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By Dean Barker
After going down 6-0, the #1 New Market Shockers scored eleven straight runs to defeat the #7 Bridgewater Reds 11-9 in game three of the RCBL Semifinals on Tuesday, August 3 at Rebel Park. With the win, the Shockers improve to 20-6 and move to their second straight RCBL Finals, where they will play either the #3 Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks or the #5 Broadway Bruins. The Reds conclude the season at 8-18, and fall in the semifinals for the second year in a row.
Cade Templeton picked up the win to move to 2-0, giving up three runs and striking out four in six and a third innings. Chris Huffman took the loss for Bridgewater to fall to 1-2, giving up seven runs (four earned) on nine hits in four innings.
Derek Shifflett was walked to lead off the game, and Brett Tharp followed up with a single. Corbin Lucas grounded into a 6-4-3 double play that moved Shifflett to third. Noah Cornwell’s single to center would give the Reds a 1-0 lead, but he was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double.
Shockers head coach Nolan Potts was proud that his team took this game seriously, despite having a 2-0 lead and just needing one more win.
“Just proud of how they responded, because a lot of teams would’ve folded being down 6-0, knowing that ‘Oh, we have a 2-0 lead in the series… we can just play tomorrow,’” Potts said. “Just a great series, Bridgewater’s a really good team over they’re, they’re coached well, they’ve got great players, so (we’re) happy to be moving on.”
Hunter Miller and Jared Meadows singled in the second, and Matthew Wine was walked with two outs to load the bases for Bridgewater. Shifflett ripped a single to left to drive in two, and advanced to second on a wild throw from the left fielder Calvin Pastel. Tharp followed up with a three run shot over the right field wall to increase the lead to 6-0.
Luke Estep walked to lead off the bottom half, reached second on a grounder from Matt House, then took third and home on two passed balls to cut the deficit to 6-1.
Pastel led off the bottom of the third with a single, and reached second and third on an error from Chris Huffman, which also allowed Henry Delavergne to reach base. Pearce Bucher was walked to load the bases, and a double from Estep brought everyone home for the Shockers and made the score 6-4.
Keister reached first on a fielder’s choice, and Pastel singled to left in the fourth. With two outs, Delavergne’s grounder to Xavier Moore at third resulted in an overthrow, and both base runners came home to tie the game at 6-6.
A Ty Bennett RBI single to left in the fifth gave New Market the lead for the first time of the night. House would follow up with an RBI single, and Brayden Hovatter would drive him in with another RBI single to make the lead 9-6 Shockers.
With runners on the corners in the sixth, Tharp tried to throw out Frankie Ritter stealing second, but his throw slipped out of his hand, allowing Delavergne to score. Estep would plate Ritter with a double to right field to make the score 11-6.
Huffman singled and Shifflett and Tharp walked to lead off the top of the ninth with the bases loaded. Lucas and Cornwell walked to cut the lead to 11-8. Grey Sherfey flew out to shortstop for the first out. Hunter Miller grounded out to second to bring in Tharp and make it 11-9. Meadows walked to load the bases again and put the
tying run on second, but Antonio Florentino-Sosa popped out to Bennett behind the plate to end the game.
The Reds left eight runners on base, and had four errors to account for six fatal unearned runs. The Shockers stranded six, and had two errors lead to three unearned runs.
Tharp went 2-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Shifflett was 1-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored. Cornwell went 2-4 with two RBIs. Miller went 2-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Lucas went 1-4 with an RBI. The Reds had eleven hits in their last game of the season.
Estep went 2-4 with four RBIs and a run scored. House was 1-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Hovatter was 2-4 with an RBI. Bennet went 1-5 with an RBI. Pastel was 3-4 with two runs scored. The Shockers had twelve hits on the night.
Estep said that forgetting about Sunday night, where the Shockers almost blew a six run lead in the ninth, was key in winning last night’s game.
“We just had to know that that was just kind of a fluke, and just get past it and push forward to this game,” Estep said. “We almost blew it again, but we’ve just gotta limit those mental errors in the next series.”
To win the championship, Potts says resting will be crucial, considering the wild series the Shockers just won.
