Although they appeared in complete command for much of the contest, the Silver Spring-Takoma Park Thunderbolts withstood a late rally from the visiting Baltimore Dodgers for a 5-3 victory in front of 114 spectators Saturday at Montgomery Blair High School.
Silver Spring gained an early 2-0 lead in the fourth and extended the advantage to 5-1 by adding three runs in the sixth, but the T-Bolts nearly allowed the victory to slip away in the ninth. Baltimore scored two runs against reliever Josh Kisamore, but Connor Tagg retired Alex Delacruz Rodriguez for the final out when right fielder Jason Baytop, Jr. made a diving catch with two runners aboard.
“That's pretty much how a lot of our games have been going,” said Silver Spring second-year coach Doug Remer. “It seems like we have things under control and then all of a sudden something happens. But tonight we got good pitching from [starter] Danny [O'Donnell], Jordan [Church] and Nick [Moylan], and then Jason made a great catch in right to get the last out.”
O'Donnell, an Olney native who graduated from St. John's College High School and then spent his freshman year at George Washington University and his sophomore season at Gallaudet, pitched five scoreless innings to get the win. Reliever Jordan Church went two scoreless and Nick Moylan, a Silver Spring native and Our Lady of Good Counsel graduate now at he University of Delaware, pitched a scoreless eighth.
“I thought I had a pretty good fastball,” said O'Donnell, who allowed only two hits and walked four in five shutout innings. “I think I threw my fastball on 85 percent of my pitches. For me it's about pounding the strike zone. I walked too many guys tonight, but the defense made some really good plays behind me.”
T-bolts third baseman Pat Hisle, a Walt Whitman graduate and rising sophomore at the University of Maryland, went 1 for 4 at the plate, scored the team's fourth run and he also made two stellar defensive plays. In the second, he made a nice backhand grab toward the bag and then threw out Connor Graham. In the eighth he made a diving stop to his glove side and threw out Trejon Smith to end the inning.
“He makes plays like that all the time,” Remer said. “I was waiting for the shortstop to field the ball and the next thing I know Pat smothers it and comes up throwing to get the batter. That was a heck of play, but he's been doing that all season.”
Silver Spring broke the scoreless game by getting two runs on three hits in the fourth. Jake Taylor opened the inning with a double and Baytop followed with a single to right, then stole second. Then with one out, Brian Ruditys smacked a 1-1 pitch into left for a single that scored Taylor and Baytop.
Baltimore got one run back in the sixth against Church, but the hosts responded with three runs in the home half of the frame. Daniel Heleine opened the inning with a double to left and went to third on a one-out single by Hisle. After Jack Graham struck out, Brodie Leftridge delivered a two-run single to center. Leftridge stole second and third and scored on a wild pitch.
Trailing 5-1 heading to the ninth, Baltimore made things interesting against Kisamore. Justin Morales drew a lead-off walk and Carey Cheek got a one-out free pass. After Graham struck out, Ryan Dickt followed with a two-run double that T-Bolts left fielder Ruditys appeared to lose in the lights. After Kisamore hit Rogers with a pitch, Remer sent Tagg to the mound and he garnered a save when Baytop made a diving catch in shallow right.
WP — Danny O'Donnell. LP — Carter Burns. SV — Connor Tagg. 2B: B — Ryan Dickt. SST — Daniel Heleine, Jake Taylor. RBI: B — Justin Morales 1, Ryan Dickt 2. SST — Brian Ruditys 2, Brodie Leftridge 2.