Local wooden-bat team prepares for upcoming season
The Silver Spring – Takoma Thunderbolts, a local college summer baseball team, participated in a pre-season picnic to preface their upcoming season last night. Players on the team from across the country joined their host families for food and discussion of the seventh season in Thunderbolts history.
Thunderbolts board member Carol Stewart is hosting her 9th Thunderbolt this summer. Though she "mostly sells tickets," she said she's looking forward to "sitting in the stands and watching the ball game – and not working too hard."
Richard O'Connor, owner of the local team, expressed his excitement for the upcoming season. "On the field we have some great new players," he said, acknowledging the new team and returning manager. O'Connor also thanked host families for taking in the out of town college baseball players. "Without you, we can't recruit these guys around the country," he said.
Although they've been part of the Maryland and Virginia area's wooden bat league for seven years, the Thunderbolts split off with other Maryland teams to form the Cal Ripken Sr. League two years ago. Last year, the Thunderbolts finished their regular season with a winning record.
Thunderbolts manager of three years, Bobby St. Pierre, was optimistic about the team's upcoming season. "We have a lot of guys who've done really well in school in the spring," he said. "I'm really happy with the playing, and, more importantly, with the attitudes. This is a big group with a lot of personality."
Thunderbolt Tim Bianchi, 21, of Millersville University, is returning for his third year on the team and is anticipating a successful season. "I'm pretty optimistic," he said. "I'd give it 10 games to see how well we do, but we're looking fairly similar to last year's team."
The Thunderbolts' opening game is on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Blazer Stadium. Student admission is $2.
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