“It’s been a stressful last four days. This series has been, like you said, you don’t know how to describe it,” Potts said. “Just mentally, it’d be good to get away from it for a day or two and see how the other series turns out.”
By Leyton Pullin
Facing elimination, the Broadway Bruins picked up a win over the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks 8-6 behind a good start from Jett Shue and a 2 home run night from Caleb Taylor.
Broadway jumped on top right out of the gate as Justin Lohr drew a lead off walk on a 10 pitch at bat before Jett Shue followed him with a triple bringing Lohr in to score. Next to the plate came Caleb Taylor who grounded out to second base but allowed for Shue to score and push the Bruins in front 2-0.
The D-backs had a chance in the bottom half of the first as they loaded up the bases before a Bob Funk fly out ended the inning.
Broadway extended their lead in the bottom of the 4th inning. The Bruins put two runners on to open the inning before Kevin Rush delivered with a 2 RBI single to push the lead to 4-0 for the Bruins.
Stuarts Draft attempted to strike back in the bottom half of the inning as Tyler Wilcher got the first base hit of the night for Draft with a lead off double. Funk followed with a walk to put runners on the corners after a wild pitch. Next to the plate came Lucas Adam. The D-Backs used some nifty baserunning as Funk took off for second but stopped half way when Taylor made the throw down allowing for Wilcher to take off and score easily at the plate to cut the lead to 4-1. Later in the inning Grayson Bush came to the plate with Funk at third base and laid down a perfectly placed bunt to allow everyone to reach easily and score Funk to make it 4-2.
Broadway would put up runs in the top of the 5th and 7th as Caleb Taylor hit a two-run homer and then followed with a solo shot in the 7th. Broadway added another in the top of the 7th on an Isaac VanMeter sacrifice fly to stretch the lead to 8-2.
Stuarts Draft loaded the bases again in the bottom of the 7th but was destined to not leave them stranded as Bush was the first hitter up with the bases loaded and drew a walk to bring Cody Bartley in to score. Calen Owens came to the plate next with the bases jammed and crush a high fly ball to deep right centerfield that hit off the top half of the wall for a stand up double clearing the bases and driving home 3 runs for Stuarts Draft. Zach Roberts came up next and walked but the D-Backs ended up stranding both he and Owens as Hass struck out at the plate to end the inning with the score now 8-6.
Stuarts Draft would have a chance in the bottom of the 9th as Doug Pollock reached on a fly ball that was dropped by the second baseman but he would be left stranded as Owens was retired on strikes to end the game.
For Broadway Jett Shue and Caleb Taylor highlighted the night. Shue went 6.1 IP giving up 4 runs, 3 earned, and struck out 6 in the win on the mound. Taylor was the force at the plate for the Bruins as he had 4 RBI and 2 homeruns.
On the flip side Stuarts Draft struggled with runners on base as the D-Backs left 12 runners on base including twice where the bases were left loaded with no runs scored in the inning. Will Mullins takes the loss for the D-Backs as he gave up 6 earned runs over 4 innings of work.
Game 4 will take place at Broadway High School on Wednesday August 4 as Stuarts Draft still leads the series 2-1 and has a chance to punch their ticket into the championship series against New Market who locked up their championship berth with a sweep of the Bridgewater Reds.
By Dean Barker
Up 14-8 in the bottom of the ninth, the New Market Shockers managed to barely hold on 14-13 at the Bridgewater Reds to win game two of the RCBL semifinals. With the win, the 19-6 Shockers are one win away from going back to the championship, while the 8-17 Reds are one loss away from elimination.
Ethan Laird picked up the win to move to 2-1, giving up four runs (one earned) in two and two thirds innings. Derek Shifflett pitched the complete game and had nine strikeouts, but took the loss after giving up fourteen runs (eleven earned) on seventeen hits to fall to 5-4.
Shockers head coach Nolan Potts, who started the game at first base, said Shifflett was easier to hit off of after seeing him so many times.
“Derek’s a great pitcher, everybody knows that,” Potts said. “When you see a pitcher enough, you’re gonna start putting better swings, and I think as the game went on, our swings got better.”
Frankie Ritter led off the game with a double over right fielder and manager Robert Sherfey’s head, followed up by an RBI single from Pearce Bucher. Luke Estep would reach on a fielder’s choice at second, and scored on a double to right from Ty Bennett.
