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By Leyton Pullin
On Monday night the New Market Shockers defeated the Grottoes Cardinals 4-2 to advance to the RCBL Championship series behind Darrell Thompson’s complete game gem with 13 strikeouts.
New Market would come out of the gate aggressively at the top of the 1st as both Frankie Ritter and Nick Goode would reach on singles off of Cardinals starter Tucker Garrison. Pierce Bucher would break the scoring open with a 2 RBI double to score Ritter and Goode to give the Shockers a 2-0 lead in the 1st. Both starters would start to settle in after the first as Darrell Thompson would not allow another hit after the 1st inning until the 7th. Tucker Garrison would also go all the way til the bottom of the 5th before allowing another runner to advance to scoring position until Nick Goode walked then scored on a Grant Thompson double off the right field wall to make the score 3-0 for the Shockers.
Darrell Thompson would continue to deal on the mound for New Market until he got to the top of the 7th as Dylan Nicely would work a full count walk to reach followed by Keegan Woolford who would reach on a fly ball that was dropped in the outfield. Austin Nicely would follow with a deep fly ball to right field which was caught by Thompson but allowed Dylan Nicely to advance to 3rd base with 1 out. Jacob Zoller then delivered with a line drive to right center field for a single that would allow Dylan Nicely to score to put the Cardinals on the board.
The Shockers would respond quickly in the bottom of the 8th as Eric Watkins came on in relief for Tucker Garrison. Ty Bennett would reach on an infield hit and advance to 2nd base on a miscue by Watkins. Matt Moon would then deliver on cue with an RBI single to score Bennett giving the Shockers the insurance run to push the lead out to 4-1.
Grottoes would not go down quietly in the top of the 9th. Keegan Woolford would step up to the plate with one out and would absolutely crush a solo homerun to close the gap back to within two at 4-2. Austin Nicely followed Woolford with a hard grounder ball up the middle that would bounce off Thompson’s glove on the mound to allow him to reach safely. Jacob Merica stepped in next and hit a tough dribbler down the first base line but would be thrown out at first but would put Austin Nicely at 3rd base. Jacob Zoller would step in with Grottoes down to its last out but would not deliver as New Market would win on a final score of 4-2.
For Grottoes they see their 2020 campaign come to an end but definitely got a better result than they had a year ago in 2019 where they only won 9 games in the regular season. The Cardinals had much of the same stars coming in handy for them this year including one big one in the power heavy bat of Keegan Woolford who will go down as hitting a homerun that no one saw land in his final at bat of 2020 along with ending the season with 2 games in a row with a homerun.
For New Market they become the first team from the town of New Market to make it to the RCBL finals since 1973 when the Twin Count Twins won the RCBL crown. On that team was, now Broadway Bruins assistant coach, Bob Wease.
New Market made it to the finals riding their star pitcher In Darrell Thompson who crossed the 100 strikeout mark on the season in their game 5 win over Grottoes. The Shockers also have had an outstanding defensive outfield that has not let them down through the year. A player to keep your eye on in the championship series for New Market is going to be Frankie Ritter. The New Market shortstop is coming off a series where he hit .316 and as New Market Manager Nolan Potts said, “When [Frankie] goes we go.” When it comes to Broadway it’s no secret who to watch for in the Player of the Year Chase Delauter who has been nothing short of an offensive machine this season with 15 home runs and he’s hitting a jaw dropping .518 on the year, regular and postseason combined. The big strength for Broadway however has been their bullpen. Manager Chip Abernathy has been confident in his bullpen all year claiming it to be one of the deepest in the league.
Game 1 of the RCBL Championship series will be on Wednesday night at 7:30 pm at JMU’s Eagle Field. If you can’t make it to the ballpark the game will be broadcast on 92.1 FM 550 AM WSVA.
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