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By Leyton Pullin
The Grottoes Cardinals would pick up a huge win to keep their season alive 10-1 over the New Market Shockers on Thursday to force a winner take all game on Saturday.
Austin Nicely would get the start for Grottoes and Joel Smith would get the nod for the Shockers. Both starters would cruise through their first 2 innings of work as both would allow only one hit a piece. Grottoes would break the scoring open in the 3rd ending Smith's scoreless stretch. Jacob Dansey would single thwn Austin Nicely would reach after him as he was hit with a pitch. Catcher Dylan Nicely would ten walk to load up the bases for the always dangerous Keegan Woolford. Woolford would continue his hot streak with a Grand Slam to give the Cardinals a 4-0 lead.
New Market would try and respond in the top of the 4th as they would take advantage of one of the few base runners they’d get all night. Nick Goode would draw a walk and then would steal second base. Pierce Bucher would then hit a hard ground ball at Cam Irvine in which the former Hokie couldn’t come up with. Goode came across to score to put the Shockers on the board, 4-1.
In the bottom of the 5th Jacob Dansey would spark another scoring opportunity as the former Blazer would single and then score on a Keegan Woolford sacrifice fly out. That would be Woolford’s 5th RBI of the night to give the Cardinals a 5-1 lead. The Cardinals Austin Nicely would then take over for good. Nicely would retire all but 5 batters he faced only allowing 2 hits in his complete game on the mound for the Cardinals. Nicely also would strike out 11 including a stretch in the 6th, 7th, and 8th where he would strike out 6 in a row. Nicely would add to his pitching stats a 3 run homerun in the bottom of the 8th to score Jacob Dansey and Gage Wood who each added an RBI single earlier in the inning to stretch the score out to 10-1 which would be the final score allowing the Cardinals to pick up the victory to force a Game 5.
The Cardinals saw great production throughout their lineup led by Keegan Woolford who went 2 for 2 with a Grand Slam, 5 RBIs, and 2 runs scored. Jacob Dansey also added a 3 for 4 effort with 1 RBI out of the 9 hole in the lineup. The big star of the night for Grottoes was Austin Nicely who picked up the win in a complete game. When asked about his strategy seeing the Shockers line up once this week already Nicely said, “We had to mix it up and try to keep them on their toes.”
Grottoes Manager Tim Nicely said the line up would be a challenge for Game 5 but said, “We’re just taking it one game at a time.” Game 5 will be played on Saturday night at 7:30 at Rebel Field in New Market with the winner moving on to the RCBL Championship Series.
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