Shifflett led off the bottom half with a walk, and Brett Tharp reached first with a bunt single to Prosperi. Corbin Lucas drove in one with a double to left, and Noah Cornwell walked to load the bases for Grey Sherfey. Sherfey grounded into a double play, but Tharp managed to score and tie the game at two.
Calvin Pastel led off the second with a single, and moved to second on a sacrifice from Brayden Hovatter. Henry Delavergne moved him to third with a grounder, and Ritter drove him home with a double to right to give New Market a 3-2 lead.
Shifflett singled over Hovatter’s head at second to start the bottom of the third, and reached second on a sacrifice groundout from Tharp. With two outs, Shifflett went to third and scored on two passed balls in a walk to Cornwell, tying the score at three.
Pastel singled to start the fourth, and Hovatter and Delavergne walked to load the bases. However, the Shockers would waste this opportunity. Ritter’s grounder to Antonio Florentino-Sosa resulted in Pastel being out at home, Shifflett struck out Bucher, and Estep grounded out to second to end the inning with the 3-3 tie intact.
With two outs in the bottom half, the Reds would load the bases, but Lucas couldn’t bring anybody in, as he would ground out to third.
A sharp grounder from Bennett bounced off Sosa’s glove into left to start the fifth, followed by a walk to Matt House. Luke Keister would ground into a fielder’s choice at second, but would reach second on a wild throw from Logan Phelps at second, which allowed Bennett to score. Keister would move to third on a wild pitch, but was thrown out trying to take home on a second wild pitch, ending the inning with a 4-3 lead.
Cornwell led off the bottom half with a double to right. Sherfey bunted to the catcher Bennett, but the throw to first hit him in the back, allowing Sherfey to reach second and Cornwell to score the tying run. Hunter Miller would drive him in with a ground rule double to right to give the Reds their first lead of the game at 5-4.
A walk to Hovatter, a single from Delavergne, and a safe bunt from Ritter loaded the bases for a grand slam from Bucher. Bennett would add a solo shot to center, pushing the lead to 9-5.
With two outs and two on in the bottom half, Sherfey would hit a weak grounder in front of Bennett that looked to be the third out. However, the throw to first was too high, allowing both Shifflett and Cornwell to score, and Sherfey to reach second. Messick came in to strike out Miller to keep the score 9-7 Shockers.
Delavergne led off the seventh with a solo shot to left. Bucher would single and Estep would walk. After a double steal, Bennett would drive in Bucher with a sacrifice fly, pushing the deficit back to four at 11-7.
Tharp doubled to left in the bottom of the eighth, and reached third on a sacrifice fly from Lucas. With Cornwell batting, Tharp stole home after strike one to cut the lead to 11-8.
House drove in Burcher in the ninth with an RBI single, and after a rundown throw got away, Estep would score as well, making way for House to go to third. Luke Keister plated him with a single in what proved to be the game-winner, giving the Shockers a 14-8 advantage.
Sherfey hit a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the ninth for Bridgewater. Sosa would single, Chris’s Huffman would reach on an error, and Phelps walked to load the bases. Shifflett would ground into a fielder’s choice at second, but the throw to first was wild, allowing two runs to score and Shifflett to reach second. Tharp would single to left to cut the lead to two, and then steal second. Lucas’s fly ball to left was dropped by House, allowing Tharp to come home and put the winning run at the plate. Cornwell walked, and stole second to put two runners in scoring position for Sherfey. With a 1-1 count, a grounder to Hovatter’s left looked like it was a Reds walkoff, but a diving stop and throw to first allowed the Shockers to escape with the win.
Potts thought they had lost when he saw the ball off the bat.
“I thought off the bat there at the end, Grey’s ball’s getting through,” Potts said. “I said ‘This game’s over, we lost,’ and I see Brayden dive out of nowhere, and kind of avenge the error he made earlier in the inning, and oh… it’s huge.”
The Shockers stranded eleven, and four errors made way for seven unearned runs. The Reds left ten runners on, and two errors accounted for three unearned runs.
