CLOVER HILL - One of the hottest rivalries in the RCBL closed out its 2018 chapter on Saturday night as the Bridgewater Reds defeated the Clover Hill Bucks 8-6. Bridgewater traveled to Buck Bowman Park for the fourth game between the two most storied franchises in league history.
A packed crowd filed into the Clover Dome to witness the closest matchup between the two teams this season. Fans from both sides were vocal all night as the game went back and forth until Bridgewater scored the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth.
“We come here, they come to our place, it’s always going to be a battle and it’s going to be a close game,” Reds head coach Robert Sherfey said. “You’ve just got to play the game, play nine innings and come out on top and we did tonight. I’m very proud of the guys, they always battle until the end.”
Bridgewater jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first as Kevin Bocock came around to score, but the Bucks took the lead back with four runs over the first two innings.
With the Reds leading 6-4 in the seventh, Clover Hill’s Danny Grogg almost came around to score on what would have been an RBI-double by Kevin Kirk, but the ball rolled under the fence in right field causing a ground-rule double and sending Grogg back to third.
The Bucks’ first baseman found his way home in the next at bat as Matt Larson hit a two-run single to score Grogg and Kirk, tying the game.
The Reds took the advantage in the top of the ninth as Corbin Lucas came to the plate with Josh Wright and Brian Bocock on base. Lucas made contact on an 0-1 pitch and drove in both runners to give Bridgewater an 8-6 lead.
Clover Hill sent four batters to the plate in the bottom of the ninth and the game ended as Daniel Heatwole snagged a hard-hit ball at third to turn a terrific double play for the final two outs.
With the win, Bridgewater improves to 12-4 on the season and moves to just one game behind the Bucks for first place in the West.
“We’re getting towards the wind-down of it, I think two more weeks or so,” Sherfey said. “Every game right now is critical because we’re so close in the division, I think within a game and a half, two games.”
“It’s anybody’s go right now, so we want to go after it and see where we end up.”
Bridgewater is back in action tonight, traveling to Shifflett Field to take on the Grottoes Cardinals in an interdivision battle. Clover Hill has the next two nights off before hosting Montezuma on Tuesday night.