We’re at the point of the Cal Ripken League season where rain-outs have taken a toll, necessitating double-headers to keep the league on schedule. Such was the case in Washington on Saturday, as the DC Grays and Bethesda Big Train played two seven-inning games. The Grays came away with a split, dropping the first and winning the second – but the Grays were oh, so close to a potentially-season-changing sweep.
The Grays held a 2-1 lead in the opener, before Bethesda tied things up with a run in the fifth. The score remained 2-2 into extra innings, as both teams squandered scoring chances late in the game. In the bottom of the eighth (Bethesda was the home team in the opener) the Big Train scored the winning run on a wild pitch, after a double, walk and single loaded the bases.
The heartbreaking loss spoiled some excellent performances by the Grays. Starting pitcher Kimani Davis (Xavier/LA) threw five effective innings, and Kai Cummings (Cabrini) was effective in relief until the fateful eighth inning. At the plate, Henry Zipay (Nebraska-Omaha) had three hits and both Grays RBIs, and Parker Goff (BYU) had two hits.
The Big Train came out swinging in the night cap, looking to sweep the Grays. They scored two runs in the top of the first inning to quickly force the Grays to play catchup. This was an assignment DC took in stride, and after a quiet second inning, the Grays cracked the scoreboard in the bottom of the third. To start off the fun, Wofford College’s Connor Larson and Delaware State’s Evan Bouldin strung together singles, setting the stage for a double by Goff to score Larson. With runners in scoring position Myles Sargeant (Maine) singled to score Bouldin, and a Big Train error scored Goff. The Grays’ fourth and final run came in the bottom of the fifth, when Lafayette's Mike Mallas crossed home on a bases-loaded walk from George Mason's Derek Wood.
That would be the difference, with the Grays winning 4-2.
The Grays pitching a defense were solid throughout. Gaston College’s Alex Jankowski started on the mound for the Grays, allowing only three hits over his five innings on the mound. The right-hander currently holds an ERA of 3.86 over his 13.3 innings pitched. George Mason’s Jake Roberti relieved Jankowski and allowed no hits and struck out three as he earned the save.
The split moved the Grays to 10-17 on the season, with some work to do to ensure a playoff berth. Six teams make the playoffs in the eight-team Ripken League.
The Grays will be back in action on the road Monday night against the Southern Maryland Senators. In another weather-related scheduling twist, the game will played at the Frank Mann Field in Alexandria since the Senators’ home field is unavailable. First pitch is at 6:30pm,