By Joey White
HANOVER, Md.– After clinching the first postseason berth in franchise history, the Baltimore Dodgers (18-21) close out the regular season at home against the Baltimore Redbirds (24-14).
This is the fifth game between the two teams this summer, splitting the season series 2-2 so far. If the Dodgers win, the team would win the Battle of Baltimore for the first time in the team’s short history.
The Redbirds come into Joe Cannon Stadium with some momentum, winning their last three games including a 7-1 dismantling of the Alexandria Aces. The team locked up the top spot in the North Division earlier in the week, sitting six games ahead of the second-place Gaithersburg Giants.
Leading the way for the Redbirds offensively is infielder Cole Zabowski (Ole Miss). The rising sophomore’s .350 batting average is best on the team, and good for fifth in the Cal Ripken League.
Zabowski is complimented well by incoming freshman Randy Bednar (Maryland), who in his last two starts has cranked a pair of home runs. He leads the Redbirds with five dingers and 24 RBI’s.
On the mound, the story for the Redbirds this summer has been reliever Parker Caracci (Ole Miss). In twenty appearances this summer, the righty is 7-0 with 48 strikeouts, leading the league in both categories.
The Dodgers may have locked up a spot this postseason, but their work is not done yet. If the Dodgers win, the Giants lose a pair of games, and the Riverdogs fall in their regular season finale, the Dodgers could sneak into the fourth seed and host a playoff game.
The Dodgers’ offense still sits at the bottom of the Cal Ripken League (.244 team batting average), but as of recently the bats have woken up in a big way. In the doubleheader against the D.C. Grays, the Dodgers scored 16 runs in 14 innings to pick up a pair of victories.
Outfieder David Bellamy (NM State) has come alive for the Dodgers to finish off the summer. Five hits in two games while hitting behind his NM State teammate Joey Ortiz has skyrocketed Bellamy’s average to .300 for the first time all season.
Neither team has posted a starter for today’s game, but Dodger fans could see Josh Hejka (Johns Hopkins) toe the rubber for his last regular season appearance. The submariner has been the best hurler on the staff all season, racking up three wins, 29 strikeouts, and a 0.95 ERA.
With postseason seeding still up in the air, the Dodgers look finish the regular season with some momentum while finally winning the Battle of Baltimore.