On the first home Sunday afternoon at the Washington Nationals Youth Academy this season, the DC Grays hosted the Bethesda Big Train, who came into the game with a league-best 11-2 record, and sat atop the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League standings.
Hoping to rebound after a tough loss the night before to the South County-Metropolitan Braves, the Grays battled the Bethesda Big Train for the third time this season.
The Grays got on the board early in the first inning, as Tyler Horvat (Washington & Jefferson) stood on second base and Sam Blancato (Georgia Southern) on first converted a double-steal with no outs, while an errant throw to second base sailed over the shortstop’s head from the Big Train allowed Horvat to score.
Taking a 1-0 lead, the bats for both sides went cold until the bottom of the fifth, until Blancato roped an RBI double that scored Horvat from first as the Grays doubled their lead.
Then, in the next at-bat, Cam Bufford (Grambling State) smoked an RBI single that allowed Blancato to scurry home from second, making it 3-0 Grays through five innings.
The Big Train, however, finally got on the board in the sixth, thanks to a solo home run to right-center field by D.M. Jefferson off of Jake Davidson (Kenyon) to make it 3-1.
Davidson, who started for the Grays, cruised through the 22 Big Train hitters he faced, and he finished the day with three strikeouts, two walks, five hits and one run allowed through six innings on 75 pitches.
Heading into the top of the ninth with a 3-1 lead in hand, the energy in the stands around the stadium felt as though it was going to be a feel-good win against the best team in the league.
But disaster struck for the Grays, as the Big Train loaded the bases off of a walk and two singles, before Sean Lane recorded a two-RBI single to tie the game, and TJ Rogers gave the Big Train a 4-3 lead with an RBI single of his own.
The Grays couldn’t make any magic happen in the bottom of the ninth, even though Jarett Jenkins (Georgia Southern) walked to lead off the inning. But from there, it was three up, three down to end the game, as the Big Train’s closer struck out the next three batters he faced.
The DC Grays fall to 6-10 and stand at fifth in the standings. They’ll travel to Olney, Md. to take on the Cropdusters for the third time this season with a 5 p.m. first pitch on Monday night. The Grays play two more road games this week and return home on Friday, July 1 to face the South County Braves (7 p.m.).
On a cool and crisp Saturday evening for Cal Ripken League baseball, the DC Grays and South County-Metropolitan Braves engaged in another competitive battle on the diamond. The Grays were coming off a two-game split against the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts while the Braves defeated the Gaithersburg Giants the night prior. Going into the matchup, the Braves had nabbed the first two matchups over the Grays this summer. However, both outcomes had been within three runs. The Grays had another shot to close the gap on the Braves.
The game had a quiet beginning as the first inning yielded one base runner for each side. Tyler Horvat (Washington & Jefferson) was the starting pitcher for the Grays, his first start of the season after playing a trusty left field in the previous games this week. Horvat relied on his defense and the glove of Cam Bufford (Grambling State) early on. Bufford fielded and threw out two potential base runners in the first inning.
Then in the top of the second inning, the first firework was sent off the bat of Jarrett Jenkins (Georgia Southern) to put the Grays up 2-0. Jenkins smashed the first pitch he saw in the at-bat and gave the ball a ride over the left center field wall. After the top half of the second, Horvat and the defense worked through a bottom half jam that saw Braves runners reach second and third base but neither cross home plate.
Not much occurred during the third and fourth inning for either offense. Those innings were pitchers and defense duels where three total players reached a base. Closing off the fourth inning, Horvat found his groove on the mound. He struck out back-to-back batters swinging to give the Grays some mojo heading into the fifth. And with this spark plug, the Grays ignited their offense.
Jenkins picked up right where he left off, smacking a single to lead off the inning. After Patrick Vandenbergh (Lafayette) drew a walk, Sam Blancato (Georgia Southern) stepped into the batter's box. Jenkins moved up to third base off a wild pitch in Blancato’s at-bat. Then he was able to scurry across home plate when Blancato skied a pitch just far enough into the outfield so Jenkins could tack on Grays’ third run of the evening.
