BRIDGEWATER - The Bridgewater Reds went down early, but were able to mount a comeback as they defeated the Montezuma Braves 11-6 on Sunday night.
The dark clouds over Ray Heatwole Field gave the game an ominous feeling as the Reds found themselves in a hole early on. The Braves jumped out to a 3-0 lead over the first three innings before Bridgewater started to get into a groove.
“We just kept battling,” Reds head coach Robert Sherfey said. “You have slow starts sometimes. We hit the ball hard, just hit it right at them. You’ve just got to keep battling, keep your heads up, keep passing it on and hope that things will turn out, and they did.”
The Reds scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth, but still weren’t able to get ahead as the Braves added two more runs in the top of the sixth.
Even after the Reds had gotten their offense going, they couldn’t find a way to stop the Montezuma bats. Enter Tyler Bocock. Coming onto the mound in the sixth to relieve John Page, Bocock got himself out of a jam as Montezuma left the bases loaded in the inning.
“Just come in and throw strikes, make them hit the ball,” Bocock said about his mentality coming into the game with runners on. “Just wanted to keep it close because I know if we keep it close long enough, our offense will strike like it did and we’ll end up winning the ballgame.”
The Braves would leave two men on in each of the next two innings and one in the ninth as Bocock finished out the game for the Reds. Bocock pitched 3.2 innings, giving up just one run on six hits.
Soon after he came into the game, the Reds had a six-run sixth inning to take their first lead of the night and give Bocock more confidence on the mound.
“Once you get runs and we’re ahead, you just go out there and pound the zone and let the defense do what they do,” Bocock said. “It puts the momentum back in our favor and I think we did a good job of that tonight.”
The defense that Bocock spoke of did their job well as they were able to get their pitcher out of tough situations late in the game. Every time the Braves had an offensive opportunity, Bridgewater would find a way to get out of the inning. The Reds defense caused Montezuma to leave 15 runners stranded in the game.
Meanwhile in the Bridgewater lineup, the Reds combined for 12 hits. Four batters had multi-hit performances, including Brian Bocock, who finished the night 2-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Derek Shifflet went 2-for-4 on the night with two runs and three RBIs.
The win moves the Reds to 19-7 on the season, but with just two games left, they’ll have to settle for second place in the West as Clover Hill has clinched the pennant and the West Division title. Provided the weather holds up, the Reds will finish out the season with a game against Elkton on Tuesday and New Market on Wednesday, both at home. As Coach Sherfey says, though, there’s no telling what might happen with the forecast this week.
“We’ve kind of got our plans for what we want to do, but we can’t control Mother Nature, so if it happens to be so be it,” Sherfey said about the impending rain this week. “We’ll just go with what it is and play it when it’s there and available.”