For The Thunderbolts, It's Turning Into a Numbers Game

The Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts are off until tomorrow when they take on the Alexandria Aces at Blair at 7 pm. Coming off a weekend sweep of two doubleheaders, coupled with two losses by the DC Grays, the Bolts find themselves at 18-14; two and a half games ahead of the Grays in the battle for second place in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League.

The teams that finish first and second in the League after the regular season receive a bye in the playoffs. The teams that finish third through sixth play in two play-in games with the winners moving on and the losers concluding their seasons. The third and fourth place teams would host the play-in games.

Following those games, the likely first-place finisher, the Bethesda Big Train, would play the winner of the play-in game with the lowest regular season finish. The second-place team would play the play-in winner with the higher regular season finish. Both series will be best two out of three. The first and second place teams will open the series on their home fields, and if there is a third game, will host them as well.

The winners of those two series will then meet in a best two out of three for the League Championship, with the higher seed acting as host.

With eight games remaining for the T-Bolts in the regular season (seven for the DC Grays), it’s not too early to calculate baseball’s “magic number.” The magic number is the combination of wins needed by one team and losses by its closest competitor to clinch a spot in the standings. For the Bolts, as of today, the magic number stands at six. That means any combination of six wins by the Bolts and losses by the Grays would clinch second place for Silver Spring-Takoma. The number changes as the season winds down.

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The current schedule lists eight remaining games for the Bolts—four on the road versus the FCA Braves, the Gaithersburg Giants, and the Alexandria Aces—and four at home against the Aces, Grays, Big Train, and Braves. The Grays have seven games left—five on the road versus Gaithersburg, the T-Bolts, the Aces, the Braves, and the Big Train. At home, the Grays have a doubleheader against the Aces.

But as of now, the game at Blair against the DC Grays this Friday evening is shaping up as a very important game for both teams in the campaign to finish second and get a bye in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League playoffs.