BRIDGEWATER - Following up their 12-run performance on Thursday night, the Bridgewater Reds defeated New Market 11-0 in game two on Friday. The Reds’ 12 hits combined with eight errors by New Market led to a shut-out win to take a two-game lead in the series.
“Momentum’s going our way right now,” Reds’ catcher Josh Wright said. “We’ve still got to stay focused one game at a time. We don’t get ahead of ourselves because we need to focus on each and every pitch. We’re looking forward to game three.”
Much like Thursday's game, a few key innings proved to be the difference for the Reds.
Bridgewater’s offense started off slow, scoring one run each in the first and third innings. The offense exploded in the fifth for five runs on five hits and four errors. Tyler Bocock, Wright, Brian Bocock, Corbin Lucas and Andrew Armstrong all came around to score in the inning.
The Reds scored three more runs in the sixth to make it 10-0. The final run of the game came on a solo shot to straightaway centerfield by Tyler Bocock in the eighth inning.
Four Reds had multi-hit games, including Wright, who finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored on the night.
“The guy coming in first was a sidearmer, so we just tried to stay with a good approach and go with inside pitches best we could and it seemed to work tonight,” Wright said about his mentality at the plate.
Bridgewater starter Tucker Garrison got the win on the mound, pitching six innings while striking out eight batters. Garrison gave up just three hits and one walk on the night.
“He got ahead early and that’s the key to success in this league is making sure you can get ahead in the count,” Wright said about his pitcher’s performance. “He got some ground balls and it worked out great for us.”
The Reds now have a 2-0 lead in the series heading into game three on Sunday night. Sunday’s contest will be a home game for the Shockers back at Rebel Park.
NEW MARKET - After multiple rain delays and cancellations, the first game of the Bridgewater versus New Market series was completed last night. The Reds took home a 12-5 win to take a 1-0 lead in the semifinals.
New Market had a strong start by capitalizing on the mistakes that the Reds made in the first two innings. The Shockers got two runs on the board in the bottom of the first inning. They added three more in the second to take a 5-0 lead.
“I think we struggled early, but took a deep breath, settled in and had a good third inning and just kind of kept it going from there,” Tyler Bocock said about the Reds performance on Thursday.
The Reds answered back to those five runs by bringing home 10 runs in the top of the third. Starting with a single to left field from Corbin Lucas that brought home Tyler Bocock, the Reds scored 10 runs on 10 hits to break the game open.
The Reds kept the Shockers from advancing home the rest of the night while the Bridgewater offense kept the runs coming. Bridgewater scored one more in the fourth inning and put another run across in the ninth to take the win in game one.
“There are things we can take away from this game, just like every game we can definitely do better. We walked some guys tonight, it would be nice to go after some guys, give our defense a chance,” Bocock said. “We had a couple innings that were big innings but it’s nice sometimes to chip away, keep scoring throughout the game.”
New Market and Bridgewater will play again in the second game of the series tonight at Ray Heatwole Field.
GROTTOES - GROTTOES- The Clover Hill Bucks are now just one win away from punching their ticket to a second-straight trip to the RCBL championship series, after defeating the Grottoes Cardinals 9-5.
Nick Corbin took the mound for the Bucks, giving up just one hit across six innings of work on the road, at Shifflett Field. The lone hit allowed came in the first inning, a ground-rule double off the bat of Keegan Woolford.
Woolford and Ray Tricarico would come around to score on an error, later in the inning, however, that would be the only runs allowed by Corbin and his defense, until the seventh inning.
Despite falling behind early, the offense of Clover Hill exploded for 12 hits, including six combined base-hits from Tanner Moyers and Kevin Kirk. Each added a walk on the night, reaching base a combined nine times on the evening.
Every single Bucks’ starter reached base at least once, adding seven walks to their 12 hits.
The Cardinals attempted a comeback in the bottom of the seventh, scoring three runs off relief pitcher Tyler Conley, including an RBI-single by Woolford to bring the Cardinals to within four. Grottoes proved unable to close the gap anymore over the final two frames.
The bullpen duo of Jordan Showalter and Waring Garber combined for 2.2 innings of scoreless relief to close out the game.
Both teams will take tonight off before resuming the series on Saturday night at Buck Bowman Park. If Clover Hill wins, they clinch the five-game series. Should Grottoes battle back for a victory, the series returns to Shifflett Field on Sunday evening, for game four.
