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By Mitchell Broughton
One of the single most difficult achievements in sports is batting for the cycle — one player hitting a single, double, triple and home run in one game. Last night, during the Grottoes Cardinals 7-4 win over the Broadway Bruins, Austin Nicely appeared to be on his way to statistical glory.
After a weather delay at JMU’s Eagle Field, Austin Nicely started off the game in the top of the first with a single to right field. In his second at bat in the third inning, Nicely’s line drive shot through the right-center gap drove in two runs and landed him at third for a triple. In the top of the fifth, he doubled down the left-field line and later scored off of a two-run home run by Keegan Woolford. After three at-bats Austin Nicely was just a home run short of completing the cycle. In the top of the ninth, Nicely came up to the plate and crushed a fly ball to deep right field, carrying over Broadway right fielder Austin Martin’s head and landing just shy of the wall at the warning track for his second triple of the game. Nicely finished the game going 4-for-5 with two triples, a double, two RBIs, and scoring himself three times.
Other Cardinals pitched in offensively as well. Jacob Merica had two hits, a double, a stolen base and a run scored. Shortstop Isaiah Blanks also had two hits and a double, but drove in a run.
A trio of pitchers out of VCU, Justin Sorokowski, Mike Dailey and Jack Masloff, took the mound for Grottoes. Individually, the most impressive outing came from Dailey, striking out five in three innings giving up only two walks and one hit. In total the Cardinals pitching core struck out 11, walked three and gave up seven hits.
For the Bruins, Liam McDonnell pitched four innings in relief. McDonnell gave up five hits, no walks and two runs, but struck out seven. At the plate, Chase DeLauter had two hits and a triple and Tanner Skidmore hit a two-RBI double in the bottom of the eighth in an attempt to close the score gap.
Grottoes stays tied for first with Clover Hill at 5-1; Broadway moves to 4-2 and third place in the league standings. Both teams will meet again for the deciding rubber match of the 2020 season on Tuesday at Eagle Field.
FINAL: Grottoes 7 Broadway 4. Winning pitcher: Justin Sorokowski (2-0). Losing Pitcher: Trent Abernathy (0-1). Saving pitcher: Jack Masloff.
Around the League: Clover Hill completed its regular season sweep over Bridgewater, defeating the Reds 16-8 last night at Buck Bowman Park. The other two games, New Market vs. Stuarts Draft and Montezuma vs. Elkton, were postponed due to the weather and will be rescheduled to tonight.
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