Horvat started mowing down Braves hitters in the bottom halves of the fifth and sixth innings. Two strikeouts in the fifth were registered from the hot arm of Horvat. Furthermore, two more Braves batters guessed wrong on Horavt’s high fastballs and off-speed filth in the sixth inning. When Tyler Horavt exited the game, he allowed no runs and one hit while striking out nine batters. Quite the remarkable outing on the bump for Horvat.
In the sixth inning, the Grays decided to flip the batting order upside down. Nearly the entire original 1-9 hitters were switched out on offense and defense. This change was pre-planned and proved to work in the sixth inning. Max Harper (BYU) led the frame off with a solo shot early into his count. It was his second home run of the summer and it powered the Grays to a 4-0 lead. Later in the same inning, Brian Depman (Georgetown) blooped a single in between two fielders which scored Michael Mallas (Lafayette). The Grays held a 5-0 lead entering the final three innings.
But then the Grays coughed up their lead as a trio of pitchers combined to yield seven runs in the bottom of the seventh – though not all of the runs were earned to put DC down, 7-5, entering the top of the eighth.
Down by two runs now, the Grays were unable to deal with the sudden change in momentum. The pitching and defense sharpened up in the eighth but the offense couldn’t recover. After going down 1-2-3 in their frame of the eighth, the Grays showed some life when held to their last three outs. Blancato smoked a single followed by a Bryce Molinaro (St. John’s) walk. There were two runners on with two outs for Harper who homered back in the sixth inning. However, a well-struck ball found leather out in the field and the game was over with the Grays falling to the Braves 7-5.
The Grays now fall to 6-9 on the summer and sit in fifth place in the Cal Ripken league standings, sitting ahead of the Thunderbolts and Cropdusters The Grays game will look to get back in the win column on Sunday at 1 p.m. back at the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy. DC will have a big chance to rebound as they face the league-leading 11-2 Bethesda Big Train.
For the first time in nearly a week, the DC Grays (6-7) couldn’t come away with a close win, falling, 5-3, to the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts (4-8) at the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy on Thursday night.
The bullpen dazzled for the Grays, however, combining for eight shutout innings of one-hit ball, but a two-run blast from Max Harper (BYU) in the first and a seventh inning error that allowed a run to score were all the Grays could muster against the Thunderbolts.
Tyler Allen (Xavier (L.A.)) earned his fourth start of the year and cruised through the first inning. Despite a one-out walk, Allen got Casey Gibbs and Ian Jenkins to fly out and ground out, respectively, to end the inning.
The Grays came out of the gates strong in the first. Henry Zipay (Nebraska-Omaha) singled to kickstart the lineup and would eventually steal second base. The Thunderbolts starter would retire the next two batters before Max Harper drove Zipay and himself home with a two-run homer.
Aaron Thomas (Wofford) drew a walk, and Tyler Horvat (Washington and Jefferson) singled to put runners on first and second before a lineout ended the inning.
Allen, meanwhile, went back out to the mound for the top of the second, but he would falter, giving up a double and three straight walks before a comebacker would knock two runs in and him out of the game.
Tratton Strahlei (BYU) struck out two batters in a row and would get the eventual third out, working out of a bases-loaded tough situation. But the damage was done and the Grays trailed 5-2 heading into the bottom of the second.
The bats went cold until the seventh, a spell in which the offense collected just two hits, two walks, and six strikeouts in that time. The two hits came courtesy of Sam Blancato (Georgia Southern) and Cam Bufford (Grambling State) singles.
Camden Mounts (Catholic) helped steady the ship with three shutout innings. Working through two 1-2-3 innings and a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fourth by getting back-to-back flyouts.
Diego Barett (George Mason) recorded a strikeout in two no-hit innings, bridging the gap from the sixth through the seventh.
The seventh and the eighth would prove the Grays’ best chances to get back into the contest. With two outs in the seventh, Zipay hit a rocket single. Then, a collision in shallow left field between the left fielder and shortstop allowed a fly ball off the bat of Blancato to drop in and sent Zipay sprinting home, and brought DC back to within two runs, 5-3.
