2019 CRCBL Pitcher of the Year -- Chase Lee
Date: Aug 13, 2019
By Matt Cohen
BETHESDA -- As the Bethesda Big Train threatened to take the lead in the late innings, D.C. Grays manager Reggie Terry felt something he hadn’t before – he wasn’t nervous.
“Not with this team,” Terry said. “I had complete confidence that we would take care of it.”
Terry said in past years he didn’t have the pitching staff to have that confidence.
But that confidence would be rewarded Saturday night.
In both the seventh and eighth innings, the Big Train had the go-ahead run in scoring position. After having already allowed two runs in the seventh inning, Rasesh Pandya (Wofford) induced a groundout and a lineout to escape the inning.
In the eighth inning Jarred Norman (Virginia State) allowed Bethesda to load the bases all with two outs. But Norman too was able to escape as Tate Soderstrom (Arizona) popped out to second.
The Grays walked into Shirley Povich Field having scored the most runs thus far in the Cal Ripken League.
Though it was the pitching of D.C. Grays that kept it undefeated as it beat the Bethesda Big Train 4-3.
The win marks the first 4-0 start in Terry’s tenure as head coach.
Reid McLaughlin (BYU) started the game for the Grays after not having started at all during the spring. McLaughlin said he had to change his routine in preparation for the start, but once he stepped on the mound, it felt no different than coming out of bullpen.
McLaughling’s performance at Shirley Povich Field continued to build on his 7-1 record and 2.61 ERA this spring with BYU as he pitched five innings, and held the Big Train to just one run. McLaughlin pitched to contact, but didn’t allow a Big Train batter to touch third base until he allowed the one run in the fifth inning.
“My fastball and changeup were working really good,” McLaughlin said. “They were playing off of each other so I just rotated that and threw my slider when I had to and it all worked pretty good.”
McLaughlin was able to keep going despite being tired as he reached the fourth and fifth innings, having been on the mound for longer than he had during the season with BYU.
Though McLauglin got no support from his offense as Bethesda’s Jacob McCarvel (California Baptist) matched him inning for inning.
It was in the top of the fifth inning where the Grays finally broke through.
Sebastian Martinez (Austin Peay) entered the game in relief of McCarvel to begin the top of the fifth inning. Robby Wacker (Richmond) led off the inning with a walk, sparking the Grays’ offense.
Wacker came around to score on an errant throw to give the Grays a 1-0 lead. After Bryan Call (BYU) aided his college teammate McLaughlin with a double and Justin Johnson (Lafayette) singled, the Grays extended the lead to 4-0.
The four-run fifth inning would be all the offense D.C. needed to win at Povich Field. Barely.
The Big Train slowly clawed back with a run in the bottom of the fifth, and threatened to take the lead in the bottom of the seventh and again in the bottom of the eighth. But it was the clutch pitching of Pandya and Norman that kept D.C. in the lead.
“They’ve shown grit,” Terry said of his pitching staff. “We’ve been down a couple times in the games that we’ve played, and we’ve figured out a way to win it. Guys are in the positions where they’re supposed to be. They’re listening, so they’re receptive to what we’re coaching and that’s what’s providing me with the confidence.”
Chase Lee (Alabama) threw 3.2 perfect innings out of the Big Train bullpen to keep his team in the game, and a chance to complete the comeback. But the Grays bullpen just continued to find ways to hold on.
Austin Deming (BYU) is listed on the Grays roster as an infielder, but he came in for the save in the bottom of the ninth inning and executed. Deming sealed the win for D.C. picking up the save and allowing McLaughlin – his college and summer teammate – to get the win.
D.C. remained undefeated with the win while Bethesda drops to 2-2 after suffering its second straight loss.