Bucher led the Shockers, going 3-6 with five RBIs and three runs scored. Bennett went 4-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Estep went 0-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Ritter went 3-6 with an RBI and a run scored. Delavergne was 2-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. Pastel went 3-5 with a run scored. The Shockers collected seventeen hits.
Tharp went 3-3 with an RBI and three runs scored. Sherfey went 2-6 with an RBI and two runs scored. Shifflet went 1-3 with an RBI and four runs scored. Lucas was 1-6 with an RBI. Cornwell was 1-2 with two runs. The Reds had twelve hits.
The Shockers will try to clinch a spot in the RCBL Finals tomorrow when they host the Reds at 7:30 pm at Rebel Park. To beat the eighteen-time champs, Potts says the Shockers will need to clean up defensively.
“Bridgewater’s been the cream of the crop in this league… as long as I’ve been here. They’ve always been competing for championships, so they’re gonna come ready to play,” Potts said. “The defense has to get better, or else we’re gonna do ourselves some harm.”
By Dean Barker
In a pitcher’s duel turned slugfest, the New Market Shockers pulled past the Bridgewater Reds 9-7 in game one of the RCBL Semifinals at Rebel Field on Saturday, July 31. With the win, the Shockers improved to 18-6 on the season and took a 1-0 lead in the series, while the Reds fell to 8-16 and went down 0-1.
Kirk Messick picked up the win to improve to 6-0, striking out three with no runs, no hits and just one walk in two and a third innings. In the second inning, Messick received the RCBL Pitcher of the Year award. Messick, who is also an assistant coach, business owner, and father of three, credited his success to his “very understanding wife.”
“I think that’s been my biggest key, is her being willing to let me do this still,” Messick said.
Messick relieved Joel Smith, who gave up seven runs (one earned) with ten hits and eleven strikeouts to get the no-decision.
Nick Griffin took the loss to fall to 0-3, giving up three runs (two earned) on four hits in two innings. He relieved Pablo Suarez, who gave up six runs (two earned) in six innings on seven hits with nine strikeouts.
Grey Sherfey looped a single to center field with one out in the top of the second, and Noah Cornwell followed up with a ground rule double to left center. However, Sherfey was caught in a rundown on a grounder from Matthew Wine to Smith, and Suarez flew out to end the inning.
Calvin Pastel singled in the bottom half, and Brayden Hovatter would reach on an error from the third baseman Antonio Florentino-Sosa. Pastel would reach third on the error, and came home on a wild pitch from Suarez to Ethan Laird, who would strike out. Luke Keister was hit with two outs, and he and Hovatter advanced 90 feet on a wild pitch, but Pearce Bucher struck out to end the inning with a 1-0 Shocker lead.
Luke Estep singled to lead off the bottom of the third, and he reached third on an error from shortstop Griffin, which also allowed Ty Bennett to reach first. Following this sequence of events, Reds head coach Robert Sherfey had Sosa and Griffin switch positions. Suarez struck out the next three batters to escape the jam.
Corbin Lucas led off the sixth with a standup double to center field. Sosa moved him to third with a single up the middle. Hunter Miller struck out swinging, but Sherfey would reach on an error from third baseman Kaden Spaid to load the bases. Cornwell would walk to tie the game at 1. Smith struck out Wine and Suarez to end the inning.
With two on in the bottom half, a grounder to the shortstop Sosa was bobbled, allowing Spaid to score. Laird struck out, but after Keister was hit to load the bases, a wild pitch to Bucher allowed Pastel to score. After a walk to Bucher, Estep would drive in three with a single to center to make it 6-1 New Market. Suarez made a diving stop on a grounder from Bennett to end the inning.
With one out in the top of the seventh, Griffin reached second on a throwing error from shortstop Matt House. Lucas drove him home with a double to center, and Sosa reached second on a throwing error from Spaid, also plating Lucas. Miller followed up with a double to deep center field to cut the lead to 6-4. Sherfey and Cornwell were walked to load the bases, and Wine would drive in one with a single to right. Suarez struck out, but Brett Tharp ripped a liner to right field to drive in two and give the Reds a 7-6 lead. Shockers head coach Nolan Potts decided to replace Smith with Messick, who struck out Griffin to stop the bleeding.