The eighth brought back-to-back one-out singles by Aaron Thomas and Tyler Horvat. The Grays looked to be in business before a strikeout and a fly ball to the center fielder ended the threat.
Sam Stratton (Wofford) pitched the eighth, and Adam Bogosian (Lafayette) would close out the ninth. Each recorded a strikeout in their hitless innings and brought the game to the bottom of the ninth, with the score still at 5-3.
A lead off single sparked hope but an unsuccessful steal of second and two strikeouts would bring the evening to a close in Southeast DC. The DC Grays snapped their three-game winning streak, but will look to get back on track against the South County Braves on Saturday night at South County High School. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m.
For the third night in a row, the DC Grays could call themselves winners after defeating the Silver Spring-Takoma T-Bots, 9-5, at the Washington Nationals Youth Academy on Tuesday night.
There was no need for late-inning dramatics, a reason to bite your nails, or a walk-off single like the Grays got from Max Harper (BYU) on Monday night, but a five-run seventh inning that moved the Grays in front of the T-Bolts for good certainly helped.
Pitching for just the second time since coming off Tommy John surgery, right-hander Joe Bladel (William & Mary) pitched effectively in his two innings on the bump. He worked around an early run in the first to set Silver Spring’s Justin Taylor down with a strikeout to end the first before posting a clean second inning.
Then, needing many innings from the bullpen, Nick Fletcher (Holy Cross) stepped up with four innings of work. He struck out three, while his only blemish came on a three-run homer. Outside of that? He was nearly hitless.
The Grays punched back in the bottom of the first when Henry Zipay (Omaha) and Dane Camphausen (Wooster) singled and Aaron Thomas (Wofford) walked to load the bases. That set the stage for Tyler Horvat’s (Washington & Jefferson) hard-hit ground ball that the first baseman couldn’t come up with to score Zipay from third.
The T-Bolts scored once more in the third, but again, the Grays struck back again once Camphausen doubled to lead off the bottom half and Jarrett Jenkins (Georgia Southern) drove him in with two outs.
Next, the T-Bolts took the lead back in the fifth with their three-run homer but Fletcher bounced back to record three-straight outs to retire the side before posting a flawless sixth inning. Bryce Molinaro (St. John’s) came on for the top of the seventh and posted a scoreless frame, which set the stage for the Grays to storm back in the bottom half.
DC sent 11 hitters to the plate in the seventh, recording two hits, walking three times and two hit-by-pitches. Here’s how the sequence went:
Zipay was hit-by-a-pitch to lead the inning off; Patrick Vandenbergh (Lafayette) singled; Sam Blancato (Georgia Southern) followed that with a single; Camphausen reached on an error that scored Zipay; Thomas singled which scored Vandenbergh; Horvat was hit-by-a-pitch, driving in Blancato; a wild pitch yielded another run; Michael Mallas (Lafayette) walked to load the bases once more; and Zipay capped the inning off with another walk to score Thomas.
After all of that, the Grays led 7-5 heading into the eighth, to which Caleb Causey (Mississippi Valley State) recorded a shutdown inning. And then, Camphausen’s two-run homer was the nail in the coffin that extended the Grays’ lead to four.
In the ninth, Sam Stratton (Wofford) and Diego Barrett (George Mason) combined to record the final three outs and send the Grays home with their third consecutive win, moving DC to 6-7 on the season.
The Grays will look to get to .500 on the year with a win Thursday night back at the Washington Nationals Youth Academy to face the T-Bolts once again. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m.
All hope seemed lost for a DC Grays comeback in the bottom of the ninth when Cam Bufford (Grambling State) hit a fly ball to right field with two outs and runners on second and third, trailing by two.
Then, the unthinkable happened.
The Cropdusters right fielder dropped the routine fly ball, to which Diego Barrett (George Mason) on third and Sam Blancato (Georgia Southern) on second capitalized upon, scoring to tie it at four a piece on the errant play.
And in the next at-bat, Max Harper (BYU), facing an 0-2 count, drilled the third-pitch he saw straight up the middle to score Bufford from second, walking off the Cropdusters.
