So often this season, the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts rode their explosive offense to victory, supporting an inconsistent pitching staff.
Friday, though, the pitching carried an inconsistent offense in the Thunderbolts’ 2-1 walk-off win over the DC Grays in Game 1 of the Cal Ripken League Semifinals.
Early on, it looked as though the typical narrative would take hold, as Brady Pearre singled in a run in the first inning and Silver Spring-Takoma stranded two on in the second.
But Grays starter Jake Lewis worked out of trouble and settled in after that, allowing just two hits and one run in five solid innings.
Thunderbolts starter Alex Mykut was just as strong, allowing three baserunners in the first three innings.
The Grays broke through in the fourth, as Blake Martin scored on a sacrifice fly.
But that would be the lone blemish on Mykut’s outing, as he sailed through the fifth before giving way to Luke Rettig. Mykut allowed three hits and an unearned run in five innings, striking out five.
Rettig kept DC at bay, tossing three shutout innings and wriggling his way out of a two-on, no-out seventh-inning jam.
But the Thunderbolts’ bats continued to slump, with Bryce Ross shutting down Silver Spring-Takoma through the eighth inning.
Tyler Dyball pitched a clean ninth for the Thunderbolts, setting the stage for their offense to wake up.
Pinch hitter Ian McMillan led off with a walk and advanced to third on a stolen base and error with no outs. Ross got the next two hitters out, but Grays shortstop Justin Johnson then misplayed a Corey Rosier groundball, plating McMillan and giving the Thunderbolts a critical win.
Silver Spring-Takoma will seek to clinch their first appearance in the League Championship Series since 2006 tomorrow at the Washington Nationals Youth Academy. Starting pitchers have not been announced.