Griffin switched to the mound in the bottom half. House led off with a single to right. Spaid moved him to second with a groundout to the pitcher. Pastel reached second on a wild throw from Wine at second, allowing House to score. Hovatter would single to center to take back the Shocker lead at 8-7.
With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Bennett reached with a single to left field. House would drive him in with a double to center field, and would reach third on an error from the catcher Tharp. Spaid would strike out to end the inning with a 9-7 lead.
Cornwell flew out to right to lead off the ninth. Nathan Brooks struck out, and Suarez grounded out to first to end the game.
The Reds left eleven runners on base, and had six errors which led to five unearned runs. The Shockers left nine runners on base, and had four errors leading to six unearned runs.
Estep went 1-4 with three RBIs. House was 3-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Hovatter went 1-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Pastel went 2-4 with three runs scored. New Market had eleven hits on the evening.
Tharp went 1-5 with two RBIs. Lucas went 2-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. Cornwell went 2-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Miller went 1-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Wine was 1-4 with an RBI. The Reds had ten hits.
Messick, who rarely comes in relief, says he didn’t try to do anything different.
“I just got into the mentality that I normally had as a younger guy, ‘Just gotta go in there and do my job’,” Messick said. “I’ve started all year, I haven’t really had to come into relief except for one time, and I just came in and threw strikes like I always do.”
Bridgewater will hope to even the series tonight at 6:30 pm when they host New Market at Ray Heatwole Field for game two.
By Leyton Pullin
The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks opened up their second round series with the Broadway Bruins in an excitement filled game that ended up in their favor 7-6 in 10 innings and ended on a Grayson Bush walk off single.
Broadway broke the scoring open right out of the gate as Justin Lohr led the game off with a single and later scored as Caleb Taylor singled to put the Bruins on top 1-0 before the D-Backs got to the plate.
Stuarts Draft bounced back in the bottom half of the 1st as Zach Roberts led of with a double. Will Hass came to the plate next and lifted a ball to left center field that Trent Abernathy tracked to the wall but could not leap high enough as it got out of the park for a 2-run home run and put Stuarts Draft in front 2-1.
Stuarts Draft added 3 more in the 2nd inning as Grayson Bush, Calen Owens and Jack Pausic all had RBI base knocks to stretch the lead to 5-1.
The Bruins started to crawl back in the top of the 3rd inning as Trevor Vernon plunked Justin Lohr to start the inning. Trevor Thomas followed later in the inning and singled to put corners on the bases with one out. Next to the plate was Taylor who delivered again with a RBI double to score Lohr. Devon Neal came up next and grounded out to Roberts but still allowed Thomas to score and make it a 5-3 game.
Vernon cruised through the top of the 5th striking out the first two hitter he faced in the inning. That was when the trouble would start for Vernon as the next three batters reached and loaded the bases with two outs. Ben Hutcheson came up next and worked a full count walk to force Taylor across for the first run of the inning. Ben Reid came up next and also walked allowing Neal to score and tie the game at 5-5. That would signal the end of Vernon’s night as Liam Kehoe would come in to record the final out of the inning.
Stuarts Draft would break the tie in the bottom of the 7th as Broadway went to the bullpen and Trent Abernathy went to the hill. Hass would work a walk with one out in the inning. After a Pausic fly out for the second out Cody Bartley came to the plate and ripped a ball to the opposite field that slowly made its way to the wall allowing for Hass to round third and head for the plate and just beat out the throw from Lohr in right field to put the D-Backs on top 6-5.
The Bruins tried to respond in the top of the 8th as they loaded the base up with two outs all on walks. The Bruins would leave the bases jammed however as Jayden Nixon flew out to right field to end the inning.
Stuarts Draft went to Chandis Goff in the 9th to try and close it out, however Broadway had other ideas. Hutcheson came to the plate to lead off the inning and drove a liner right back where it came from for a single. Reid came up next and chopped one up the middle that got away from Roberts at second to put two on. Isaac Vandemeter would line out to Pausic for the first out in the inning. Next up came Lohr who drew a four pitch walk to load the bases for Abernathy. That would signal the end for Goff and Cody Bartley would get the call to try and close the came out for the D-Backs. Bartley would strike out Abernathy after a lengthy at bat and bring Trevor Thomas to the plate. The second pitch to Thomas bounced away from WIlcher behind the plate allowing Hutcheson to come home and score unearned to tie the game at 6-6.
