Jeff Mackey went 3 for 5 with a triple and three RBI and Chad Oliva hit a three-run home run to lead the Bethesda Big Train to a 12-7 victory over the Southern Maryland Battlecats last night in the first game of the Clark C. Griffith Collegiate Baseball League second-place playoffs before 700 at Shirley Povich Field in Bethesda.
Bethesda, which placed second in the second round, improved to 24-14. Southern Maryland, which finished second in the first round, fell to 20-19. The best-of-three series continues today at 1 p.m. at Annapolis High School. The winner qualifies for the National Amateur Baseball Federation College Division World Series Aug. 5-10 at Joe Cannon Stadium in Dorsey, Md.
"Southern Maryland came out and handed it to us the first couple of innings, but our guys hung in there and battled," said Bethesda Manager Derek Hacopian, whose team had just three home runs during the regular season but hit three last night. "We hit the ball well, we got some good pitching and we won the first game, which is huge in a best-of-three series."
Southern Maryland led 5-2 heading into the fourth inning, but Bethesda sent eight men to the plate and scored four runs on two hits and three walks. Jason Graham hit a solo home run to left, Gregg Davies (Sherwood), Dan Woodley and Matt Swope (DeMatha) walked and Mackey roped a three-run triple to left-center.
Southern Maryland tied the game in the top of the seventh as David Colangelo (Hylton) walked and scored on an RBI triple by Jeff Crandell (2 for 3, 3 RBI), but Bethesda sent eight men to the plate and scored four runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 10-6 lead. Mackey singled and stole second, Chuck Easter (2 for 4, double, home run) was intentionally walked and Oliva hit a towering home run to left. Graham then walked and scored on a wild pitch by Southern Maryland relief pitcher Patrick Boucher (0-3).
"Hitting that home run was a real good feeling, especially since they intentionally walked Chuck to get to me," said Oliva, who did not have a home run during the regular season.