In their final regular season game, the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts wanted to show they could hang with the Cal Ripken League’s best team.
They mostly did so, falling to the Bethesda Big Train 10-7 in a game that spanned two days due to rain.
On Sunday, Tanner Jacobson took the mound for the Thunderbolts and cruised through the first five Big Train batters before giving up a towering solo home run to Drew Hamrock in the second inning.
Storms came fast and furious one batter later, suspending play until Wednesday.
When the game resumed, Bethesda picked up where they left off. They loaded the bases against new Silver Spring-Takoma reliever Jaren Zinn before Gio Diaz brought home two Big Train runners on a single to left field.
Zinn settled down in the third inning, and Rojo Prairie struck out the first two Big Train batters in the fourth inning before running into trouble. Amid poor defense and some bad luck, Bethesda knocked Prairie around, scoring four more runs to open up a 7-0 lead.
But the Thunderbolts would claw back in the bottom of the inning. They plated four runs to cut the deficit to three, punctuated by Dom Ford’s RBI double and two runners scoring on wild pitches.
Prairie pitched a scoreless fifth inning before giving way to Ryan Miles. He gave up a RBI single to Matt Thomas but otherwise held off the Big Train to give the Thunderbolts a chance.
The first two Silver Spring-Takoma batters reached base in the seventh inning, with Chris Brady coming in to score on a RBI groundout, reducing Bethesda’s lead to 8-5.
The Big Train added another run in the eighth, but Quinn McKenna brought the Thunderbolts within two in the bottom of the inning with a mammoth two-run home run.
That was as close as Silver Spring-Takoma would get, though, as Hamrock slugged his second homer of the game to provide insurance for Bethesda in the top of the ninth. Anthony Piccolino then recorded a clean bottom of the ninth to secure the 10-7 Big Train win.
The Thunderbolts now shift their focus to the playoffs, where they will have home-field advantage in a best-of-three series beginning Friday. They will play the highest-seeded wild card winner, one of the #3 FCA Braves, #4 DC Grays or #5 Gaithersburg Giants.