Bethesda 5, Herndon 4

After recording a tough final out to clinch the Clark Griffith Collegiate Baseball League championship yesterday, Bethesda Big Train relief pitcher Russell Durfee got to be the lucky one at the bottom of a pile of jubilant teammates.

Otherwise, Durfee deflected credit to Bethesda starter Adam Redd, who recorded the first 26 outs, 11 on strikeouts, in the Big Train's 5-4 win over the Herndon Braves at Herndon High School.

"That was Adam Redd's game," said Durfee, a Springbrook High graduate who plays at Duke. "I just got one out. He was the one who got us there."

In its sixth season in the wooden-bat league, Bethesda won its first league title, taking the best-of-five series, 3-1. The Big Train will travel to Johnstown, Pa., on Monday to participate in the 16-team All American Amateur Baseball Association national tournament.

On a breezy and unseasonably cool afternoon, Redd, a Hylton graduate who plays at Virginia Tech, frustrated Herndon's hitters for most of the game. He allowed just two unearned runs in the first eight innings, and he recorded five of his 11 strikeouts in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.

"It was a great day for [pitching]" Redd said. "I felt good today . . . but I was a little tired at the end."

Bethesda Manager Derek Hacopian said: "Adam Redd gave everything he had today, and he was still making decent pitches at the end. . . . He's got a bulldog attitude out there."

Redd worked out of a jam in the seventh inning, when a dropped fly ball in the outfield led to two runs, cutting the Big Train's lead to 5-2. In the ninth, the Braves were down to their final out when Herndon's Brandon Bowser barely beat the throw after hitting a grounder to third base. Rhett Teller (Liberty) and Steve Fay (O'Connell) then singled in runs to make the score 5-4.

Redd was replaced by Durfee, who needed eight pitches to retire Herndon's Dustin Pease (Spalding). The at-bat, which included three two-strike foul balls, and the game ended when Pease hit a slow grounder to Durfee for the series-winning out.

Bethesda jumped in front on a three-run homer by Justin Martin in the first inning. Drew Carson, a sophomore at Southern Mississippi who was named series most valuable player after batting .667 (12 for 18), homered to deep left field in the third. He scored again on a passed ball in the fifth to give the Big Train a 5-0 lead.

But Bethesda stranded eight runners in the first six innings and was then shut down by Pease, who pitched three perfect innings of relief in the seventh, eighth and ninth. That left the door open for a Braves comeback. "We had our chances to break it open, and we couldn't pull away," Hacopian said. "That kind of made me nervous."