But how did the Grays end up in this situation?
Earlier in the game, the Grays pounced first in the bottom of the second, with Logan Scully (George Mason) hitting a double down the left field line, driving in Tyler Horvat (Washington and Jefferson) to take the 1-0 lead.
The Cropdusters quickly responded, however, tying it in the third and in the fourth sending home two, before scoring their last run of the night from a homer in the sixth.
The Grays attempted to make a comeback in the bottom of the eighth, as Bufford drove home Henry Zipay (Nebraska-Omaha) to cut the deficit to two. Within striking distance to tie and then some with the bases loaded, the Grays were cut short, as the Cropdusters relief pitcher who came in with one out subsequently struck out the first two batters he faced, which ended the inning.
Though at the end of the night, the Grays are the ones that end up in the win column, thanks to some unlikely bottom of the ninth heroics, and improve to 5-7 this season.
The Grays will look for their third win in a row and take on the Silver Spring-Takoma T-Bolts Tuesday night at 7 pm.m at the Washington Nationals Youth Academy.
Coming off of three consecutive losses, the DC Grays needed a big-time performance on the road against the Alexandria Aces at Frank Mann Field. That’s exactly what they got on Sunday evening in the form of a 7-0 shutout victory that moves their record to 4-7.
It marked their second straight win over the Aces in Alexandria. The last victory on June 14, marked their first win over Alexandria and the last win on the Grays' record before the three-game slide. Now that streak is over, the Grays can go into this week’s three-game home stand with some momentum.
There was plenty of action for the Grays in the first inning. Sam Blancato (Georgia Southern) was the game’s first base runner, drawing a five-pitch walk, which became the first of three walks on the day for Blancato.
Cam Bufford (Grambling State) reached first base safely thanks to a throwing error from the Aces third baseman. With two on and one out, Bryce Molinaro (St. John’s) smashed a double down the left-field line that scored Blancato and Bufford, giving a 2-0 lead for Grays early.
Over the next couple of innings, the Gray's offense wasn't able to put the ball in play consistently. However, that didn’t end up being an issue since starting pitcher Kai Cummings (Mount St. Mary’s) came out with his best stuff on the mound.
Cummings struck out three batters and allowed one hit in the first three innings to preserve the Gray's 2-0 lead. Near the end of the third, Cummings got some assistance from the Grays' defense. Molinaro, Patrick Vandenbergh (Lafayette), and Dane Camphausen (Wooster) tagged teamed in a 6-4-3 double play.
In the top of the fourth, the middle of the lineup woke up in a big way to plate more runs on the board. Aaron Thomas (Wofford) led off with a single that was followed by an RBI double into the right-center field gap off the bat of Logan Scully (George Mason).
Scully’s double increased the lead to three, but the Grays weren’t quite done in the fourth. Scully tagged up to third base off a fly out. Then Scully made it home safely after another Aces error at third base. Cummings continued his stellar outing on the mound in the bottom half, notching back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning and moved his total to a season-high five strikeouts.
After a quick fifth inning for both sides, the sixth proved to be yet another fruitful inning for the Grays offense.
Scully reached first base off of a dropped third stroke. Two batters later, Camphausen drilled a baseball down out into left field for a double that put him at second and Scully at third. With two outs and two runners in scoring position in the sixth inning, Diego Barrett (George Mason) stepped into the batter's box. Barrett worked himself into a hitters count and delivered the RBI single the Grays were looking for.
Next, Blancato drew yet another walk that loaded the bases for Bufford. In the first bases-loaded situation for the Grays all game, Bufford came through with a single just past the third baseman’s outstretched glove.
Camphausen scored from third and everyone advanced a base. It was now a six-run lead for the Grays with a chance to do more damage. And more was done as Barrett scored from third base off a wild pitch. Blancato tried to score as well but was tagged out at the plate, but not before the Grays tacked on three more runs on the scoreboard to make it a 7-0 game through six innings.
Cummings finished the sixth inning cleanly, even impressing by throwing out at a base runner at first, where he had to dive for the ball near the mound. Replacing Cummings in relief first was Caleb Causey (Mississippi Valley State), who worked the seventh inning. He recorded two strikeouts which ended the inning and kept it a 7-0 game.
