It was a tale of two games Tuesday in Washington, as the DC Grays and Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts each rallied from big deficits to split a doubleheader.
In game one, the Thunderbolts jumped on Grays’ starter Cam Fowler early, loading the bases with no outs in the first inning before Brady Pearre singled in a run and Ian McMillan drove in DaVonn Griffin on a sacrifice fly.
Silver Spring-Takoma added to their lead in the second, with Corey Rosier doubling in Cade Swisher and Griffin singling home Rosier one batter later. Rosier, a 2018 Thunderbolt who led the team in multiple offensive categories last year, made his season debut Tuesday.
The Grays responded in the bottom of the inning off Thunderbolts’ starter Zeke Gongola. Robby Wacker blasted a three-run home run to left-center field to cut the Thunderbolts lead to one.
Three innings later, Josh Cowden tied the game on a first-pitch home run. Gongola got out of the rest of the inning unscathed, but that would end his night. He allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings while striking out five and walking two.
For the Grays, Fowler allowed four runs and six hits in four innings while striking out one and walking two, giving way to Hayden Wynja.
Wynja worked a perfect fifth inning for DC but struggled in the sixth. The Thunderbolts loaded the bases with one out before Brady Pearre scored on a wild pitch to give Silver Spring-Takoma a 5-4 lead.
McMillan and Tyler Murray each scored on a fielder’s choice later in the inning to extend the Thunderbolts’ lead to three.
Magnus Ellerts then came into pitch for the Grays and allowed a Luke Trainer RBI single before getting out of the jam.
The Thunderbolts seemed to be in control, but the Grays came right back in the bottom of the inning.
Matt Day drilled a one-out, two-run double off the center field wall to cut DC’s deficit in half. Three batters later, Austin Deming clobbered a three-run home run to give the Grays a 9-8 lead, their first of the game.
Ellerts held off the Thunderbolts from there, stranding the bases loaded in the seventh inning to seal DC’s win.
The second game was an inverse of the first. DC jumped on Thunderbolts’ starter Ryan Miles in the second inning, loading the bases with two outs before scoring five runs.
Noah Searcy demolished a two-out grand slam over the left field scoreboard to put DC up 4-0, and Jordan Wiley drove in Deming on a double to the left-center field gap to add a run.
The Thunderbolts chipped away at the Grays’ lead in the fourth against Frank Craska. Swisher drove in Rosier on a sacrifice fly and Ryan Roell doubled in Tony Gallo to cut the deficit to 5-2.
DC answered in the bottom of the inning, scoring two runs on a wild pitch and a groundout to go back up by five.
Rojo Prairie relieved Miles in the fifth inning. Miles gave up seven runs and six hits while striking out five in four innings.
Against Prairie, Searcy continued his strong evening, blasting his second home run — a two-run shot — to put the Grays up 9-2. Wiley then singled in the Grays’ tenth run two batters later.
But then the Thunderbolts began their comeback. Rosier scored on an error in the sixth inning to cut into the Grays’ lead, ending Craska’s night. Craska struck out five while allowing five earned runs and five hits in five-plus innings.
New pitcher Jacob Hardney struggled, walking in Lyle Miller-Green and allowing Jack Schroeder and Swisher to score on two wild pitches. He recorded two outs before giving way to Jarren Norman.
Norman got Rosier to ground out to get out of the inning with the Grays’ lead down to four.
By this point, Prairie had settled in and the Thunderbolts’ offense continued to surge. In the seventh, Swisher drove in Miller-Green with a sacrifice fly, and Ryan Roell singled in Schroeder to bring the score to 10-8.
After a scoreless eighth inning, the Thunderbolts completed the comeback in the ninth.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Luke Trainer singled into right field, scoring McMillan and Griffin to knot the game at 10. Lucas Donlon then drove a double off the center field wall, plating two more runs, ending Norman’s night and giving Silver Spring-Takoma their first lead of game two.
The Thunderbolts added an insurance run to go up 13-10 before new Grays pitcher Tre Terry got DC out of the inning.
Greg Albert — who picked up his first win of the season — shut down the Grays in the bottom of the ninth, working around a walk and hit batter to seal the Thunderbolts’ largest comeback victory in nearly two years.