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 MONTEZUMA - RCBL fans need to get familiar with this name: Jose Rocha.
All he did Wednesday night was blast two home runs, tally three RBIs and stretch his on-base streak to ten straight games to lead Elkton to a 9-4 victory over the Montezuma Braves.
So, we had to know - which home run did he like better?
“The first one,” Rocha said with a laugh after the game. “That one was to center field...so yeah, the first one.”
The game started off back-and-forth, as the Blue Sox opened with two runs in the top of the first, courtesy of the aforementioned Rocha. But, the Braves responded with three runs in the bottom of the frame, highlighted by a 2 RBI single from Brandon Lambert.
So, in response, the Blue Sox tied it up in the next frame, 3-3. After a scoreless inning from the Braves, a JJ Loker solo shot gave Elkton the lead, which they never gave up for the rest of the game.
Holding down the fort for the Blue Sox on the mound was Matt Plotner, who threw eight innings, allowing only four runs with four strikeouts.
“It was amazing,” Rocha said of Plotner’s performance. “Like I said, we have his back, so he just filled up the strike zone today, and it was amazing for him to pitch today.”
Plotner, for his part, was quick to put the spotlight on his teammates after the game. “I’m just grateful I have such a great team to play for, because these guys are my family.”
Plotner was able to avoid major damage in the seventh and eighth inning, when the Braves had multiple runners on with less than two outs. Then, Jacob Rich came in as the closer to shut the door in a crucial victory for the Blue Sox, who now move to a 6-12 record.
For the Braves, they had multiple innings where they threatened to even up the game, but were unable to convert with runners in scoring position. It was a disappointing result for the team, who now fall to 7-13 on the year.
OTHER STANDOUT PERFORMANCES: Lee Carneal, Josh Good and Mack Rexrode all had multi-hit games for the Blue Sox...Two Braves hitters, Luke Paczewski and Alex Markapoulos, both got hits on Wednesday night, keeping their averages above .400 for the year...Josh Tayman threw three innings of relief for Montezuma, allowing only one run on two hits.
The RCBL end-of-season awards have been finalized for the 2018 season. Coaches around the league voted for the MVP, Pitcher of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year based on performance during the summer.
Putting together a phenomenal two-way season, Bridgewater shortstop/pitcher Tyler Bocock has been named the 2018 MVP. Bocock led or was near the top in almost every offensive category this season, batting .423 with six home runs. His 36 RBIs were the most in the league.
In addition, he earned four wins on the mound while finishing the season with a 2.00 ERA, fourth in the league. Bocock’s performance helped lead the Reds to a 21-7 regular season and a second-place finish in the West Division.
In his first year in the league, Elkton’s Kris Lalk has been named Pitcher of the Year. The Colorado native led the RCBL in strikeouts with 87, tying the Pointstreak-Era record set by Nolan Shaffer in 2013.
Lalk’s highlight of the season came when he struck out 16 New Market batters on the way to earning a 6-1 victory on July 8. He pitched six games this season in which he struck out 10 or more batters. Lalk finished the season with an ERA of 2.39, good for seventh in the league.
Lalk wasn’t the only first-year player to have a good season. Dan Fry of the Broadway Bruins has been named Rookie of the Year for 2018. Fry batted .316 for Broadway this year while hitting four home runs and driving in 26 runs.
A product of Allegany College of Maryland, Fry stole eight bases this season, third in the league. One of Fry’s many highlights was a 3-for-5 performance in Broadway’s 15-13 comeback win over Bridgewater on July 2. Fry hit the game-winning double for the Bruins before making a spectacular catch in centerfield to end the game.
Earning his second-straight honor, Clover Hill’s Chris Cofer has been named Coach of the Year. Cofer guided the Bucks back to the pennant and a 23-5 overall record. Over the past two years, Cofer has helped the Bucks improve from their 2016 season.
This year, the Bucks had one of the deepest pitching staffs in the RCBL. Clover Hill led the league with a 3.46 ERA and was second behind Broadway with 250 strikeouts on the season. Nick Corbin, Corey Armentrout and Eric Yankey all finished the season with four wins for the Bucks.
NEW MARKET - After their quarterfinal series saw five rain delays and one game moved at the request of their opponent, the New Market Shockers finally moved on to the next round with an 8-2 win over Elkton on Monday night.
The two teams finished up the suspended game two, which had been rained out in the bottom of the first inning on Sunday night. The Shockers put together eight runs on 11 hits to put an end to the series that started a week ago.
“Well you know since we started last Tuesday, I’m just glad to complete a game on time,” New Market head coach Chris Rush said. “It’s good, we’re ready to move on to the second round.”
Monday’s game started with two outs in the bottom of the first inning and a man on first base for the Shockers. Nick Goode came around to score on an RBI single by Pat Wingfield for the first run of the game.
Elkton answered in the top of the third when Trent Miller scored on an error to tie the game up at one run apiece.
The teams took turns scoring in the sixth and seventh innings to keep the score tied at 2-2, but New Market broke the game open in the bottom of the seventh. Joseph Rutherford, Nate Jaye, Nick Goode and Pat Wingfield all came across the plate to give New Market a 6-2 lead late in the game.
Two more runs off an RBI single from Goode in the eighth would put the game away for the Shockers. Reliever Brett Ritter faced just four batters in the ninth to close out the game and move on to the next round of the playoffs.
