WASHINGTON – The Gaithersburg Giants needed only an extra push to get them over the D.C. Grays in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League on June 26, but could not find it in a 7-5 loss.
The hits did not land for Gaithersburg when they should have, and an unlucky home run late in the game made it harder for them to make a comeback.
The league is at its midpoint in the season. While the Bethesda Big Train leads all teams with 14 wins as of June 25, the remaining five teams (Gaithersburg, included) are not far behind. One win could shift the standings as three teams have nine wins and two have six.
Gaithersburg has shifted to a 9-11 record after the loss to D.C. and is fourth in the leaderboard for the league as of June 25, with three more wins than the two last-place teams (FCA Braves and Alexandria Aces).
“You just gotta take it a day at a time. This league is very competitive, and things change from day to day,” said Gaithersburg Head Coach Jeff Rabberman.
For most of the match, it was a game of catchup for Gaithersburg, while D.C. aimed to keep their lead. Never too far from tying the game up, Gaithersburg struggled to make hits against D.C.’s pitching corps early in the game but took advantage of loaded bases when they could.
“Tonight, and throughout the season what we need to do is limit our walks, errors, obviously the standard things that put you in a hole, but tonight we did that,” said D.C. Head Coach Reggie Terry. “We were able to come out of the bullpen and do what we needed to do, and that’s why we held the lead.”
D.C. scored two runs on a single hit in the second inning to start the game off, with bases loaded. Infielder Joshua Congdon hit a single grounder with on a full count with two outs to bring home infielders Austin Deming and Justin Johnson. Gaithersburg was in a bind, as an out would have guaranteed at least a run for D.C., while D.C. had to capitalize on a prime opportunity like this one to get ahead early.
In the fourth inning, Gaithersburg scored when infielder Brandon Greim was walked with the bases loaded, bringing home outfielder Harris Williams. A sacrificial hit by infielder Gino Avros brought home catcher Brendan Hord for Gaithersburg’s second run. After stealing third, Johnson scored when catcher Reece Yeargain was tagged out.
The Greys scored again when Congdon hit a single to bring home infielder Robby Wacker and put D.C. up by two runs in the fourth inning.
Gaithersburg tied it up again at the top of the fifth, scoring two runs, starting with a bunt by Williams brought home infielder Cade Doughty. Two consecutive doubles by the Greys lead to one run driven home, returning the advantage to the home team.
Outfielder Noah Searcy fired off a line drive hit out of the park in the sixth inning for a solo home run, giving the Greys a two-run lead once again.
“Really just looking for a pitch to hit, I fought off a few good pitches, and I was a little upset about that, but I finally got my pitch to hit and did some damage to it, so it was nice,” said Searcy.
A single by Gaithersburg in the eighth inning brought home infielder Harris Kain, but a failed catch by Hord at the bottom of the inning allowed Congdon to slide home for another D.C. two-point lead. Gaithersburg could not muster another run in the ninth as they stay two games under .500.
“Every time we’d score, they’d score…we need to score a little bit more,” said Kain.