CLOVER HILL - The Clover Hill Bucks and Grottoes Cardinals hadn’t played since the end of the July, when both teams completed first round sweeps in the RCBL playoffs. Last night at Buck Bowman Park, the two teams finally began their semifinal matchup, resulting in a 3-2 Clover Hill win.
Corey Armentrout took the mound in game one for the Bucks, striking out 10 Cardinals in seven innings of work. He allowed no earned runs on seven hits and did not issue a single free pass.
Armentrout looked confident the entire outing, saying after the game, “I believe in my stuff. I’m a fastball pitcher and I’m able to spot up and command.” Evident by his zero walks and starting all but three at-bats with a first pitch strike, through his first six innings of work.
Coach Cofer handed the ball to All-RCBL closer Eric Yankey, who slammed the door shut on Clover Hill’s game one victory, giving up just one hit and one walk while striking out four over his two innings of relief.
Grottoes starting pitcher Josh Pittman kept the bases clean before hitting Danny Grogg to lead off the bottom of the third inning. Grogg would later score on an RBI-single by leadoff hitter Ross French for the first run of the evening.
Clover Hill would add another run in the next frame on an RBI-single by Grogg, scoring Blake Sipe to put the Bucks up 2-0.
Grottoes came back to tie the game in the top of the fifth, scoring two runs on a Clover Hill error with bases loaded and two outs. However, another Ross French RBI in the sixth proved to be all Clover Hill would need to secure the victory.
The Cardinals refused to go down quietly, getting two men on base via hit-by-pitch and a walk in the ninth. The game came down to the league’s best reliever in Yankey vs. one of the league’s top power hitters in Keegan Woolford. Playoff baseball at its finest.
Woolford quickly fell behind 0-2, eventually falling victim to the strikeout to wrap up the game.
“I think we were ready to get after it, after sitting back with all this rain. It’s always a pretty big deal to get the first game under your belt and gain confidence as a team,” said Armentrout after the game.
The RCBL end-of-season awards have been finalized for the 2018 season. Coaches around the league voted for the MVP, Pitcher of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year based on performance during the summer.
Putting together a phenomenal two-way season, Bridgewater shortstop/pitcher Tyler Bocock has been named the 2018 MVP. Bocock led or was near the top in almost every offensive category this season, batting .423 with six home runs. His 36 RBIs were the most in the league.
In addition, he earned four wins on the mound while finishing the season with a 2.00 ERA, fourth in the league. Bocock’s performance helped lead the Reds to a 21-7 regular season and a second-place finish in the West Division.
In his first year in the league, Elkton’s Kris Lalk has been named Pitcher of the Year. The Colorado native led the RCBL in strikeouts with 87, tying the Pointstreak-Era record set by Nolan Shaffer in 2013.
Lalk’s highlight of the season came when he struck out 16 New Market batters on the way to earning a 6-1 victory on July 8. He pitched six games this season in which he struck out 10 or more batters. Lalk finished the season with an ERA of 2.39, good for seventh in the league.
Lalk wasn’t the only first-year player to have a good season. Dan Fry of the Broadway Bruins has been named Rookie of the Year for 2018. Fry batted .316 for Broadway this year while hitting four home runs and driving in 26 runs.
A product of Allegany College of Maryland, Fry stole eight bases this season, third in the league. One of Fry’s many highlights was a 3-for-5 performance in Broadway’s 15-13 comeback win over Bridgewater on July 2. Fry hit the game-winning double for the Bruins before making a spectacular catch in centerfield to end the game.
Earning his second-straight honor, Clover Hill’s Chris Cofer has been named Coach of the Year. Cofer guided the Bucks back to the pennant and a 23-5 overall record. Over the past two years, Cofer has helped the Bucks improve from their 2016 season.
This year, the Bucks had one of the deepest pitching staffs in the RCBL. Clover Hill led the league with a 3.46 ERA and was second behind Broadway with 250 strikeouts on the season. Nick Corbin, Corey Armentrout and Eric Yankey all finished the season with four wins for the Bucks.
NEW MARKET - After their quarterfinal series saw five rain delays and one game moved at the request of their opponent, the New Market Shockers finally moved on to the next round with an 8-2 win over Elkton on Monday night.
The two teams finished up the suspended game two, which had been rained out in the bottom of the first inning on Sunday night. The Shockers put together eight runs on 11 hits to put an end to the series that started a week ago.
“Well you know since we started last Tuesday, I’m just glad to complete a game on time,” New Market head coach Chris Rush said. “It’s good, we’re ready to move on to the second round.”
