Big Train finds offensive juice for second Memorial Day Classic win

By DN WRITING STAFF | May 27, 2024

By Rich Bevensee

After giving his team the night to shake off a sluggish offensive performance, Will Karis had a kind but direct message for his Bethesda/Chevy Chase Big Train 10U ballclub the next morning. Starting catcher Dylan Kosc heard it loud and clear.

“This morning we just thought it’s a brand new day and we can win,” Kosc said. 

Taking that message to heart, Kosc went 4-for-4 and drove in a career-high six runs to help Big Train remain unbeaten in pool play after a 17-7 decision over the North Colonie Bison of Albany, N.Y., in the 10U Memorial Day Classic on Sunday morning at Diamond Nation in Flemington.

Big Train is based in Prince George’s County, Maryland and named after Hall of Famer and longtime Washington Senators pitcher and Hall of Famer Walter “Big Train” Johnson. The team improved to 2-0-1 in the 10U pool with one more game remaining Sunday against Wolfpack Elite Baseball. 

Big Train was coming off a 4-2 win against Ridgefield Travel Baseball the previous night, but it wasn’t the level of production Karis envisioned for his team when they planned their first-ever visit to ‘The Nation.’

BCC’s 17 runs Sunday was the most runs the team had scored in quite some time, Karis said. 

All 10 Big Train batters had at least one base hit, and eight of them had at least one RBI and scored at least one run. 

“Yesterday we struggled – just seven hits the entire game,” Karis said. “I pushed them to get on top of the ball, hit the ball hard, really get their pitch and that’s what they did. That was our biggest offensive explosion in a while. We usually score eight or nine runs a game so yesterday was a fluke, in my opinion, but today was great.”

Kosc, batting in the No. 6 hole, led the hit parade with an RBI single in the first inning, two-run singles in the second and fourth, and one more RBI single in the fifth.

“It’s actually been very fun playing here. I like the experience,” Kosc said.  

“The fields are so nice. I really think it’s a very nice facility.”

“If the leadoff runner is getting on, and the next guy is getting on, the No. 6 hitter is the guy I like to drive in the runs,” Karis said. “Dylan was getting his pitch, really hitting the ball hard, and putting pressure on the other team to make plays.”

Kosc’s key to providing more offense for the Big Train?

“You have to stay confident and not think you’re going to strike out,” Kosc said. “Get a nice hit, don’t think, ‘I stink,’ and try to do the best you can.”

Caleb Selter went 2-for-4 with an RBI triple for Big Train. Asher Roush drove in two runs with a double and a sacrifice fly, and Henry Winseck drove in two runs with a fielder’s choice and a single. Caleb Selter was 2-for-3 with an RBI triple and Mason Hart tripled in a run and walked three times. 

Also for Big Train, Anthony Altieri, Reid Domire and Aiden Liu each drove in a run.

Chris Bucsa and Altieri both pitched an inning, Hart pitched two, Selter pitched ⅔ of the fifth and final inning and Roush got the final out with a strikeout. 

“That was by design,” Karis said of his pitching lineup. “We have a game later today, two games yesterday and hopefully we’ll be playing two games tomorrow (in the playoffs). So I’m trying to get everyone a low pitch count to keep them available going forward.”

For the Bison, Niko Hnath and Derek Case both contributed an RBI double, leadoff hitter Grayson Collar had an RBI single, Evan Sebast drove in a run with a fielder’s choice, Gavin Rogers earned a bases loaded walk, and Cam Rhodes had a grounds rule double.

The Bison dropped to 1-2 with the loss, and were slated to finish pool play with a game against Trumbull Travel Black on Sunday.

The Bison also authored a terrific defensive play. In the top of the fourth, pitcher Evan Sebast began a double play when he coerced a comebacker and went to first baseman Case for the first out, and Case threw home to catcher Leyton Hamlin to nail Roush trying to score.

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