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By Leyton Pullin
The Grottoes Cardinals walked into Shifflett Field on Sunday evening after 2 off nights including one where they received a forfeit victory to improve to the 3 seed in the RCBL playoffs giving them home field advantage against 6th seeded Montezuma in the best of 3 first round series.
The Cardinals would hand the ball to Austin Nicely for the staff in Game 1 and he would cruise through the 1st and would get some early run support as Dylan Nicely would dig in with two outs in the bottom of the 1st and would head a moon shot out the park to center to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. Austin Nicely would help himself out too following David with a stand up triple to right field. He would score as well on an error at 1st base to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead.
Grottoes would extend their lead in the 3rd inning with a big 5 run inning. Keegan Woolford would open it up with a solo bomb to right center. Jacob Merica would double and then score on a Jacob Dansey RBI single. David Wood followed with a RBI single of his own to score Dansey from 3rd. Wood would later score along with Tristan Shoemaker on a Cam Irvine 2 RBI single making the score 7-0 Grottoes. In the next half inning Montezuma would test Nicely in the mound for the first time all night as they would load the bases with a Adam Hackenburg double, a Jacob Haney single, and a very patient four pitch walk to Jacob Houser with 1 out. Nicely would settle in as he has most of the season and would calmly strike out Wyatt Campbell and Gavin Rush to get out of the jam.
Montezuma would test the former Astros 10th round pick as Micheal Robertson would double to start the 6th inning followed by some small ball as Owen Stewart would sacrifice bunt to move Robertson over to 3rd. Robertson would eventually score on a Kyle Armstrong ground out to put Montezuma on the board 7-1. Grottoes would respond quickly and big much like they have in the last 10 games. Dylan Nicely would start the parade in the bottom of the 6th followed by an Austin Nicely single and a Keegan Woolford walk to load the bases up. Jacob Mercia would strike out looking but would get some assistance as Jacob Dansey would hit another RBI single followed by a Jacob Zoller bases loaded walk. David Wood would deliver right on cue with a 3 RBI double to push the score out to 12-1.
Grottoes would get the win 12-1 by virtue of the mercy rule after the top of the 7th to take a 1-0 series lead.
After the game Grottoes Manager Tim Nicely has three keys that described his team’s success on the night, “Timely hitting, good pitching, and making the plays in the field when we needed to.” On the other side of things Montezuma manager Chris Rush said.” The biggest thing is we gotta come hit.”
Looking ahead to Game 2 scheduled for Monday night at Ruritan Park in Montezuma Grottoes will start VCU standout Mike Dailey who’s coming off a start where he shut down the Clover Hill Bucks with 13 strikeouts including 12 in a row. Montezuma has not announced who they will start in Game 2.
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