Albert came in and held the Giants off, while Silver Spring-Takoma batters went back to work.
Gallo singled in another run in the bottom of the fifth inning to give the Thunderbolts a lead, and Brady Pearre singled in two more in the sixth inning to put Silver Spring-Takoma up 5-2.
Gaithersburg plated a run in the seventh inning and loaded the bases against Tyler Dyball, but he got Tommy Crider to ground out to complete the doubleheader sweep.
Next, Silver Spring-Takoma will face the Alexandria Aces in another doubleheader Sunday. Zeke Gongola and Bradyn Kail are slated to start.