Bridgewater jumped out to an early lead, but the Reds had to keep fighting throughout the night on their way to an 11-9 victory over Broadway. The win puts Bridgewater up 1-0 in the best-of-five series.
Derek Shifflett led off the game with a single in the top of the first and the Reds scored six runs in the frame to take an early lead. Broadway answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the first as Matt Meiser and Bryce Strawderman each came around to score.
The Reds had another big inning in the third, bringing three men across the plate to stretch their lead to 9-2.
With a comfortable advantage, the Reds let Shifflett go to work on the mound. He pitched all nine innings, striking out 15 batters in the game. The Bruins battled back late in the game, and threatened with a four-run ninth inning, but the Reds defense came through and Bridgewater escaped with a win on the road.
While Shifflett was his usual dominant self on the mound, he also helped his own cause at the plate. The veteran leader of this year’s Bridgewater squad, Shifflett went 3-for-5 at the plate with three runs scored in the game.
Tucker Garrison had a good night at the plate as well, going 1-for-3 with three RBIs. Eight of the Reds’ starting nine scored in the game, and seven of them registered a hit as Bridgewater took the first game of the series.
The series goes to Bridgewater tonight, when the Reds host the Bruins for a 7:30 matchup at Ray Heatwole Field.
Clover Hill 16, Elkton 3
The Bucks got revenge for Monday night’s loss against Elkton by storming back with a 16-3 victory at Stonewall Memorial Park last night. Tyler Bocock went 3-for-6 at the plate with four runs and an RBI, helping the Bucks to tie up the series.
Six other Bucks had multi-hit performances, including Kevin Kirk, who went 4-for-5 with two RBIs and a run scored.
The game was tied 1-1 at the end of the first inning, but Clover Hill scored multiple runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth, and capped off the game with a five-run seventh inning to secure the slaughter-rule victory.
Eric Yankey got the start for Clover Hill, pitching six innings and allowing just three runs on two hits. Yankey struck out 13 batters in his outing.
Jordan Showalter came on the mound to pitch the seventh inning, retiring the Blue Sox in order and striking out two to close out the game. The win for the Bucks ties up the series and sends it back to Clover Hill on Thursday night for game three. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
The Elkton Blue Sox barely had enough players to field a team in game one against Clover Hill, but they came firing on all cylinders as they won 10-3 to take a 1-0 series lead. Lee Carneal continued his hot streak with a three-run home run in the top of the first to put the Blue Sox out front.
Clover Hill came back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the frame, but Elkton wasn't done yet. The Blue Sox sent two more runners across the plate in the top of the second to increase their lead to 5-2.
After that, they sat back and let starting pitcher Jacob Rich go to work .Rich. fanned 10 batters over seven innings, allowing just two runs on seven hits in the game. He left in the eighth inning and handed the game over to Seth Berry, who closed things out for Elkton.
Elkton continued to score throughout the night, adding two more runs in the sixth inning. They really stretched their lead in the top of the eighth when Canon Davies hit a monster home run over the left field fence to plate three more runs and make it 10-2.
The Bucks fought in the bottom of the eighth inning as Alex Knicely scored on an RBI single from Grant Painter, but a groundout in the next at bat would end the inning.
The win gives the Blue Sox a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series and keeps their momentum going after sweeping New Market in the first round of the playoffs.
Elkton and Clover Hill are back in action tonight when they play game two at Stonewall Memorial Park in Elkton. First pitch is set for 7:30 p.m.
Also in action tonight is game one of the other semifinal series between Bridgewater and Broadway. The Bruins host as the Reds continue their bid for a third-consecutive title. First pitch at Broadway High School is set for 7:30 p.m.
Members of the media voted last week on the 2019 All-RCBL team, which is made up of 15 of the best players from around the league. Voters chose one player at each infield position, four outfielders, four pitchers, a utility player and a designated hitter to make up the team.
Each RCBL team ended up with at least one representative on the All-RCBL squad. Clover Hill leads the way with four honorees; Ross French, Drew Easter, Nick Corbin and Eric Yankey all earned spots on this year’s team. Easter and Yankey were members of the 2018 All-RCBL team as well. Easter is the only player in the league to earn All-RCBL honors in each of the past three seasons.
Three of the RCBL’s end-of-season award winners made the team: MVP Corbin Lucas, Pitcher of the Year John Judy and Rookie of the Year Luke Paczewski.
A number of statistical leaders are represented on the team as well. Keegan Woolford (.484), Lucas (.425) and David Wood (.422) have the three highest batting averages in the league and each received All-RCBL honors. PJ Hanisak led the league with seven home runs and earned an All-RCBL spot at catcher.
