|Baltimore defeated the Big Train for the Ripken League crown (photo / bigtrain.org)|
Baltimore, MD - The Baltimore Redbirds reaffirmed their place as the most consistent baseball team bearing the Baltimore name when they defeated the Bethesda Big Train for their third straight Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League Championship earlier this month.
In what is shaping up as the best baseball rivalry in the region, the two teams have faced each other six consecutive times in the championship series. The Big Train held the upper hand for the first three championships, while the Redbirds have swept the past three. Saturday's score was a convincing 7-0 win for Baltimore.
Historically, the Big Train still remain the best team in the CRBCL, or Ripken League, since its inception. They've won seven regular season Ripken League titles in ten years, including this year. They also notched consecutive postseason tourney titles from 2009-2011.
Still, for the third straight year the Big Train fell short of a Ripken League crown with a loss to the Baltimore Redbirds in games all held at picturesque Shirley Povich Field.
"If I was a betting man, I'd bet on these two teams to be in the finals again next year," Big Train manager Sal Colangelo told the Maryland Gazette. "Six years in a row we've played them. It's three and three. They're a great team with great players and hats off to them, they beat us."
The game was scoreless through three but Baltimore ultimately rang up 14 hits en route to victory. Much of the damage came off the bat of the Redbirds' Mac Caples (Virginia Tech), who hit a two-run home run as well as delivering a two-run single late in the game.
Matt Pirro (Wake Forest) notched the win for the Redbirds, while Brandon Rhodes (Florida Atlantic) suffered the loss.
Congalo may have created some good-natured bulletin board fodder for the Redbirds when he said after the game "At the start of the [next] season I'm sure teams will look at us as the team to beat. Just like every year. [People call us] the Yankees of summer league baseball."
In that analogy the Redbirds, fittingly, are beginning to look a lot like the Yankees passing NL rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals.