BRIDGEWATER - The past two postseasons have featured matchups between the Grottoes Cardinals and Bridgewater Reds, so the matchup is starting to have the feel of a rivalry during regular season contests. Bridgewater won a back-and-forth game against Grottoes Friday night, defeating the Cardinals 8-7.
Fans from both sides made their presence known as the teams took turns scoring runs throughout the night.
The Reds were in front for most of the contest, but a pair of two-run home runs by Grottoes kept the Cardinals in it. Right fielder Keegan Woolford hit his league-leading eighth home run in the third inning to tie the game at 2-2.
Bridgewater responded by scoring two runs in the bottom of the third inning. The first came on an RBI double to right field by Andrew Armstrong that scored Daniel Heatwole. Heatwole came all the way around from first base and scored when the Grottoes cutoff man failed to make the throw home.
Armstrong scored in the next at bat on an RBI single by Tyler Bocock to make it 6-4 Reds.
Tyler Mahone continued to be an RBI machine for Bridgewater, driving in three runs on the night. He drove in Brian Bocock on an RBI putout in the sixth to increase the lead to 7-4.
Grottoes managed to get one run across in the seventh and trailed by two entering the top of the ninth. With two outs and their backs against the wall, the Cardinals rallied as Dylan Nicely hit a two-run double to score Sam James and Jacob Merica.
Ray Tricarico struck out swinging to end the inning and the game went into the bottom of the ninth tied at seven runs apiece.
The Reds weren’t done yet though. Heatwole knocked in a base hit and found his way to third on a passed ball. With two outs in the inning, center fielder Grey Sherfey drove a ball to Shortstop, where Merica overthrew the first baseman and allowed Heatwole to score the winning run.
The Bridgewater faithful cheered as loud as they had all night, happy to see the Reds pick up another win and not lose momentum in the division race.
“I think that’s a big win,” Reds starting pitcher Tyler Bocock said. “It puts the pressure on Clover Hill to keep and hold serve basically. So put the pressure on them and see what happens.”
Bocock pitched seven innings, giving up five runs on five hits and striking out seven batters. Tucker Garrison relieved him in the eighth, pitching the final two innings and allowing two runs on two hits while picking up the win.
“I feel good. I threw well, just didn’t have my best stuff,” Bocock said. “At the same time, I could’ve made some pitches here or there and been a different result, but it’s all in the swing of the game and we ended up winning so it is what it is.”
Armstrong, who was hitting in the leadoff spot for the first time this season, finished the night 3-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI. Four other Reds had multi-hit games, including Tyler Bocock, who went 2-for-5 with a run scored and two driven in.
Bridgewater will stay at home tonight as the Reds welcome in West Division opponent Montezuma. Tonight’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.