2019 CRCBL Pitcher of the Year -- Chase Lee
Date: Aug 13, 2019
By Matt Cohen
BETHESDA – The Bethesa Big Train last threw a no-hitter in 2005.
In the first eight games of the 2019 season, the Big Train have thrown two.
On June 6, the second game of the year and the home opener for the Big Train, the staff combined for an unconventional no-hitter. A play scored as a hit was changed to an error the morning after the game, turning an 8-0 win into a no-hitter as well.
On June 15, there was no-doubt when anyone left Shirley Povich Field about how the box score would look the next morning.
“One of the best, no question one of the best,” Big Train manager Sal Colangelo said of how the pitching performance stacks up to what he’s seen in his long career.
The Big Train used six pitchers to throw their second no-hitter in 2019 and third in team history, highlighting a 10-0 win over the Gaithersburg Giants.
“They were dominant,” Colangelo said. “They worked ahead in the count. Found the holes in the hitters. Worked with Jacob [Southern] where we needed to make pitches. They just pitched, they didn’t throw, they pitched tonight.”
With the win, Bethesda increased its lead in the CRCBL standings to 1.5 games, the largest lead it has had in the young season.
The strikeout numbers for the Bethesda pitchers weren’t high. The six pitchers only struck out seven batters. Bethesda’s pitchers induced soft contact throughout the night, creating simple plays for the defense.
With rain delays throughout the week, Colangelo said he wanted to work in as many guys as possible, as many of his pitchers needed innings. For some pitchers, throwing in the no-hitter was their first appearance of the summer.
Jacob McCarvel (California Baptist) started the game for Bethesda, his second start of the year. He allowed just one base runner, as he hit Harris Kain (North Alabama) to lead off the third inning. Cade Dougthy (LSU) was the only base runner to reach against Michael Bechtold (James Madison) in his two innings of work.
Jarred Billen (California Baptist) tossed a perfect sixth inning and Jack Weeks (Georgetown) was perfect in the seventh.
Weeks is the only pitcher to throw in both no-hitters.
Elliot Zoellner (Maryland) and Carter Spivey (East Carolina) each allowed one base runner, but were able to seal the no-hitter in the eighth and ninth inning respectively. The two pitchers each made their first appearance of the summer as part of closing out the game.
The Big Train lost two straight games after starting 2-0 in 2019. It was the first time Bethesda had lost two straight since 2017.
In the two losses, Bethesda combined to score seven runs while allowing 17.
Sal Colangelo didn’t say anything to his team. Instead the Big Train got healthy. Players continued to arrive from their respective universities and injured players returned to the lineup.
Bethesda quickly turned it around.
The Big Train have put up double-digit runs in three of its four consecutive wins, the one exception being an eight run output in a June 12 win over Gaithersburg.
“When you come here you switch from aluminum to wood, there’s and adjustment period,” Colangelo said. “We’re making the adjustment.”
The Big Train offense put pressure on the Giants throughout the first four innings. Bethesda got a run in the third inning on a Kobe Kato (Arizona) sacrifice fly, but stranded seven runners through the fourth inning.
Tate Soderstrom (Arizona) drove in two runs in the fifth inning and Kris Kremer (Penn State) drove in a third as Bethesda’s lead increased to 4-0, its first cushion of the game.
Bethesda blew the game wide open with four-run bottom of the sixth inning. The Big Train capitalized on a close call after what looked like a Harris Williams (San Francisco) diving catch in left field. The ruling of a hit led to four Bethesda runs, as the lead ballooned to 8-0. Jacob Southern (Jacksonville) hit a two-run home run easily clearing the left-field wall as part of the two-out rally. The home run was his league leading third of the year.
The offense finished the game with 10 runs on 12 hits. Soderstrom had three RBIs while Kremer and Southern each had two. Soderstrom went 3-3 with two walks in the Big Train victory.
During the four game win streak the Bethesda pitching staff has two shutouts, and allowed just two runs against the Giants on June 12. The D.C. Grays scored 12 Friday night against the Big Train, but 13 runs from the offense provided support.
With the win Bethesda improved to 6-2 this summer and have not lost to Gaithersburg since 2017. Gaithersburg dropped to 5-4 with the loss, its third straight defeat. After taking over first place last Sunday, the Giants have gone 1-3.
Both teams will be in action on Father’s Day. Bethesda will play a double-header at Povich Field against Alexandria while Gaithersburg will play a double-header against Silver Spring on the road.