ELKTON - Friday night, the Grottoes Cardinals fell one run shy of completing a ninth-inning comeback against the Clover Hill Bucks. On Saturday night, the Cardinals completed the job.
On an uncharacteristically cold night in Elkton, the Cardinals defeated the Blue Sox, 8-3, after scoring five runs in the top of the ninth inning. With their win, Grottoes remains just one game behind New Market in the race for the East, with just a few more days remaining in the regular season.
The story of the night was St. Bonaventure RHP Josh Pittman. Coming off back-to-back performances against Clover Hill and Bridgewater in which he was hit hard and often, Pittman gave up just four hits and two earned runs across seven innings.
His counterpart, potential RCBL Pitcher of the Year Kris Lalk, went 8.2 innings, striking out 10 hitters in the process. Unfortunately, four errors behind him ultimately cost his team the game. Lalk now sits at 87 strikeouts in 52.2 innings.
Brady Cockerham relieved Pittman in the eighth inning, putting in another high quality performance. Cockerham struck out four across two innings, refusing to allow a hit or a walk. He has very quietly put up 2-0 record and 1.39 ERA in seven relief outings this summer.
As for the offense, Grottoes took a two-run lead into the bottom of the fifth, after an RBI-single by Ray Tricarico and Keegan Woolford’s ninth home run of the season.
JJ Loker’s two-run double in the bottom of the seventh gave Elkton a 3-2 lead, until the ninth inning.
Dan Scott led the inning with a HBP, followed by a Logan Grimm single, and an error on a Jacob Merica ground ball. With no outs and the bases loaded, the Cardinals went to work.
Keegan Woolford drew a bases loaded walk, Dylan Nicely recorded an RBI-single, and Eli Lam drew a walk, giving the Cardinals a 5-3 lead with just one out.
Two more runs would come across on a Jacob Zoller single, finalizing the Cardinals’ rally.
Tonight, weather pending, New Market and Elkton have big matchups against Western Division foes, Clover Hill and Bridgewater, respectively. Both games will have a big impact on Grottoes and their standing in the Eastern Division.
Grottoes has just one game left on their schedule, a must-win against the Clover Hill Bucks at home on Tuesday, July 24th.
Clover Hill 8, Montezuma 3
The Clover Hill Bucks scored four runs in the first inning to take an early lead on the way to an 8-3 win over Montezuma on Saturday. Clover Hill added one more run in the third, two in the fifth and one in the eighth to complete the victory.
Bucks' starter Tanner Moyers didn't allow any base runners through the first four and a third innings. Moyers finished the night with six innings pitched, allowing just one run on four hits and striking out six batters.
Clover Hill catcher Cody Warner finished the night 3-for-4 with two runs scored and five RBIs. Warner hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning that scored Blake Sipe.
The Bucks improve to 20-5 on the season with the win. The Bucks have a 2.5 game lead over the Bridgewater Reds with two games left in the season. Their next matchup comes tonight against New Market at Buck Bowman Park.
New Market 11, Stuarts Draft 10
The Shockers were the first to get on the board last night on their way to a win over Stuarts Draft. A home run from Josh Tayman brought home Chase Smallwood to give the Shockers an early lead.
New Market put six more runs on the board during the fourth inning, which started with a RBI hit from Nolan Potts and an error made by Staurts Draft that brought home Joseph Rutherford.
Chase Smallwood walked to first bringing home teammate Billy Quinn, making the score 4-0. Ty Michau brought home Smallwood, Potts, and Gavin Rush with an RBI later in the inning.
Josh Tayman hit a sacrifice fly and brought home Michaud as the Shockers finished the fourth inning leading 8-0.
The Diamondbacks answered back by bringing home four runs in the bottom of the fourth. Ryan Cooper started the four runs with a double that brought home Tyler Wilcher and Zach Brown, which made the score 8-2.
The Shockers scored one run in the sixth and two in the seventh to make the score 11-4.
The Diamondbacks answered back in the eighth and ninth, but couldn’t get past the Shockers, making the final score 11-10.
The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks will play again against the Elkton Blue Sox on July 25 at the Diamond Club. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The New Market Shockers will play again tonight against the Clover Hill Bucks at Buck Bowman Park. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.