The Gray's bats were silenced in the seventh and eighth innings, as Alexandria had a chance to get some runs back, but this hope was snuffed out by the Grays’ excellent pitching. Sam Stratton (Wofford), meanwhile, entered in the eighth. He painted the outside corner to notch a strikeout and keep the good mojo going for the Grays. Thomas, too, also made a sensational diving catch in that right field to save a potential run from scoring home.
Flipping forward to the bottom of the ninth it was Adam Bogosian (Lafayette) who closed the game for the Grays. He ended it in nearly flawless fashion, allowing one walk but striking out another batter. The final out of the game was snagged by Molinaro on a sharp grounder to the third-base side of the infield.
All in all, the DC Grays conquered the Aces in Alexandria behind shutout pitching and sharp hitting. The team will look to keep the winning up in the familiar home confines of Nationals Youth Baseball Academy this upcoming week.
First, they’ll play the Olney Cropdusters Monday night followed by games against the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts on Tuesday and Thursday night. All three games are slated for a 7 p.m. first pitch.
The gauntlet schedule of summer baseball got the better of the DC Grays once more on Thursday night when they matched up with the Bethesda Big Train at Shirley Povich Field. The Grays picked up five hits in seven innings – two of which were for extra bases – but ultimately fell to the Big Train, 12-0, which dropped the Grays to 3-6 this season.
After winning three games in a row earlier this week, DC has some stalled momentum as it has dropped its last two games. But, with the grind of the summer season and players still finding their groove and their respective roles, the Grays aren’t panicking with over three-quarters of the season left.
Wednesday’s loss to the Giants was a back-and-forth affair that Gaithersburg was able to pull out in the end. On Thursday, though, it was all Big Train from the second inning on.
In the beginning, the Grays appeared to be competitive – as they have all season. Jarret Jenkins (Georgia Southern) quickly walked and stole second in the top of the first, which was followed by a flawless bottom half via the right arm of Tyler Allen (Xaiver). Max Harper (BYU) then doubled to lead off the second inning, which continued the Grays’ early momentum.
However, the Big Train seized it in the bottom of the second when it scored the first run of the night. Then, the Grays punched back when Jenkins doubled – DC’s second of the night – with two outs in the third but was left stranded after moving to third on a passed ball.
After that, the Big Train scored 11 more runs over the final five innings of the night. But there were a few Grays that shined on the basepaths – Deigo Barrett (George Mason), Logan Scully (George Mason) and Jenkins all swiped bases. Barrett, too, collected a pair hits – both were singles – in addition to his steal.
A midweek stretch of road games continues on at South County High School on Friday at 7:00 p.m. when the Grays take on the Metro-South County Braves.
The Gaithersburg Giants defeated the DC Grays at the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy Wednesday night by a score of 9-7, thanks to a six-run effort in the top of the fourth by the Giants.
The Grays quickly got on the board against the Giants, putting a pair of runs across home in the bottom of the first thanks to an error and a sacrifice fly from 2021 returner Cam Bufford (Grambling State), who joined the team Tuesday in Alexandria.
The Giants then cut the deficit in half in the top of the 2nd off of a triple from catcher Easton LaPlaca, which scored one run. In the bottom of the third, the Grays struck back and extended their lead to make it a 3-1 game off of an RBI double from Aaron Thomas (Wofford).
The Giants then poured on six runs in a busy top of the fourth, as they batted around to make it 7-3. LaPlaca got his second RBI of the day on a base hit single to score Matt Ryan (Maryland Baltimore). Bryce Demory (VMI) and Joey Bowers (Salisbury) then scored on an error. Drew Vogel (Murray State) hit a two-run shot over the left field wall for his second home run of the season to tack on the sixth run, scoring Dylan Wilkinson (Longwood).
The Giants put up two more in the top of the fifth to up their total up nine total runs, but not before the Grays were able to respond with a few runs of their own. In the bottom of the fourth, Patrick Vandenbergh (Lafayette) scored off of a double by Diego Barrett (George Mason).
