Baseball is a game not predicated on the normal, and Sunday night in Silver Spring, the Thunderbolts and Gaithersburg Giants experienced that firsthand.
The Thunderbolts rode their offense and survived a blown lead as they held off late rallies by the Giants to pull out 5-4 and 12-9 victories in a doubleheader.
The first game began calmly, as Thunderbolts starter Bradyn Kail and Giants starter Nick Parker each fashioned two scoreless innings. Trouble struck for both in the third, though.
Gino Avros and Cade Doughty singled in runs and Jared Johnson hit a sacrifice fly to put Gaithersburg up 3-0. The lead did not last long, as DaVonn Griffin drilled a two-run double and Luke Trainer drove in another run to tie the game in the bottom of the inning.
The Giants took the lead again in the fifth as Brandon Greim scored on a wild pitch, but the Thunderbolts answered in the bottom of the inning.
With two outs and a runner on, Parker was pulled for Michael Matter, who immediately surrendered a towering two-run homer to Luke Trainer that put the Thunderbolts up 5-4.
Matter hit the next batter Ryan Roell and was ejected from the game, along with Giants manager Jeff Rabberman. No warnings were issued, and the Thunderbolts bullpen shut down Gaithersburg from there to pick up a win.
The Thunderbolts started faster in the second game, plating two runs in the first inning off Max Goron to take an early lead. They continued to pour it on in the second against Goron, who gave up four consecutive run-scoring singles as Silver Spring-Takoma knocked him out of the game and took a 7-0 lead.
Tanner Jacobson took the mound for the Thunderbolts and was solid in his second start of the season. He gave up three runs and struck out six in 4.2 innings, though he walked eight batters. By the time Brenden Williams took over for Jacobson, the Thunderbolts led 9-3 and were cruising, not allowing a hit through five innings.
But in the sixth inning, the game took a turn for the unusual.
After a 15-minute delay due to an umpire injury, Giants left fielder Carson Jones broke up the no-hitter with a leadoff single off Williams, who pitched for the first time since his junior year of high school. The Giants then loaded the bases with no outs and scraped across two runs before catcher Brendan Hord stepped to the plate.
Hord lined a pitch into right field — which got behind a diving Quinn McKenna — and cleared the bases, cutting the Thunderbolts’ lead to 9-8. The next pitch bounced away from catcher Chris Brady, allowing Hord to score, and just like that, Silver Spring-Takoma’s six-run lead was gone.
Damon Fernandez tried to preserve the Giants’ newfound momentum in the bottom of the inning, but a bout of wildness overcame him. Fernandez faced six batters and walked four, unleashing five consecutive wild pitches to plate two runners and put the Thunderbolts back on top. Williams scored on a passed ball later in the inning to add insurance.
Alex Mykut shut down the Giants in the seventh, getting Warren Laster to ground into a fielder’s choice with two runners on to seal the wild win.
After a day off, the Thunderbolts return to action Tuesday against the FCA Braves riding a four-game winning streak.