Monday’s game started with two outs in the bottom of the first inning and a man on first base for the Shockers. Nick Goode came around to score on an RBI single by Pat Wingfield for the first run of the game.
Elkton answered in the top of the third when Trent Miller scored on an error to tie the game up at one run apiece.
The teams took turns scoring in the sixth and seventh innings to keep the score tied at 2-2, but New Market broke the game open in the bottom of the seventh. Joseph Rutherford, Nate Jaye, Nick Goode and Pat Wingfield all came across the plate to give New Market a 6-2 lead late in the game.
Two more runs off an RBI single from Goode in the eighth would put the game away for the Shockers. Reliever Brett Ritter faced just four batters in the ninth to close out the game and move on to the next round of the playoffs.
Elkton’s Kris Lalk pitched seven innings and struck out 12 batters, but got the loss as the Shockers put up six runs on him. Only two of the runs that Lalk gave up were earned.
“Long series with Elkton, but pretty good series, this game especially,” Rush said. “Lalk did a heck of a job out there. Benner did a pretty good job for us. We were able to capitalize on Lalk a little bit towards the end. He had a lot of pitches and I think we started being a little more patient and looking for our pitches to hit.”
For New Market, Colin Benner pitched eight innings and gave up just two runs on four hits. Benner struck out 12 batters in the game as well.
First baseman Nolan Potts finished the game 3-for-4 from the plate with one RBI. Goode and Wingfield each had multi-hit games as well.
Despite the Shockers’ record in the regular season, Coach Rush knew his team was capable of playing well in the playoffs and he hopes to keep the momentum going as they face Bridgewater in the semifinals. “We’ve got a good group of guys. This year we were in games when we should have won and we gave some of those away,” Rush said. “I’ve said before and I say again our record doesn’t really reflect who we are and I’m hoping in the postseason we can show that. I think we’re starting to show that and we just want to keep moving on with it.”
NEW MARKET - The RCBL quarterfinals came one step closer to being completed on Sunday night, but were ultimately held up once again due to rain.
The New Market Shockers were finally able to complete game one of their series against the Elkton Blue Sox, winning the contest 12-2. The game was originally started on Tuesday July 31 before being suspended in the top of the eighth inning after a rainstorm.
The teams resumed that game on Sunday afternoon at Rebel Park with a man on first and no outs for the Shockers, who were up 7-2.
Nolan Potts, Zach Stiles, Ty Michaud and Ty Bennett all hit RBI singles in the inning to give the Shockers to extend their lead to 11-2.
Joseph Rutherford hit an RBI single in the top of the ninth to score Nick Goode for the Shockers’ final run of the game.
Seth Comer got the win on the mound for New Market, pitching six innings and allowing just one run on four hits. Bennett finished the game 4-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBIs. Michaud also had four hits on the night, scoring one run and driving in two.
The teams planned to play the second game of the series on Sunday as well, but that’s when the weather stepped in yet again. Rain started to fall in the middle of the first inning and became heavy enough by the bottom of the inning that the game had to be suspended.
New Market was batting in the bottom of the first with two outs and a man on first base when the game was suspended.
The series will be resumed tonight at 7:30 at Rebel Park. New Market and Elkton are the only teams still playing in the quarterfinals; every other series was finished by last Wednesday. Grottoes, Clover Hill and Bridgewater are currently waiting for this series to wrap up so they can know their opponents in the semifinals and start the next round of playoffs.
BRIDGEWATER - With a trip to the RCBL semifinals on the line, the Bridgewater Reds lineup produced another big outing on the way to an 11-6 victory over Stuarts Draft. Three key innings powered the Reds to a game three victory on their home field in Bridgewater.
Neither starting pitcher made it out of the first inning as Bridgewater’s Alex Stover gave up three runs on two hits and three walks and the Dbacks jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first.
The Reds were ready to answer back, though, as they got to Stuarts Draft’s Stephen Baker in the bottom of the first. Baker exited after two-thirds of an inning, giving up five runs on four hits and one walk.
Corbin Lucas hit an RBI single to score Kevin Bocock for the Reds’ first run of the game. It was Lucas’ first of three hits on the night, including a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the third inning.
“All series I’ve been hitting the ball hard, just right at people,” Lucas said. “Tonight was another one of those nights where I just tried to be aggressive early, look for fastballs early in the count. In this league I don’t like to get to two strikes because you never know what’s going to happen”
Lucas finished the night 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored. His home run in the third started another big inning for the Reds as they sent three more runners across the plate to make the score 8-3.