Nick Corbin led the league with a 1.47 ERA while strikeout leader Derek Shifflett earned a spot as a pitcher after fanning 82 batters this season.
Three rookies – Hanisak, Paczewski and Pearce Bucher – earned All-RCBL honors while second-year players Will Hass and John Judy made the team for the first time in their careers.
Joining Judy from the Bruins is outfielder Matt Meiser, who led the league with 21 stolen bases while batting .327 this season. Elkton veteran Christian Rodriguez capped off a fantastic season by earning a spot on this year’s team after batting .341 with four home runs and 26 RBIs this year.
Below is a full list of players named to the 2019 All-RCBL team:
Catcher: PJ Hanisak, Montezuma First Baseman: David Wood, Grottoes Second Baseman: Will Hass, Stuarts Draft Third Baseman: Luke Paczewski, Montezuma Shortstop: Ross French, Clover Hill Outfielder: Drew Easter, Clover Hill Outfielder: Matt Meiser, Broadway Outfielder: Keegan Woolford, Grottoes Outfielder: Corbin Lucas, Bridgewater Utility: Pearce Bucher, New Market Designated Hitter: Christian Rodriguez, Elkton Pitcher: John Judy, Broadway Pitcher: Derek Shifflett, Bridgewater Pitcher: Nick Corbin, Clover Hill Pitcher: Eric Yankey, Clover Hill
BROADWAY - A rainy day led to a quiet night throughout the Valley, but not in Broadway. While every other RCBL postseason game was postponed on Wednesday evening, the Bruins hosted Montezuma in game one of their quarterfinal series.
Broadway right-hander John Judy was as dominant as every as he pitched a complete game, striking out 13 batters on the way to a 5-1 victory. Judy allowed just one run on nine hits and one walk.
The game started as a pitchers’ duel on both sides as Montezuma started John Dudley only allowed one hit through the first three innings. The tide started to turn in the bottom of the fourth, though.
Boo Dean led off the inning with a double and was later drive home on a triple that Matt Meiser rocketed to left field. The throw to third was off target and rolled into the Broadway dugout, allowing Meiser to come home and score as well.
The Bruins would put up two more runs in the bottom of the fifth after Danny Grogg led the inning off with a double and he and Tanner Skidmore each crossed the plate in the frame.
Meanwhile, Judy continued to be dominant on the mound as the game went on. Six of his 13 strikeouts came in the last four innings of the game, including three in the seventh inning.
To cap things off in the bottom of the eighth inning for the Bruins, Meiser walked, stole second, reached third on a wild pitch, and stole home to give the Bruins their fifth run of the game.
Montezuma came close to scoring in the top of the fifth, but Josh Tayman was thrown out trying to cross the plate on a ground ball from Owen Stewart. The Braves eventually put a run on the board in the top of the ninth when Stewart reached after getting hit by a pitch and scored in the inning.
For the Bruins, Meiser finished the night 1-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs. Grogg went 2-for-3 in the game with a run scored.
The win puts the Bruins up 1-0 in the series, needing just one win to advance to the semifinals. The next game is scheduled for tonight at Ruritan Park in Montezuma.
The Braves will look to keep their season alive by securing a win as they return home tonight for a 7:30 p.m. first pitch.
Clover Hill is currently up 1-0 over Grottoes after an 18-5 win on Tuesday night, while Elkton is up 1-0 against New Market after a 10-8 win on Tuesday.
All four series will be back in action tonight, with every game scheduled for 7:30 p.m. All scheduling information can be found here.
All eyes were on Ruritan Field Monday night, as the Bridgewater Reds and the Montezuma Braves played the final game of the regular season. This game would determine the final order of the standings, and therefore lock in the playoff matchups for the 2019 season. After the dust settled, the Braves emerged victorious over the Reds, 13-8.
Now, the playoff picture is clear. The matchups are as follows:
#1 Clover Hill Bucks vs #8 Grottoes Cardinals
Game 1: Tuesday night, at Clover Hill, 7:30 PM Game 2: Wednesday night, at Grottoes, 7:30 PM Game 3 (if necessary): Thursday night, at Clover Hill, 7:30 PM
This matchup was the only one that had been decided before Monday night’s contest. The Clover Hill Bucks completely ran away with the regular season pennant, securing an impressive 24-4 record and beating out the next best team by nine games. The Bucks have made it to the championship series the last two years, but lost both times, so these playoffs certainly have a bit more intensity for the Clover Hill squad. They are ridiculously deep in all facets of their roster, but are headlined by the bat of Josh Eberely (.344 AVG, 22 RBI) and the arm of Nick Corbin (5-0, 1.47 ERA, 35 K).