Then, in the bottom of the seventh, Jarret Jenkins (Georgia Southern) scored from third off of an error, and in the eighth Bufford smacked a two-RBI single up the middle to make it trim the lead to two, 9-7.
Unfortunately for the Grays, their comeback was cut short thanks to Matthew Vernieri (Bloomsburg University), who struck out the side in the bottom of the 9th to seal the win for the Giants.
The Giants improve to a league best 6-1, and the Grays fall to 3-5 and take on the Big Train in Bethesda Thursday night at 7 p.m.
By Will Locklin
It was an empty game of baseball for over half the runtime of the DC Grays and the Silver-Spring Takoma Thunderbolts under the lights of the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy. But as daylight ceased and the chilling breeze of summer night fell over the field, the Grays awoke. Ten runners crossed home plate and the game quickly ended just as soon as it began.
Before their 11-0 victory over the T-Bolts, the Grays struggled to find their footing in the young 2022 Cal Ripken League summer season. A 12-0 loss to the Gaithersburg Giants and a 15-3 defeat to the Alexandria Aces were tough tests. That was until Saturday night's coming-out party. In many ways, that sixth inning served as the Grays getting the monkey off their back.
Before the sixth inning dawned, both offenses mustered up nothing of substance. DC’s first hit came off the bat of their catcher Logan Scully (George Mason) in the fifth inning. Other than that one hit, DC had three walks to show for the day halfway through. Luckily for the Grays, the Thunderbolt's offense was just as quiet as they were. The starting pitcher for the Grays was Tony Allen out of Xavier, who yielded just three hits, no earned runs, and notched two strikeouts in five innings of work.
After five-and-a-half innings of a pitcher’s duel, the bats of the Grays woke up in a major way. It started with a Patrick Vandenbergh (Lafayette) walk followed by an Ozzie Pratt (BYU) grounder to third base. The T-Bolts were unable to turn the double play so Pratt stood on first with one out. Dane Camphausen (Wooster) took a trot down to first base after a walk which put a runner in scoring position for Aaron Thomas (Wofford). Thomas carried on his hot hitting from Friday night by plating Pratt from second with a well-poked single into the outfield for the first run of the night.
Scully, meanwhile, grounded out but was able to advance the runners to second and third. Then Max Harper (BYU) came through with a two-RBI single to score the runners and open up a 3-0 lead for the Grays. But this was just the beginning of what would become an offensive explosion for DC. Next, Diego Barrett (George Mason) kept the line moving with a single which would set up the onslaught of runs. They did it by showing tremendous plate discipline. Derrick Booker (St. Mary’s) walked to load the bases then Henry Zipay (Omaha) was hit by a pitch to bring across the Grays’ fourth run.
With the score at 6-0 after back-to-back run-scoring walks from Vandenbergh and Pratt, the Grays were on the verge of breaking the game wide open. And they did so in a bases-loaded situation when Camphausen launched a grand slam over the wall in right-center field. Now the game was out of reach for the Thunderbolts and it was the Grays who were in control.
Jesse Lacefield (Catholic) came in to relieve for the final three innings. Lacefield delivered some high heat, letting up no runs and no hits while striking out three batters and walking two. DC got one additional run in the form of a Scully solo home run – his second of the season.
After Chandler Moeller of the T-Bolts flew out to Thomas in right field, the ball game was over and the Grays came away with their first win of the summer.
That all set the stage for the Grays to carry the momentum into their second win of the year on Monday night against the Olney Cropdusters.
The mugginess of the Monday night forecast didn’t faze the DC Grays one bit against the Olney Cropdusters as they came away with the 10-5 victory. Their first win over the Thunderbolts on Saturday was backed with an explosive sixth inning that propelled them to victory. On Monday, the Gray's offense churned runs across home plate in both the first and third innings.