Despite the fact that they were facing elimination in each of the last two games, Lucas said the team never thought about the possibility of their season ending early.
“I don’t think so,” Lucas said when asked if the Reds were worried about getting knocked out. “That’s not something we’re really taking into consideration because we know we can have a big inning at anytime. Our pitchers are going to keep it close.”
The Dbacks didn’t give up the fight, putting up three runs in the top of the eighth, two of them coming from a Stephen Baker home run. It wasn’t enough to make a comeback, however, as Drafts’ season ended in the quarterfinals.
For the Reds, their semifinal opponent is still unknown and depends on the outcome of the New Market/Elkton series. If New Market wins the series, the Reds will face the Shockers in the next round. If Elkton wins, Bridgewater will take on Grottoes in the semifinals.
Whoever their opponent is, the defending champs are ready.
“Mainly we hope to get a lot of rest and get our pitchers back,” Lucas said. “Our pitchers have thrown a lot of pitches in these last three outings and our catchers have really had to sit there for a long time. So whoever they got coming, we’re ready for them and just hope for a great series.”
MONTEZUMA - The Clover Hill Bucks made it past the quarterfinals by taking down the Montezuma Braves, 12-3 last night at Ruritan Field.
“We made a couple mistakes tonight, a couple of errors, but we were very aggressive too. So we created some opportunities for us at the same time,” Coach Chris Cofer said about his team's performance last night.
The Bucks got on the board early in the first inning when a double from Tanner Moyers brought home Drew Easter, making it 1-0 heading into the second inning.
In the top of the third Luke Shiflett drew a bases loaded walk, sending Cody Warner home. Warner drove in John Siciliano in the fourth to make it 3-0 Bucks.
The Braves got on the board late in the game by bringing home two runs from Sam Imeson and Owen Stewart, making the score 3-2 going into the sixth inning.
The Bucks brought home three runs in the sixth inning, getting some momentum going with a stolen base by Kevin Kirk.
“One big play was Kevin Kirk stealing third base from that bunt attempt, that broke the game a little bit for us,” Cofer said about Kirk's big play.
Montezuma got their last run on the board bottom of the sixth as Kyle Armstrong got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, sending Imeson home.
Luke Shiflett hit a home run in the top of the seventh before the Bucks exploded for five runs in the eighth to win the game 12-3. With the win, Clover Hill advances to the semifinals. The Bucks will have to wait until the rest of the quarterfinals series get wrapped up before they'll know their opponent.
STUARTS DRAFT - In a complete turnaround from Monday night’s extra-innings loss, the Bridgewater Reds defeated Stuarts Draft 14-6 on Tuesday to even up the quarterfinal series at 1-1. Four home runs from the powerful Bridgewater lineup propelled the Reds to a dominating victory at the Diamond Club.
“Good things happen when you hit the ball hard and that’s kind of what we did, got a few runs early,” Bridgewater pitcher Tyler Bocock said. “I think that helped a little bit and just trying to settle in. We executed tonight and just added on well.”
Draft’s Ryan Cooper led off the bottom of the first with a solo home run for the first run of the game. The Dbacks’ lead lasted through the first three innings, but the Reds came to the plate ready to make a statement in the fourth.
Josh Wright led off the inning with a solo home run to left field. All-RCBL first baseman Brian Bocock followed suit with a shot of his own to nearly the same spot.
Two batters later, Andrew Armstrong hit the third home run of the inning as the Reds started to settle into a groove.
“I think we did a good job of adjusting after our first at bat and then coming out hitting balls and producing runs that way,” Bocock said about the Reds’ offense.
Bridgewater would go on to score six runs in the fifth inning and five more in the seventh to take a 14-1 lead, but the slaughter rule is not in effect in the postseason.
The Dbacks stayed in the fight with a three-run seventh inning and two runs coming in the ninth from Cooper’s second home run of the night, but they were unable to come back and Bridgewater took the game to tie the series.
Bocock picked up the win on the mound, tossing six innings and giving up two runs on five hits. The leadoff home run by Cooper might have rattled some pitchers, but Bocock settled in and led the Reds to their first win of the postseason.
“He hit it real, real good,” Bocock said about Cooper’s solo shot. “If you just stay attacking hitters overall, in the long run it works out for you, just getting outs, letting our defense do what they need to do.”
The Reds will host the Dbacks at Ray Heatwole Field tonight in a decisive game three. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.