As for the Cardinals, their solid season has unraveled, resulting in a seven game losing streak to finish the regular season. Now, they will have to try to figure it out against the juggernaut of the Bucks in a three game series. They will look to replicate the success they had in the middle stretch of the season, where they won 7 of 9 games, including a 6-1 win over the Bucks on June 8. No doubt, they will need production from their two MVP-candidate sluggers, Keegan Woolford (.484 AVG, 26 RBI) and David Wood (.422 AVG, 19 RBI).
#2 New Market Shockers vs #7 Elkton Blue Sox
Game 1: Tuesday night, at New Market, 7:30 PM Game 2: Wednesday night, at Elkton, 7:30 PM Game 3 (if necessary): Thursday night, at New Market, 7:30 PM
The Shockers finished the season by winning seven of their last ten games, fueled by a dynamic offense and a reliable stable of starting pitchers. Frankie Ritter (.366 AVG), Peter Mullholland (.415 AVG) and Pearce Bucher (.352 AVG, 27 RBI) form one of the best top-of-the-lineup combinations in the league, as they have a tendency to force the opponent to their bullpen earlier than they anticipated.
New Market will now turn their attention to the intriguing Elkton Blue Sox, who have climbed out of the 8-seed and started to assert themselves as a dark horse candidate for this year’s playoffs. The Blue Sox are headlined by a pair of bombers in JJ Loker (.302 AVG, 3 HR, 24 RBI) and MVP candidate Christian Rodriguez (.341 AVG, 4 HR, 26 RBI). The key for Elkton will be getting solid innings from their starting pitching. This could prove to be one of the more fun series of the first round.
#3 Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks vs #6 Bridgewater Reds
Game 1: Wednesday night, at Stuarts Draft, 7:30 PM Game 2: Thursday night, at Bridgewater, 7:30 PM Game 3 (if necessary): Friday night, at Stuarts Draft, 7:30 PM
The Diamondbacks have put together a very solid season, staying around .500 all summer, but winning key matchups along the way. They are a team with a deep lineup and a reliable bullpen, making them a formidable playoff opponent. Jack Pausic (.326 AVG, 22 RBI), Tanner Levine (.313 AVG) and Tyler Wilcher (.308 AVG) will all be dangerous weapons for Stuarts Draft to deploy.
They will go head to head against the defending champion Bridgewater Reds, who, despite losing a handful of key players from previous seasons, are still very much in the mix.
The Reds’ full capabilities were on display in the middle of the season, where they won 8 of 9 games in commanding fashion. Now, Bridgewater will look to recapture that success behind their star-studded pitching staff, led by the dynamic duo of Derek Shifflett (4 CG, 3.80 ERA, 82 K) and Tucker Garrison (4-2, 4.32 ERA, 55 K). Of course, the other problem for the Dbacks is MVP candidate Corbin Lucas (.425 AVG, 30 RBI) lurking in the middle of the Reds’ lineup.
#4 Broadway Bruins vs #5 Montezuma Braves
Game 1: Wednesday night, at Broadway, 7:30 PM Game 2: Thursday night, at Montezuma, 7:30 PM Game 3 (if necessary): Friday night, at Broadway, 7:30 PM
The Bruins finish the regular season winning 6 of their last 8 games. The Bruins are arguably the most evenly talented team in the league, having solid assets in all aspects of the game. They will now turn to a few key players to take them over the hump, namely John Judy (4-1, 2.31 ERA) on the mound and Matt Meiser (.327 AVG, 25 RBI) at the dish.
As for the Braves, they take a three game win streak into the playoffs, backed by a fearsome offense, anchored by PJ Hanisak (.350 AVG, 28 RBI) and MVP candidate Luke Paczewski (.400 AVG, 16 RBI). The key for Montezuma will be finding reliable innings from their bullpen, which could prove to be a difference maker in this evenly matched series.
After the conclusion of the first round, only four teams will remain, setting up an exciting semi-finals series. Be sure to get out and catch the first round action this week, and stay tuned to the RCBL website for more playoff coverage.
By Adam Harnish After losing on a walkoff walk to the Braves on Friday night, less than twenty four hours later, the Clover Hill Bucks were back on the field. This time, there was a little extra energy in the Bucks dugout.
“We just got back to playing the way we’ve played all year,” Coach Cofer said of their approach.
The Bucks took the lead in the second inning and never looked back, defeating the Grottoes Cardinals 10-4 in a game that challenged their mental toughness.
