Thunderbolts bat again

BY MIKE TART

School’s out, the smell of fresh cut grass is in the air and the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts are back for another summer of baseball.

The Thunderbolts, led by head coach Doug Remer, are loaded with young talent.

“25 players were drafted this summer. Every time fans arrive at a game, they have the chance to see potential Major League players before they become stars,” Remer said.

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Photo by Mike Tart

One potential star is first year Thunderbolts Brodie Leftridge.

Coach Remer says that his athletic outfielder/pitcher, Leftridge, can register a 93 mph fastball through the radar gun.

Leftridge said the Thunderbolts will help him make the high school to college ball transition. He will play at the University of Tennessee next fall.

“Getting the chance to face current college pitchers is preparing me for what I’m going to see when I get to (the University of) Tennessee,” Leftridge said.

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Photo by Mike Tart

Jason Baytop is off to a blistering start this season for the Thunderbolts and has coach Remer excited.

Baytop is a rising junior at St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina, and described how he ended up in Silver Spring for the summer.

“The decision to play for the Thunderbolts was last minute for me,” Baytop said. “The Thunderbolts do a lot of scouting. I believe (the coaches) looked at somewhere around 1,000 players. I was one of the players that coach Remer saw potential in. We’re all out here trying to get noticed. We’re here to play, have some fun and get better. Just hoping to improve our games over the summer.”

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Photo by Mike Tart

The Thunderbolts were founded by Richard O’Connor in 2000 and are celebrating their 15th season of baseball in Silver Spring.

In 2005, the team moved from the Clark Griffith Collegiate Baseball League to their current league, the unique Cal Ripken Sr. Collegiate League. Teams are formed for the duration of the summer and consist of players from colleges across the east coast.

Tyler Coleman is an outfielder for the Thunderbolts and won practically every major collegiate award last season at the NCAA Division III level for Montgomery College-Germantown. Coleman talked about the Thunderbolts’ team Chemistry.

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Photo by Mike Tart

“At first it seemed weird because we knew we were only playing together for a little while, but we clicked really fast and have developed pretty good team chemistry,” Coleman said.

The Thunderbolts is a non-profit organization that feels a strong connection to the Silver Spring-Takoma community.

David Stinson, the former general manager and current director of player personnel for the Thunderbolts, discussed the team’s community involvement.

“We are very active in the community,” Stinson said. “We put on summer camps throughout the summer and also provide free baseball clinics for kids. We are trying to bring excitement about baseball to a local level.”

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Photo by Mike Tart

The Thunderbolts play all of their home games at Montgomery Blair Stadium, located at 51 East University Boulevard in Silver Spring.

Coach Remer encourages anyone looking for a family friendly atmosphere to come out and support the team.

“Food is cheap and tickets are too,” Remer said. “Excitement is flowing so come on through. The more fans we get, the better we play and it is a great way to spend an evening at the park.”

About the Author

Mike Tart
Mike Tart is a graduate student at the University of Maryland studying journalism. He graduated this past spring from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in communication. Tart is also a member of the University of Maryland football team.