GROTTOES - The Elkton Blue Sox bounced back from Thursday night’s loss and are now within half a game of first place as they defeated Grottoes 7-4 Friday.
“It’s a good win,” Elkton head coach Dave Loker said. “We’ve still got a ways to go, but tonight was good. After last night’s game, a win feels good.”
The Blue Sox lost 13-3 at New Market on Thursday night, but they found their stride against Grottoes as they were able to knock off the first place Cardinals.
Elkton didn’t waste any time getting things started as they put one run on the board in the top of the first inning thanks to an RBI double by JJ Loker.
Elkton extended its lead in the top of the third inning, scoring five runs to make it 6-0 in favor of the Blue Sox. Chris Smith, Lee Carneal, JJ Loker, Connor Lilley and Jacob Slaughter all came across the plate in the third.
The Cardinals finally answered back with four runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth, all of them unearned.
With the score close at 6-4, Elkton scored an insurance run in the top of the seventh to put it out of reach as the Cardinals were unable to find their way across the plate in the final three frames.
“Tonight we were hitting the ball pretty good and we had more guys tonight. Last night we were short,” Coach Loker said. “I thought we hit the ball pretty well. I’m happy with seven runs.”
The Cardinals bested the Blue Sox in number of hits, knocking in 13 on the night, but they left 14 runners on base throughout the game. Grottoes stranded nine runners in the last four innings of the game, including leaving the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth.
Elkton starter Corey Wright pitched six innings, giving up four unearned runs on nine hits and striking out two. Reliever Bradley Hanner, who started the night as the designated hitter, tossed the final two innings, giving up just two hits and striking out two batters on his way to earning the save.
“Corey did a real nice job,” Loker said. “He threw strikes, he made them hit a lot of ground balls. If you back him well, he’ll do a good job. He doesn’t walk too many people. Tonight I thought he pitched a real good game.”
With the win, the Blue Sox improve to 6-9 on the season and are quickly closing in on first place in the Eastern Division. New Market and Grottoes are currently tied for first at 7-9, half a game ahead of Elkton.
The Blue Sox have the night off tonight as they prepare to battle for first place tomorrow night when they host the New Market Shockers. Tomorrow’s game will begin at 7:30 at Stonewall Memorial Park.