The D-Backs would get two on base with back-to-back walks by Roberts and Hass before Abernathy recovered and struck out Pausic and got Bartley to ground into a fielders choice to send the game into the extra frame.
The Bruins were retired in order in the top half of the 10th. Stuarts Draft saw their first two hitters of the inning Bob Funk and Tyler Wilcher retired on strikes before Doug Pollack put a ball in play to the left side of the infield and beat out the throw to first to reach safely with an infield hit. Grayson Bush came to the plate next looking to extend or even end the game. Bush get behind in the count 0-2 to Abernathy and then the next pitch Pollack took off for second and stole the bag putting himself in scoring position. The next pitch Bush lined a ball to right field just over the head of the second baseman that would roll all the way to the wall allowing Pollack to score easily and walk it off for the D-Backs.
Cody Bartley picks up the win on the mound for Stuarts Draft in an outing that was not originally planned according to manager Les Sandridge. “We had to burn through some pitching tonight we had not planned on,” said Sandridge. Offensively for the D-Backs Will Hass and Grayson Bush each had 2 RBIs.
Trent Abernathy takes the loss for the Bruins after giving up 2 earned runs despite striking out 9 in four innings of work. AT the plate for the Bruins Caleb Taylor went 2 for 3 with 2 RBIs leading the offensive attack for Chip Abernathy and company.
Game 2 will take place on Sunday August 1 at 6:30 PM at Broadway High School as Stuarts Draft leads the series 1-0.
By Leyton Pullin
The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks picked up a win in the deciding game three of the first round series against the Grottoes Cardinals 6-4 off the bats of two big pinch hit base knocks from Lucas Adam and Tyler Wilcher.
Stuarts Draft got the scoring started right away in the bottom of the 1st as Zach Roberts worked a walk off of Jacob Dansey to open the inning. Terrell Thompson came to the plate next and broke himself out of a bit of a slump at the plate with a deep fly to left for a 2-run home run to put the D-backs on top 2-0.
Grottoes would not strike back until the 3rd inning as Noah Burtner broke up the no-hitter that Parker Heinemann had worked up until that point. Burtner would be put out in a fielder's choice to put Dalton Nicely aboard. Boogie Saunders came up next and showed off his speed working an infield single. Dylan Nicely came up later in the inning and struck a ball well for a 2 RBI single to score Dalton Nicely and Saunders to tie the game 2-2.
Right away in the bottom half of the 3rd Stuarts Draft responded with back-to-back walks to put Roberts and Thompson on the base paths with no outs. Jack Pausic came up later in the inning and flew out deep to Jacob Zoller in right field which allowed Roberts to tag and score to put the D-backs ahead 3-2.
Both pitching staffs shut down hitters from that point until the top of the 8th as the D-backs went to the bullpen for the first time all night to Chandis Goff. Goff retired the first two hitters he faced before Zoller worked a walk and Jacob Merica singled before David Wood also ended a cold streak as he doubled off of the wall bringing both runners into score putting the Cardinals ahead 4-3.
The D-Backs bounced right back as Lucas Adam pinch hit and ground rule doubled signaling the end of the night for Ty Lam who had not given up a hit in 3 innings of relief up to that point. Tyler Wilcher came up next and crushed a line drive off of the wall to drive in Adam and tie the game. Roberts came up later in the inning with two on and knocked both in with a 2 RBI double to right field to put the D-Backs in front 6-4 headed to the 9th.
Goff came back out in the 9th and retired the Cardinals in order to seal the victory and the series win for Stuarts Draft.
Goff also picks up the win for Les Sandridge and company as they move on to the second round for a match-up with the Broadway Bruins starting Saturday night at the Diamond Club at 7:30.
“Huge, it makes all the difference in the world. Otherwise we go into the next series down after having to burn through guys,” said Manager Les Sandridge on the long start he got out of Heinemann, who went 7 innings and only gave up 2 runs after primarily coming out of the bullpen all year long.
Sandridge also played a bit of a chess match in the 8th inning as he brought in Lucas Adam and Tyler Wilcher off the bench and both delivered key hits for the D-backs. “We weren’t hitting the ball like we would’ve liked to,” said Sandridge.
