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By Mitchell Broughton
After being down by one heading into the seventh inning, New Market scored three runs between the seventh and eighth innings to beat the Clover Hill Bucks last night 6-4.
Any key win in the game of baseball starts out with solid pitching, and that was true last night for New Market. The two Shenandoah University pitchers on the mound for the Shockers weren’t dominant by definition, but they put their defense in the positions to make plays behind them in route to a victory. Tad Dean and Calvin Pastel combined for only two strikeouts, but gave their defense a total of 33 chances to make plays and keep the sometimes explosive Clover Hill offense at rest.
Hitting at the bottom of the order, catcher Matt Moon was the star of the night for the Shockers. Moon had two hits and team-leading three RBIs. His biggest at bat ended with a game-winning two-run double in the top of the eighth inning. Four other players had two hits for New Market as well: Pearce Bucher, Nick Goode, Grant Thompson and Haden Madagan.
The most impressive performance on the mound last night came from the arm of Bucks’ manager Kevin Chandler. In his third appearance but first start of the season, Chandler struck out four and walked just one batter in five innings for Clover Hill.
Drew Easter led the Bucks offense in Tuesday’s game, finishing the night with two hits and two RBIs. Those RBIs were part of an early two-run homer, just his second long ball of the season. Tyler Bocock and Kevin Navedo also had two hits for the Bucks but Clover Hill struggled to convert hits into runs, leaving ten runners stranded.
With this big win at Buck Bowman Park, New Market keeps their chances at this year’s pennant alive. They are now 13-6 overall and sit just one and a half games behind the Broadway Bruins who are 15-5. The Shockers have two make-up games left to play before the playoffs versus Montezuma and Stuarts Draft, and the Bruins only have one against Bridgewater. New Market needs to win out and hope that the Bruins fall to the Reds on Thursday if they want to win the regular season pennant. Broadway holds the head-to-head tiebreaker between the two, but the Shockers need to focus on the next two days in order to have a chance.
Clover Hill falls to 11-8 and are now tied for third in the standings with Bridgewater. There is still a lot of opportunity for the Bucks to end up anywhere from second to fifth in for playoff seeding based on how the last two days of the regular season go. They will travel to play Stuarts Draft tonight.
FINAL: New Market 6 Clover Hill 4. Win: Calvin Pastel (1-0). Loss: Tanner Buchanan (0-1).
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