By Matt Brown
SILVER SPRING – After only eight games this season, the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts looked to be in midseason form in their 14-10 win over the visiting FCA Braves at Montgomery Blair Baseball Stadium on June 14.
The first inning gave the impression that the game was going to turn into a pitchers duel. Thunderbolts starting pitcher Yash Rane and the Braves’ starting pitcher Patrick Halligan each put down their first three batters.
After the Braves were unable to score in the top of the second, Silver Spring-Takoma erupted. The Thunderbolts fired off a 10-run inning, starting with consecutive home runs by first baseman Daulton Martin and second baseman Tony Gallo. The Thunderbolts continued to rattle off hits after their home runs as they batted around in the order.
In his next at-bat of the inning, Gallo drove in two more runs with an RBI single that totaled the Thunderbolts’ seventh hit. Ian McMillan would cap off their successful streak with a line drive RBI double to give Silver Spring-Takoma a 10-run advantage.
“I have never gone back-to-back before but I had the easy part,” said Martin. “We just got the bats going and hitting is contagious.”
The Braves did their best to respond to the outburst of power from the Thunderbolts. First baseman Marcos Pujols crushed a hit over the center field fence a solo home run over to lead off the second inning for the visitors.
Center fielder Jack Cone also cut into the lead with an RBI single of his own making it the Braves’ second run of the game.
Once the Thunderbolts tacked on an additional run in the third, Pujols came up big again for FCA in the following inning. He connected a line drive hit that nearly was his second home run of the game. Instead, the ball bounced off the fence and the Dominican Republic native settled for a double that drove in another run for the Braves.
“I felt like we had it under control most of the time, (but) they just started chipping and we got a little concerned,” said Martin.
Despite striking out the side in the fourth, the Braves still attempted their impossible run for a comeback. Infielder Ryan Davis powered through with a home run of his own in the top of the fifth, reducing their deficit by six runs.
The home side responded right away in the fifth with Martin’s hit to drive in the Thunderbolt’s 12th run of the game.
Rane would get pulled after five innings of work, surrendering five runs while striking out five batters. Alex Mykut entered the game in relief for Rane and threw a scoreless inning in the sixth.
Center fielder Braden Odom brought life to the Braves hopes of getting back in the game with a blistering hit for a two-run home run that made it a 12-8 game. However, the away team was not able to rally off of the momentum as pitcher Rojo Prairie forced Wesley Lane to ground out to end the seventh inning.
“We have a lot of things to work on still,” said Thunderbolts Head Coach Doug Remer. “The pitchers haven’t been as sharp as we wanted early on and that’s attributing to the reason the games are close.”
Infielder Ryan Roell doubled in two more runs for an additional cushion for the Thunderbolts. The Braves mustered up two more runs in the eighth inning and looked poised to tie the game with the bases loaded in the ninth. However, relief pitcher Brendan Collins struck out Ryan Zwier to give Silver Spring-Takoma their second consecutive win.
The Thunderbolts will hope to carry their winning momentum forward into their next set of games, including a three-game road trip from June 24-26. Remer said that the group has been slowly getting together and will be expecting positive results moving forward.
“The chemistry off the first day was there,” said Remer. “We have a goal because the more we win, the more looks we’ll get and I think they understand that.”