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By Leyton Pullin
Game 2 of the RCBL semifinal series between the Grottoes Cardinals and the New Market Shockers would turn out to be a good one with some key hits and costly errors late in the game leading to a 10-9 victory for the Shockers.
New Market would hop on the board early with 3 runs in the top of the 1st as Grant Thompson would hit an RBI single then he would score as Pearce Bucher wild hit a 2 run Homerun to give them a 3-0 lead before Matt House would strike out to end the inning. Grottoes would get one of those back in the bottom of the 1st as Austin Nicely singled and Tristan Shoemaker would score to make it 3-1.
Grottoes’ offense would explode in the bottom of the 2nd. Matt Curry would get the scoring going with an RBI double to score David Wood to make it 3-2. Gage Wood would score on an error by Tad Dean and then Keegan Woolford would deliver with a 3 Run Homerun to give the Cardinals a 6-3 lead. Grottoes would tag on another run in the 3rd as David Wood doubled followed by another Matt Curry RBI double to score Woodto extend the lead to 7-3. The Cardinals weren’t done yet as they would tag on another run in the 4th as Keegan Woolford stayed hot with a Triple to right field to score Dylan Nicely to extend the lead yet again to 8-3.
After a score 5th Grottoes Manager Tim Nicely would go to the bullpen with Jack Masloff after Mike Dailey had a terrific 5 innings with 9 strikeouts and only 3 earned runs, all in the 1st inning. Masloff would get some insurance as Keegan Woolford hit a solo home run possibly over 400 feet to give the Cards a 9-3 lead in the 6th.
New Market was retired in order in the 7th but would have a completely different story in 8th. Frankie Ritter would leadoff with a single for his 4th hit of the night followed by a Henry Delavergne strike out. Nick Goode came up next and hit what seemed like a routine grounder to third base before Isiah Blanks misplayed the ball letting it scoot by putting two runners on for Grant Thompson. Thompson would deliver with a RBI single to score Ritter making it 9-4. Bucher would hit next and hit a grounder to Tristan Shoemaker at shortstop who would also struggle to make a play allowing Bucher to reach and Goode to score to make it 9-5. Matt House would strike out looking to make the 2nd out in the 8th before Haden Madagan would draw a walk. Ty Bennett would hit a grounder to Shoemaker at shortstop but again Shoemaker failed to make the play allowing Bennett to reach and Thompson and Bucher to score to make the score 9-7. Matt Moon would draw a walk as well before Frankie Ritter delivered with his second hit of the inning this time a 2RBI single to tie the game up at 9-9. Luke Estes would dig in next before another ball was hit to Shoemaker and he didn’t come up with an out for his 3rd error of the inning which this time allowed Luke Keister to score giving the Shockers the lead at a mark of 10-9.
Grottoes would get a chance to strike back in the bottom of the 9th as New Market power closer C.J. Morton would come in for the save opportunity. David Wood put up a huge battle at the plate pushing Morton to throw his best before Wood sliced a ball into what looked to be the Bermuda Triangle behind third base before Frankie Ritter made a diving catch to keep the tiring run off the bases. Isiah Blanks would strike out swinging for the 2nd out of the inning bringing up Matt Curry. The 2nd basemen would fall behind 0-2 before he got hit in the head to reach base putting the tying run aboard. Tristan Shoemaker would draw a walk to put the go ahead run on first with 2 outs before Dylan Nicely was struck out looking on a fastball just below the belt to give New Market the win and a 2-0 lead in the series.
The New Market Shockers were able to take advantage of some costly errors made by the Cardinals defense which Manager Nolan Potts said he had been preaching to them all season long. “I’ve always told them you put the ball in play you never know.” Potts also mentioned how they were able to use the same strategy back in Game 1 against Austin Nicely by just putting the ball in play. Frankie Ritter flew under the radar most of the night but had a huge night going 5 for 5 with a double, 2 RBIs, and 2 runs scored. Ethan Laird would get the win for the Shockers and C.J. Morton picked up the save.
For Grottoes they let one slip away. “When we play good defense we’ve been really good, and when we’ve not played defense we’ve not been very good. That’s kinda been the story of our season,” said Cardinals Manager Tim Nicely. Despite the 4 errors in the 8th Grottoes has a good night for the most part anywhere you look on the stat sheet. Mike Dailey put in a good start in 5 innings with 97 pitches, Keegan Woolford has one of the best stat lines the league has seen all year as he went 3 for 4 with 2 homeruns and 5 RBIs, and Matt Curry had a season best night going 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs and 2 doubles. Jack Masloff would get the loss despite only giving up 1 earned run in his outing which included the nightmare 8th for the Cardinals.
Game 3 will be played on Wednesday at beautiful Rebel Park in New Market where New Market will have a chance to punch their ticket to the RCBL Championship Series.
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