By Anna Dunlavey
The DC Grays slugged their way to an early lead in Sunday afternoon’s home game against the Baltimore Dodgers, and did just enough to hold on by an 8-6 score. The win improves the Grays’ record to 2-2 — good enough for third place in the Southern Division of the Ripken League.
Starting pitcher John Cain (Lafayette) threw no-hit ball for six innings and picked up the win. CF Bryan Baquer (Washington College) went 2-4 with a walk, scored two runs and had one RBI. Both of Baquer’s hits were for extra bases.
The Grays wasted no time generating offense, scoring four runs in the first inning and two more in the second. After leadoff hitter Baquer doubled and 3B Keifer Rawlings (Bucknell) followed with a base hit, DH Kurt Sinnen (Old Dominion) singled up the first base line to score Baquer. Rawlings scored on a single from RF Tony Holton (Jackson State) before C Hunter Southerland (Texas Tech) came up for an eventful, but lucky, at bat. Sinnen and Holton both advanced a base after a passed ball, and when the Dodgers 1B bobbled a ground ball, Southerland was safe at first and Sinnen was safe at the plate. Holton scored the fourth run of the game on a sacrifice fly from LF Lamar Briggs (Jackson State).
In the bottom of the second, after Grays SS Jackson Kramer (Lafayette) led off with a single and stole second, Baquer lined a triple to deep right field, scoring Kramer. Baquer then scored on a single from Rawlings. Meanwhile on the mound, Cain kept the Dodger’s bats completely silent, walking three batters and striking out seven.
The Grays picked up two more runs in the bottom of the fifth to get an 8-0 lead. Briggs, who reached first on an error and moved to second on a walk by 2B Mike Caputo (Seton Hall), scored on a double to deep center from Kramer. Caputo scored on a sacrifice fly from Sinnen. The runs didn’t seem important at the time, but by the seventh inning, they proved crucial.
Will Korosec (Stevens Tech) came out to relieve Cain in the top of the seventh, and walked the first two batters he faced. Both Dodger runners scored. Steven Ghiardi (Millersville) took over with two outs and retired the side, but ran into trouble in the eighth. Ghiardi hit two batters, one with the bases loaded, and a run scored. Zack Irwin (East Mississippi CC) took over for Ghiardi in a bases loaded jam, but gave up two singles in a row before retiring the side. In all, four runners scored in the inning, closing the gap to 8-6.
Marlon Pruitt (Grambling State) came in to close the game. What had once been a blowout was now a save situation, but Pruitt kept it under control. After two quick outs, he walked a batter, but struck out the next batter to end the game.
The Grays will be on the road tomorrow night, taking on the Gaithersburg Giants at Criswell Automotive Field. The Grays return home to the Washington Nationals Youth Academy on Wednesday night to host the Bethesda Big Train.