The previous game against Montezuma had the Bucks up 8-1 going into the sixth inning, until the Braves scored ten runs in the frame, and later went on the win in the ninth. Clover Hill was faced with a similar situation on Saturday night, when they had a 7-0 lead going into the sixth inning. They were able to hold on and shut the door this time, backed by a strong defense and a great effort from their starting pitcher, Eric Yankey.
Yankey threw seven innings, allowing only two runs on five hits and nine strikeouts.
“He’s just a really tough competitor,” Cofer said of Yankey. “He throws a lot of strikes in big spots, and he throws his curveball for a strike a lot. That gives him a lot of benefits.”
Yankey had the curve working tonight, which fueled his success over seven innings. Then, Tanner Moyers came on to get the last six outs, withstanding some choppy waters in both innings.
On the offensive side, it was another well-rounded performance for the Clover Hill lineup, as five hitters had multi-hit games. The Cardinals lineup also had a solid day at the plate, but never had a breakthrough inning to match the Bucks.
The win vaults the Bucks to a pristine 18-3, whereas the Cardinals fall to 9-13, just a half game above seventh place. The Bucks are back home Sunday night versus the Braves (8-13) to seek a little payback, and the Cardinals take the field on Monday night, hosting the New Market Shockers (11-11).
By Adam Harnish The Bucks won again on Tuesday night, blowing out the Grottoes Cardinals 14-3 in eight innings. It was an all-around masterful performance from the team atop the RCBL standings, who have been on the top of their game to start the second half of the season.
“I think things are starting to click for us,” Clover Hill’s Drew Easter said after the game, who went 4-5 at the plate with three runs. “We’re waiting [at the plate], getting some good pitches to hit, and then putting good swings on the ball.”
The Bucks didn’t wait long to get started on Tuesday night. In the first inning, Clover Hill got the bases loaded, and were able to drive all three runners home to take a 3-0 lead. They tacked on another run in the fourth, but their major damage came in the sixth inning, when they erupted for five more runs to push the game to 9-0.
The old baseball cliché is that a good team can find lots of different ways to win a ballgame, and Tuesday was no different for the Bucks. For example: two of the biggest hits of that sixth inning? Back to back bunt singles by Drew Easter and Blake Sipe, who both came around to score in a wild showcase of the relentless Clover Hill offense.
“Every night we come out, we want to be as intense as possible on the baseball field,” Easter said. “We continue to apply pressure, and in this league, when you apply pressure...a lot of things end up going your way.”
Of course, the offense was only half the story for the Bucks, as the pitching staff was able to hold the Cardinals lineup scoreless for most of the night. Starter Jordan Showalter set the tone for Clover Hill, going four innings, allowing zero runs on four strikeouts.
“I just let the defense work,” Showalter said of his approach. “I know the guys behind me are going to make all the plays they need to make, it’s just a matter of going out there, hitting spots, keeping the ball down in the zone and getting some ground balls.”
As for the Cardinals, they were able to get baserunners on early in the game, but they were unable to convert and bring those runners home - nine Cardinals were stranded on the basepaths in the first six innings. It was a disappointing result for a Grottoes team that is making a push for the top of the standings.
The loss puts Grottoes at 8-10 on the year, sitting in fifth place. As for the Bucks, they move to 15-2 on the year, stretching their lead atop the RCBL standings to five games. Both teams return to action on Friday night.
By Adam Harnish Even though it’s early in the season, it’s pretty easy to say: it’s a good time to be a Clover Hill Bucks fan.
The Bucks won their sixth straight game on Saturday night, defeating the Montezuma Braves by a score of 9-2 to stretch their record to an impressive 6-0 to start the season.
“We’re playing good steady baseball,” Coach Cofer of the Bucks said after the game. “We’re pitching the ball really well right now.”
The Bucks’ pitching staff kept a dangerous Braves lineup to only two runs on the night, just a few days after that same lineup had erupted for 23 runs against the Blue Sox. Leading that pitching effort for the Bucks was starter Kevin Chandler, who went for six innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits and five strikeouts.
“He’s keeping the ball down really well,” Coach Cofer said of his starter. “He’s getting ahead, and he was picking well with his slider on the outside corner...he’s very efficient with his pitches.”
Chandler was matched by an equally good start by the Braves starting pitcher, Matt Sykes. Sykes also went six innings and allowed two earned runs on three hits and seven strikeouts. The pitchers’ duel extended into the top of the eighth inning, when the Bucks finally broke the game open with a six run burst.
“That’s pretty normal,” Chandler said of his offense’s performance. “They battle and grind, and we don’t get too pressured. We just stay in our game, and the hits will come.”