Elkton’s Kris Lalk pitched seven innings and struck out 12 batters, but got the loss as the Shockers put up six runs on him. Only two of the runs that Lalk gave up were earned.
“Long series with Elkton, but pretty good series, this game especially,” Rush said. “Lalk did a heck of a job out there. Benner did a pretty good job for us. We were able to capitalize on Lalk a little bit towards the end. He had a lot of pitches and I think we started being a little more patient and looking for our pitches to hit.”
For New Market, Colin Benner pitched eight innings and gave up just two runs on four hits. Benner struck out 12 batters in the game as well.
First baseman Nolan Potts finished the game 3-for-4 from the plate with one RBI. Goode and Wingfield each had multi-hit games as well.
Despite the Shockers’ record in the regular season, Coach Rush knew his team was capable of playing well in the playoffs and he hopes to keep the momentum going as they face Bridgewater in the semifinals. “We’ve got a good group of guys. This year we were in games when we should have won and we gave some of those away,” Rush said. “I’ve said before and I say again our record doesn’t really reflect who we are and I’m hoping in the postseason we can show that. I think we’re starting to show that and we just want to keep moving on with it.”
NEW MARKET - The RCBL quarterfinals came one step closer to being completed on Sunday night, but were ultimately held up once again due to rain.
The New Market Shockers were finally able to complete game one of their series against the Elkton Blue Sox, winning the contest 12-2. The game was originally started on Tuesday July 31 before being suspended in the top of the eighth inning after a rainstorm.
The teams resumed that game on Sunday afternoon at Rebel Park with a man on first and no outs for the Shockers, who were up 7-2.
Nolan Potts, Zach Stiles, Ty Michaud and Ty Bennett all hit RBI singles in the inning to give the Shockers to extend their lead to 11-2.
Joseph Rutherford hit an RBI single in the top of the ninth to score Nick Goode for the Shockers’ final run of the game.
Seth Comer got the win on the mound for New Market, pitching six innings and allowing just one run on four hits. Bennett finished the game 4-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBIs. Michaud also had four hits on the night, scoring one run and driving in two.
The teams planned to play the second game of the series on Sunday as well, but that’s when the weather stepped in yet again. Rain started to fall in the middle of the first inning and became heavy enough by the bottom of the inning that the game had to be suspended.
New Market was batting in the bottom of the first with two outs and a man on first base when the game was suspended.
The series will be resumed tonight at 7:30 at Rebel Park. New Market and Elkton are the only teams still playing in the quarterfinals; every other series was finished by last Wednesday. Grottoes, Clover Hill and Bridgewater are currently waiting for this series to wrap up so they can know their opponents in the semifinals and start the next round of playoffs.
The RCBL has announced nominees for its four annual awards. Over the next week, coaches will vote for the MVP, Pitcher of the Year, Coach of the year and Rookie of the Year for the 2018 season.
Clover Hill leads the way with five overall nominations, including three for Pitcher of the Year. Bridgewater and Broadway each have two nominees, while Stuarts Draft, New Market and Elkton have one nominee each.
Brian Bocock and Tyler Bocock of Bridgewater are both nominated for MVP. Brian finished the season batting .407 with five home runs and 29 RBIs. Tyler hit .423 on the year with six home runs and led the league with 36 RBIs. The cousins were the Players of the Week for the final two weeks of the regular season.
New Market’s Nick Goode is the third nominee for MVP. Goode led the league in batting average this season, hitting .465 in 21 games. Goode also led the league in on base percentage (.543) and slugging percentage (.767). The Shockers’ outfielder had 10 doubles and two triples on the season along with four home runs.
Corey Armentrout, Kevin Chandler and Eric Yankey of Clover Hill are all nominated for Pitcher of the Year. Chandler led the league with a 1.63 ERA over 38.2 innings while Armentrout was tied for the lead in wins with a record of 4-0.
Yankey was one of the most dominant relief pitchers this season, picking up two saves for the Bucks while also earning four wins. Yankey’s 0.42 ERA and 29 strikeouts over 21.1 innings earned him a nomination for Pitcher of the Year.
Joining the Bucks’ trio is Elkton newcomer Kris Lalk. Lalk finished the season with a record of 1-4 and one save, but was one of the most unhittable pitchers in the league. His 87 strikeouts tied the Pointstreak-era record set by Nolan Shaffer in 2013. Lalk’s ERA of 2.39 was in the top 10 in the league.
Chris Cofer of Clover Hill and Justin Getz of Broadway are the nominees for Coach of the Year. Cofer guided the Bucks to their second-straight pennant and improved over last season by finishing the year with a record of 23-5.
Getz put together a team of young talent in Broadway that finished the season 18-10. The Bruins vastly improved from last season and nearly matched their total of 21 wins from 2014-2017, as pointed out by the RCBL’s Nick Stevens.
One of those young players from the Bruins is Dan Fry, who is nominated for Rookie of the Year. Fry finished the season batting .316 with four home runs and 26 RBIs. Joining him on the list is Stuarts Draft’s Will Hass, who batted .341 with four home runs and 19 RBIs. Hass had a breakout three home run game against Montezuma earlier in the season.
Rounding out the nominees for Rookie of the Year is Matt Larson of Clover Hill. Playing 23 games at catcher for the Bucks, Larson batted .329 on the year with 17 RBIs. The rookie backstop also stole six bases for Clover Hill.
The nominees have been sent to the coaches for voting and winners will be announced sometime in the coming weeks.