Once again the D-backs advance and will play the defending champions the Broadway Bruins in a five game series starting on Saturday July 31 at 7:30 in Stuarts Draft.
By Dean BarkerAfter going down 5-2 in the fifth, the #5 Broadway Bruins scored six unanswered runs to beat the #4 Montezuma Braves 8-5 and sweep the RCBL Quarterfinals 2-0 on Wednesday, July 28. The Bruins improved their record to 12-11, while the Braves concluded their season at 12-11. After losing the regular season series 2-1, Broadway took the complete 2021 series with Montezuma 3-2.
Jett Shue picked up the win with four shutout innings and nine strikeouts to move to 1-2. Jordan Yankey pitched five innings for Broadway, giving up five runs (four earned) with nine hits and striking out two to get the no-decision.
Taran Baker took the loss to end his season at 1-0, giving up three runs (two earned) in two and a third innings. Lance Tate went five innings and gave up five runs (three earned) with four hits and two strikeouts for a no-decision, completing his All-RCBL season with a 3-0 record.
With two outs in the first, Hunter Clever would double to left field. Yankey would strike out PJ Hanisak, but on the dropped third strike, Chris Taylor’s throw to Devon Neal would go into right field and allow Clever to score.
Justin Lohr would reach on an error from Gavin Rush in the bottom half, and Caleb Taylor would drive him home on a sacrifice fly to right to tie the game at one.
Rush would lead off the second with a single, and came home on a two-out single from JT Stevenson to reclaim the Montezuma lead at 2-1. With two outs in the third, Owen Marshall would rip a two run double to push it to 4-1.
Tate took a no-hitter into the fourth inning, when Taylor led off with a single to center. Neal would walk, and Bryce Turner would drive in Neal with an RBI single. The Bruins would strand two, as Jaydon Nixon grounded out to shortstop Isaiah Blanks to end the threat at 4-2.
Grant Thomas responded with a solo shot to right field to increase the lead to 5-2 in the top of the fifth. Taylor answered with a two run shot to left to cut the deficit to one. With two outs and the bases loaded, a grounder from Ben Hutcheson was bobbled by second baseman Thomas to make the score 5-5. Tate got Nixon to fly out to center to escape the jam.
In the bottom of the sixth, Taran Baker would take over for the Braves on the mound. Abernathy would reach with a single, and Trevor Thomas would rip an RBI double to left field to plate him and give the Bruins a 6-5 lead.
With two runners on and one out in the bottom of the seventh, Nixon ripped a double to plate Neal. Turner would be thrown out trying to take home, keeping the score 7-5 Bruins.
With two on and one out in the bottom of the eighth, Landon Stuhlmiller would strike out, and be thrown out on a dropped third strike. Clever tried to pick off Thomas at third, but the throw hit him, and would bounce away and allow Thomas to make the score 8-5.
Kyle Armstrong led off the ninth with a single, and would steal second, but Shue struck out everyone else to end the game.
Montezuma left eight runners on base, and had three errors which led to three fatal unearned runs. Broadway left ten runners on base, and had two errors which accounted for one unearned run.
Taylor went 2-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored. Thomas was 1-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. Nixon went 1-4 with an RBI. Turner went 1-2 with an RBI, and Hutcheson had one RBI. Abernathy was 2-4 with a run scored. The Bruins had seven hits on the evening.
Marshall went 2-2 with two RBIs. Stevenson was 2-4 with one RBI. Thomas went 2-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Hanisak had one RBI. Rush went 2-4 with two runs scored. The Braves had ten total hits.
Despite the early exit, Braves head coach Chris Rush said there were still positive takeaways from his club’s 2021 season.
“We’re building something here. I told all these guys this year, it’s one of the best groups of guys I’ve had,” Rush said. “We’ve had some good teams in the past, but these guys played for each other, they didn’t just play for themselves, and as a coach, that’s what you want.”
Clever, who won Rookie of the Year this season, said this season was a learning experience for him.
“I’ve been blessed with this opportunity this year, and (I) definitely will take away the aspect of… knowing how to finish games, knowing how to have a heart, come out and compete every day, and knowing how to fight for my teammates every night,” Clever said. “This team really pushed me to be… the best player I can be, and that’s what I’m going to take away.”