A series of errors in that inning dictated a late game meltdown for the Braves. The frustrating result for them has them at 3-3 on the year, still sitting at a respectable fourth place in the RCBL standings.
The Bucks are back in action on Tuesday when they play at home against the Broadway Bruins (3-0). The Braves have another home game on that same Tuesday against the Bridgewater Reds (1-3).
BRIDGEWATER- Before Friday night’s game two of the RCBL championship series, Bridgewater Reds IF/P Tyler Bocock was officially awarded the 2018 MVP Award. Nearly three hours later, he showed a massive crowd at Ray Heatwole Field why the award was so deserving.
The first six and a half innings of game two were dominated by the Clover Hill Bucks. Ross French gave the Bucks an early 1-0 lead, scoring on a Blake Sipe pop-up that was dropped by second baseman Brian Bocock in the first inning.
Back-to-back doubles by Cody Warner and Blake Sipe would plate two more runs, giving Clover Hill a 3-0 lead with starting pitcher Nick Corbin cruising on the mound. Corbin worked through six scoreless innings, producing weak contact and timely ground balls throughout the evening (until things unraveled in the seventh inning).
After a solo home run by Danny Grogg put the Bucks up 4-0, it appeared as if Clover Hill was well on their way to pulling even with Bridgewater at a game apiece in this best-of-seven series.
Tyler Bocock had other plans. A Tyler Mahone single, Grey Sherfey single, and Kevin Bocock walk loaded the bases with two outs and the just-named MVP coming up to the plate.
Bocock wasted no time, sending the first pitch he saw deep over the left-centerfield fence for a grand slam. A longing stare, a quick bat flip, and a few resounding “Let’s go!” from Bocock not only tied the game but immediately gave his Reds all the momentum they would need to complete the comeback.
Jared Talley took the hill for the final two frames, throwing two scoreless innings while refusing to allow a hit or a free pass, earning the victory after a 10th inning walk-off from his offense.
Bocock would score the game-winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning on a Corbin Lucas walk-off single that dropped in front of Clover Hill center fielder Blake Sipe.
Both teams will take Saturday off before returning to the diamond on Sunday evening at Buck Bowman Park for game three. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 (pending sun, of course).
CLOVER HILL - CLOVER HILL- Game one of the Rockingham County Baseball League championship series did not disappoint. In the showdown of all showdowns, the Bridgewater Reds sent Derek Shifflett to mound to match up against the regular season champion Clover Hill Bucks and their ace, Corey Armentrout.
The stands were full, excitement and tension ran high throughout the Clover Dome, and the action on the field was exactly what everyone expected it to be.
In a truly unbelievable performance, Bridgewater starting pitcher Derek Shifflett threw 147 pitches in a complete game, winning effort to clinch game one of the RCBL championships.
Shifflett gave up three earned runs on 11 hits, striking out nine Bucks hitters, all while in obvious pain. Working through the second inning, Shifflett doubled over in pain, holding his oblique area as he walked around the back of the mound. As the crowd fell silent, except for a few gasps from Bridgewater faithful, Shifflett tossed a few warmup pitches and continued on his way.
Even though the velocity seemed to dip, Shifflett relied on his pitch selection and defense behind him to finish off one of the more memorable pitching performances in league history.
Corbin Lucas, Tyler Bocock, and Tyler Mahone each drove in runs through the first three frames, giving Bridgewater a quick 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the third.
With Drew Easter and Addison Griffin on base in the third, Blake Sipe tied the game up with one swing of the bat, sending a three-run home run over the left field fence. Despite the humid conditions and moist air, the ball slowly carried its way out of Buck Bowman Park, reenergizing the home crowd.
The next four frames went scoreless as both teams traded hits and highlight reel defensive plays, including a diving, Gold Glove worthy grab by Sipe in centerfield to save two runs from scoring.
Coach Cofer sent his ace back out to the mound to start the eighth inning, quickly pulling Armentrout after he surrendered a leadoff walk to Grey Sherfey. Armentrout was replaced by the RCBL’s top relief pitcher, Eric Yankey to finish out the final two frames.
A throwing error by Clover Hill and an RBI-double from Brian Bocock would give Bridgewater a 5-3 lead, enough of a cushion to allow Shifflett to finish off his epic performance.
Every single starter on each team reached base at least once as both teams combined for 22 hits in a game that undoubtedly has set the tone for an unforgettable best-of-seven series to decide the 2018 RCBL champion.
Game two will take place tonight at Ray Heatwole Field with first pitch scheduled for 7:30 pm.