The Bethesda Big Train, behind the pitching of Bo Logan and a clutch run-scoring single by Adam Barry in the seventh inning, kept alive hopes for a fourth straight Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League crown, defeating top-seeded Rockville Express 3-0 Monday.
The Big Train (27-17) advances to play the Vienna River Dogs (25-19) at noon Tuesday in Bethesda. The winner moves on to play second-seeded Baltimore Redbirds (30-13) at 7 p.m. for the CRCBL title.
Rockville, which won the regular season crown under first-year manager Rick Price, finished with a 30-13 mark, losing both of its postseason games.
“It was good to stay alive,” Barry said. “We come out tomorrow -- looks like we have a double-header. We just have to keep repeating what we did tonight. Bo … he pitched great tonight and it was a good team win.”
Logan, who served primarily as a reliever for his Florida Athletic University squad this past spring, tossed seven shutout innings in what was his longest outing on the mound since he was a senior at Gulf Coast High School in his native Florida. The left-hander struck out seven and allowed five hits.
Relievers Will Resnick and Hugh Adams closed out the victory with a combined two shutout innings, allowing one hit with a strikeout.
“I just pitched backwards; I threw a lot of curveballs, a lot of sliders,” Logan said. “I just worked backwards and I was able to get them all out. It’s probably one of my better outings. I’m just happy Big Train gave me the opportunity to start and it worked out. It’s really exciting to get a chance to keep playing.”
Logan and his Rockville counterpart, Nic Nowottnick, kept their opponents off the scoreboard through some stingy pitching and solid defensive execution with each team having a runner thrown out in scoring position. Rockville’s Norm Donkin was thrown out at the plate on a wild pitch by Logan that Big Train catcher Tucker Tobin quickly retrieved before throwing a perfect strike to Logan’s glove for the tag.
Bethesda finally broke through in the seventh. Michael Bass walked, stole second and then scored on a line-drive single to right center field by Barry, who eventually scored on an error. Hunter Renfroe smacked a solo home run, his 17th of the season, in the top of the ninth to account for the game’s scoring.
“I got a pitch I could hit and I felt comfortable at the plate all night so it was good,” Barry said. “I got the pitch I wanted and I took a swing and got it going.”
Bethesda’s victory ended an incredible turnaround for the Express, who were 17-24 a year ago.
“We couldn’t get our bats going for a couple of days,” Price said. “They threw a couple of lefties at us two days in a row and they threw nothing but strikes. That’s tough to get anything going. We needed to string some hits together; they were a little better than us.”
Bethesda Big Train 3, Rockville Express 0
Bethesda (27-17) 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 3 8 1
Rockville (30-13) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 3
WP Bo Logan. LP Nick Nowottnick. 2B: Bethesda Avondre Bollar. Rockville Norm Donkin. HR: Bethesda Hunter Renfroe. RBI: Bethesda Adam Barry, Hunter Renfroe.