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By Leyton Pullin
The Grottoes Cardinals would defeat the Elkton Blue Sox 17-10 on Tuesday night at Shifflett Field.
Grottoes would hop on the board early as Jacob Merica would score on a Dylan Nicely RBI Triple to make it 1-0 Grottoes. Grottoes would keep the offensive explosion going in the 3rd led by a Tucker Garrison 2 Run Homerun where they would score 5. Elkton would respond in the 4th with a Jack Bourdon RBI single to make the score 6-1. Grottoes would respond in the bottom half as Tucker Garrison and Austin Nicely would both have 2 RBI base hits to make the score 10-1 for the Cardinals. Grottoes starter Connor Lutz would struggle in the 5th as he would give up 5 runs, 4 earned, including a J.J. Loker walk with the bases loaded and a Tristan Gordon RBI sacrifice fly. The Blue Sox would still be trailing after the inning though 10-6.
Elkton would keep the pedal to the floor offensively in the top of the 6th as they would put 2 more runs on the board thanks to RBI singles from Loker and Gordon to pull them to within 2 at 10-8. Clayton Michael would come in for Grottoes in the top of the 7th and would retire the side on strikes before the Cardinals would have another offensive explosion after the stretch.
Gage Wood would ground out to start the inning followed by a Custer walk. With Custer on, Matt Curry would squeeze a double down the 3rd base line putting two runners in scoring position for Jacob Merica who would hit a sacrifice fly to score Custer. Cam Irvine would follow with a 374 ft single off the wall in dead center to score Matt Curry. Austin Nicely would follow with an RBI single before Dylan Nicely would hit his second triple of the night to score Austin Nicely. Zoller and Custer would both add on RBI singles as well to make it 7 total runs for the Cardinals in the 7th to make the score 17-8.
Elkton would attempt to respond in the 8th and they would push two across thanks to a Gordon 2 RBI double to get the score to 17-10. In the last effort for Elkton in the 9th Clayton Michael would get two more punch outs and a fly out to Austin Nicely to end the game and give the home standing Cardinals the win.
For the Blue Sox the drop to 6-14 with one game left in the regular season as they sit 7th place in the standings setting up a series with the New Market Shockers in the 1st round of the playoffs looming. They will host Grottoes to finish the regular season on July 30th.
The Cardinals advance to 10-9 with a chance at locking at least a .500 season with 2 more games left in the regular season as they travel to Buck Bowman Park to take on the Bridgewater Reds where they could force a tie for 3rd place in the standings with a win and a Clover Hill loss and then a trip to Elkton. Grottoes got a lot of offense on the night which was quite the change from the way the first half of the season had gone. “I was glad to see we hit all the way through the order pretty much tonight,” said Cardinals manager Tim Nicely. Grottoes got a big night out of Tucker Garrison who went 3 for 6 with 4 RBIs including a 2 Run Homerun. Garrison was a pitcher only in his time with the Eagles at Bridgewater College but as Manager Tim Nicely said, “ We knew with [Tucker] coming back with us this year that he was gonna pitch primarily but would play first and DH some.” When Garrison was asked about hitting he said “I’m a hitter, they just wouldn’t let me.” Garrison had to also step up as Nicely also mentioned their everyday first baseman David Wood is battling an injury.
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