Olney scored two runs in the top of the first inning off starting pitcher Kai Cummings (Mount St. Mary’s) but the Grays would soon have the response. They loaded the bases after the first three batters of the night reached base. Dane Camphausen (Wooster), the tall first baseman, struck a ball into the right-field grass which scored Henry Zipay (Omaha) and Sam Blancato (Georgia Southern). After Aaron Thomas (Wofford) drew a walk, the Grays’ shortstop Ozzie Pratt (BYU) delivered a single past the infield that scored two more runners.
In CJ Mervilus’ (Alabama A&M) first at-bat of the season for the Grays, he hit a sacrifice fly into center field that scored the tagging Thomas from third base. After just one inning of baseball, Grays led 5-2 with more action to come. Cummings worked his way through the second inning with no runs allowed and a strikeout on Quinn Allen.
A quiet second inning set the stage for a loud and action-packed third inning that saw the Grays tack four more runs on the scoreboard. Once again, the Cropdusters loaded the bases for the Grays to start the inning. Donovan Frayer (Shorter) and Alex Terry-Emmanuel (Canisius) had good eyes at the plate and drew walks. Patrick Vandenbergh (Lafayette), next, was hit by a pitch. With the bases loaded, the rising junior from Georgia Southern, Sam Blancato, crushed a grand slam over the right-center field wall to break the game open early for the Grays.
From then on the Gray's offense could take a break and cruise for the rest of the game. They’d done their job by putting up nine runs on the scoreboard and gave the Grays a six-run advantage. However, Olney slowly chipped away with a few runs in the middle innings. They scored a run in each of the third, fourth, and fifth innings. This made it a 9-5 ball game.
Cummings did well enough on the bump considering the Gray's healthy amount of run support.
He went through five innings, yielding 11 hits and five runs with a strikeout. Diego Barrett (George Mason) came in to replace Cummings on the mound in the sixth inning and performed well. He threw two scoreless frames and allowed two hits with two strikeouts. Heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, the Grays were still in need of a bit more run support to be satisfied.
They got that run support off the bat of Aaron Thomas (Wofford) who launched his second home run of the summer. This one was a two-out solo shot to dead center that scraped over the wall and gave the Grays a 10-5 lead. Now DC was grand slam proof and had just six outs to get.
The eighth inning belonged to Sam Stratton (Wofford), who sat the Cropdusters down in this frame. He struck out two batters, allowed one hit, and got the final batter to ground out to end the inning.
In the ninth inning, Kai Leckszas (Georgetown) got some of his first action as the Gray's closer. He walked the first batter but got the next one to ground out into a fielder's choice. Then incredibly, Leckszas sent the next two batters and the Cropdusters team packing. Back-to-back strikeouts ended this game and any hope the Cropdusters had at a comeback against the Grays.
The DC Gray's next matchup will be against the Aces in Alexandria on Tuesday night. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.
On Wednesday, the Grays return home against the Gaithersburg Giants at the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, where admission is always free. First pitch will be thrown at 7:00 p.m.
There was a difficult challenge awaiting the DC Grays on Friday night when they faced off against the defending Cal Ripken League champion Bethesda Big Train. Although the Grays dropped their fourth straight game, 5-2, they held their own and showed more growth in a few different ways.
Nick Fletcher (Holy Cross) started on the mound for the Grays. The sophomore put together the best start by a Grays starter to date, throwing six strong innings, yielding just three hits and one earned run. Fletcher also struck out four batters, including two inning-ending strikeouts in the third and sixth innings.
On the offensive side of the diamond, the lineup struggled to find their groove throughout the game. However, Aaron Thomas (Wofford) found some success with the bat. The outfielder found his way on base in all four of his plate appearances. Thomas mashed a double into the left field gap in the second inning. Then in the fourth inning, he launched a game-tying solo home run over the left field fence and into the bullpen.
The Grays got their other run off a wild pitch from the Big Train pitcher Kai Burdick which scored Henry Zipay (Omaha) from third. Zipay was hit by a pitch and advanced to third off a well placed single from Max Harper (BYU). Harper’s knock tied the game at 2-2 before the Big Train pulled away with a three-run seventh inning.
The Grays will stay in the confines of the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy for the fourth contest of a five game home stand. They’ll face off against the Silver Spring-Takoma T-Bolts Saturday night at 7 p.m.