Stay up to date with news straight from the rcbl staff
By Mitchell Broughton
Simply put: it’s been quite the year for Broadway’s ball club. The last time that the Bruins could call themselves RCBL Champions was 1938. More than 80 years ago, when a gallon of gas cost ten cents and you could attend Harvard for $400 a year, was the last time the trophy was in Broadway’s grasp. That long drought was snapped last night when the Bruins completed the series sweep over the New Market Shockers, winning game four 10-5 at Rebel Park.
None other than Chase DeLauter was named the Finals MVP after batting .600 with a double and three home runs. In this series, DeLauter was walked ten times (most of those being intentional) but scored nine runs including the game-winner in the bottom of the tenth inning of the third game this series. DeLauter joins prestigious company alongside Tyler Bocock (2018) and Shane Banks (2001) as one of the few players in league history who have claimed the regular season and championship series MVP honor. As far as I can tell, DeLauter is the first player to win Rookie of the Year, MVP, and Championship Series MVP in the same season. Last night, he went 1-for-2 with three runs scored, three walks, and a handful of great defensive plays in center field.
Since the playoffs started and DeLauter began receiving less and less pitches, the Bruins have been patiently waiting for someone to step up and capitalize on the free runner on base each time DeLauter has been intentionally walked. Last night, it was the catcher Travis Reifsnider who answered that call. In the top of the first, with two runners on, Reifsnider took a Joel Smith fastball off the wall in center field for a standup RBI double. He was faced with a similar situation the very next inning, this time with bases loaded. Ahead on the count with two outs, Reifsnider patiently waited for the right pitch and found another prime fastball and capitalized on the offer. A golf-style swing carried the ball off the scoreboard at Rebel Park for a grand slam, his first home run of the season — putting Broadway up 7-0 very early on. Travis finished the game with five RBIs and had his best game of the season at the plate.
John Judy and Trent Abernathy seemingly clinched the game for the Bruins after New Market showed signs of a late-game surge. In the top of the ninth, up 7-4, Judy singled, scoring Tyler Ault. The next at-bat, Abernathy raked a double down the left field line that emptied the bases, scoring two more insurance runs for Broadway. In total, eight of the nine starters in the Bruins’ lineup recorded a hit last night.
On the mound, Broadway confidently put their faith in last year’s pitcher of the year John Judy. The EMU Royal started off a little slow, but soon enough found his rhythm. In six innings, Judy struck out five and allowed only three hits and two runs. Relieving him in the seventh was JMU lefty Liam McDonnell, and another EMU pitcher Bailey Hall came in in the ninth to close out the game. McDonnell and Hall combined for three strikeouts, seven hits, and no walks.
New Market actually out-hit the Bruins last night, but struggled to get runs across. The Shockers had an excellent season after exiting last year’s playoffs in the first round at the hands of Elkton. If they stay together, this team will be a problem for the rest of the RCBL in the next couple years. They left the field last night with their heads held high, making it to the championship series for the first time since the team’s formation in 2004. The Shockers finished their 2020 campaign with an overall record of 19-13, the best in the team’s recent history.
This season, Broadway broke many droughts. After winning their first playoff series in some time last season, Bruins’ president and general manager Bryan Duff was highly confident in his players and staff entering this season back in June. When I spoke to him he said that it was championship or bust for this team. “With the players we’re bringing in, the veterans returning, and the staff we’ve put together, I have no doubt that this team can bring home a title,” Duff told me earlier this summer and boy was he right. From my eyes, the Bruins were the most impressive all-around team in the RCBL this summer. New players like Chase DeLauter, Travis Reifsnider, and Josh Jones added depth and power to their offense that was rather lacking in 2019. On the mound, they brought in pitcher of the year Adam Riggleman alongside Liam McDonnell and Anthony Piccolino, who were both fantastic out of the bullpen. Their returning veterans John Judy, Tyler Ault, Bryce Strawderman and Matt Meiser showed that this team had the experience to go the distance. First year manager Chip Abernathy proved he could manage a team with loads of talent at the highest level this league has seen in some time. And it doesn’t hurt to have an all-time great in Bobby Wease in the dugout too. This team was special, you could tell every night that their fanbase knew that this was going to be a great season, and what a season it was. Pennant winners, league champions, MVPs, and many All-RCBL team members brought a once dominant ball club back to its roots of dominance and they now find themselves on top once again.
Congratulations to the Broadway Bruins, your 2020 RCBL Champions and to all the teams, players, and coaches on a fantastic 2020 season. In a world full of current chaos, at least we got the chance to have baseball back in the Valley, and what a memorable season it was.
FINAL: Broadway 10 New Market 5. Win: John Judy (5-0). Loss: Joel Smith (0-2).
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.