The 2003 season is over for the Silver Spring - Takoma Thunderbolts http://www.tbolts.org, my favorite local amateur baseball team. The SST Tbolts finished the season in third place and thus made it into the double-elimination tournament among the top four teams. Although the 'Bolts won their first game versus the Fauquier Gators, they then lost to the Arlington Senators and again in a rematch with Fauquier, the club whom Arlington eventually defeated to take the Clark Griffith League http://www.clarkgriffithbaseball.com title.
The penultimate contest that I witnessed was a fine pitcher's performance held on 23 July. Hosting the Baltimore Pride, the Tbolts won 4-2 on a warm and humid evening that saw Zack Clark hold the Pride to only a single hit in the course of 7 innings. Reliever Tristen Covington finished the job briskly without allowing another hit. The 'Bolts took control in the first inning when lead batter Mark Stanley drew a walk, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and then reached home comfortably on Justin McClanahan's double. Soon thereafter Matt Capece slid into the plate successfully on Dave Russell's sacrifice fly, in spite of a good throw in from deep left field. The rest of the game was similarly well-played. A brief interval of light rain in the 6th inning did not interrupt the action.
Sadly, because it was the last home game, on 26 July the Thunderbolts shut out the Vienna Mustangs 2-0. Pitcher Frank Viola Jr. handled the first 6 innings comfortably; then relievers Headrik Vandervaart and Tom Ballenger closed and locked the door. Catcher John Hodach scored the first Tbolt run in the fifth thanks to a Mark Stanley hit. Stanley in turn scored in the eighth with help from Capice and McClanahan. The shutout was preserved several times by sharp defense, most notably in the second inning when center fielder Jeremy Bellotti threw a Mustang runner out at home as he tried to score from second base, slid wide, and was tagged out by Hodach in a cloud of dust. The fourth inning saw a nice double play on a hard-hit grounder to first baseman Dave Russell. He snagged the ball, blasted it to second baseman Josh Richardson, and then received the throw back again to make the out at first. Sweet!
Until next year ...