After fans of the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts caught their collective breaths last night following a 2-1 win over the DC Grays at Blair, they began to focus on tonight’s second game of the Semi-Final Series at 7 pm at the Nats Academy in Washington.
With a win there, the T-Bolts could advance to the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League Championship Series for the first time in 13 years. The scheduled starters for the Bolts are right-hander Zeke Gongola (Montgomery College, Germantown), and for the Grays, right-hander Issac Olson (University of Cincinnati).
Gongola, who joined the Bolts in mid-season, has thrown very effectively for the team, going 1-1, with a 3.15 ERA In 20 innings over five games. He’s allowed seven runs while walking only five and striking out 17. His one loss came at the hands of the Grays at DC, 4-1, on June 30, when he went five innings, allowed two runs on five hits, walked none, and struck out five. The Grays also touched him for four runs and eight hits over five innings, in a seven-inning contest at DC on July 9. Gongola was in line for the win as the Bolts took an 8-4 lead into the bottom of the sixth, but the Grays exploded for five runs, and an eventual 9-8 victory. Gongola did not figure in the decision.
Olson has appeared in three games for the Grays and is 0-1 (his loss coming against the FCA Braves on July 12) with a 19.80 ERA. In five innings, he has given up 11 runs, walked 11, and struck out four. His most effective appearance came on July 18 against the Gaithersburg Giants at Criswell when he pitched a scoreless inning, striking out one, in a forgettable 15-1 loss.
Last night, the Bolts pitching trio of Alex Mykut (Millersville), Luke Rettig (Lehigh), and Tyler Dyball (U of Hawaii), only issued three walks among them. Cutting down the number of free passes issued by the Bolts staff was a priority. The walk total was less than half of the average number of walks the Bolts have issued per game in 2019. Perhaps more importantly, none of the three Grays who walked, scored.
The Grays duo of starting pitcher Jake Lewis (E Kentucky U) and reliever Bryce Ross (Southern U A) gave up seven bases on balls. Unfortunately for the Grays, two Bolt batters who received free passes—DaVonn Griffin and Ian McMillan—scored the two runs that won the game for Silver Spring-Takoma.
For an interesting take on last night’s game, read Matt Cohen on the Cal Ripken League website [http://www.calripkenleague.org/view/calripkenleague], who wrote that T-Bolts Head Coach Doug Remer thought Corey Rosier would have beaten out the ground ball to Grays shortstop Justin Johnson in the bottom of the ninth inning that led to the Bolts’ winning run. The ball went through Johnson for an error, scoring Ian McMillan from third—making Rosier’s dash down the line moot. But Remer was insistent that Rosier would have been safe at first, allowing McMillan to score anyway.
The two teams hook up again tonight at DC. The game will be broadcast at 6:55 pm by the T-Bolts Radio Network with Neal Lavon and Nate Kresh on the call. Clark Boinis will be on Twitter if you can’t tune in the game.
The Bolts have won twice at Nats Academy this season and are still undefeated against the Grays at Blair. The Bolts hope that, with a win tonight, the Blair streak doesn’t have to be defended on a winner take all game on Sunday.