Broadway will face the Bridgewater Reds in the RCBL Semifinals. The date and time of game one is to be determined. To defend their title, Neal says the Bruins must understand how good their competition will be.
“We’ve just gotta come out and pitch good, field the ball, hit the ball,” Neal said “We’re expecting a good tournament the whole way around, so we’ve gotta go into every game with the mindset of ‘We’re not playing this easy.’ We’ve gotta take everyone seriously, so we’re ready to go.”
By Leyton Pullin
The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks picked up a 14-4 win over the Grottoes Cardinals on Wednesday July 28 in a win or go home game in order to force a decisive game 3.
Stuarts Draft got right to work in the top of the 1st inning as they took advantage of a shaky start of the outing from Tyler Pullin. Zach Roberts led the game off with a single right back up the middle off of the glove of Pullin on the very first pitch he saw. Draft the proceeded to load the bases on a hit by pitch and a walk to put Thompson and Hass aboard. Jack Pausic came to the plate next and wore a pitch from Pullin to allow Roberts to score and put eh D-Backs on the board 1-0.
Grottoes struck back quickly in the bottom half of the inning as Clayton Michael stayed hot with a single with one out. Dylan Nicely came to the plate next and delivered as he has all year with an RBI ground rule double to push Michael across to tie the game at 1-1.
Stuarts Draft added more runs in the top of the 2nd with a pair of sacrifice fly outs to Boogie Saunders in center field by Roberts and Hass to bring Grayson Bush and Calen Owens in to score and take the lead 3-1.
Grottoes bounced back in the bottom of the 3rd as Saunders wore a pitch from starting pitcher Doug Pollock to reach safely for the first time all night. Michael again delivered with an RBI triple in the deepest ball park in the RCBL to push Saunders across. Later in the inning Jacob Zoller joined the hit party with a RBI single of his own to score Saunders and tie the game at 3-3.
Both pitchers straightened up as both Pullin and Pollock tossed scoreless frames in the 4th inning. However, the same could not be said about the 5th as Stuarts Draft opened the game up with a 7 spot to take a 10-3 lead. Roberts and Hass added 2 more RBIs each in the inning.
Doug Pollock’s night would finally come to an end as a lightning delay paused the game for nearly 40 minutes and he was replaced by Luke Kehoe who finished the bottom of the 6th for the D-Backs.
Stuarts Draft added another run in the 7th as they loaded the bases on a walk, hit by pitch and a Thompson single before Jack Pausic walked with those bases loaded to score Lucas Adam and stretch the lead to 11-3.
The D-Backs added 3 more runs in the top of the 8th as they again loaded the bases before Adam hit a base clearing triple to knock in Tyler Wilcher, Bush and Owens to push the lead to 14-3 and put Grottoes back against the ball due to the run rule.
Grottoes started the bottom of the 8th with Clayton Michael reaching on a hit by pitch. Jacob Zoller attempted to keep the inning alive as he doubled to score Michael. The next two hitters Moyer and Lutz to close the game out due to the 10-run rule.
Stuarts Draft picks up the win 14-4. Doug Pollock gets the win after going 5.2 IP and allowed 3 earned runs off of 4 hits and 4 punchouts. Tyler Pullin took the loss for Grottoes after 4.0+ IP and allowing 5 earned runs. For Stuarts Draft Will Hass and Zach Roberts each picked up 3 RBI. Jack Pausic also added 2 RBI.
Manager Les Sandridge said the key to the win was the pitching. Doug Pollock did not surrender a walk in his start and Luke Kehoe only allowed one in his relief effort to keep the “freebies” off the bases.
Game 3 will take place at the Diamond Club in Stuarts Draft on Thursday July 29 at 7:30 PM in a win or go home scenario for both clubs. “We just need to be patient at the plate,” said Sandridge when talking about what would be the keys for the elimination game on Thursday.
By Dean Barker
The #5 Broadway Bruins soundly defeated the #4 Montezuma Braves 13-5 in game one of the RCBL Quarterfinals on Tuesday, June 27 at Ruritan Field. The defending champion Bruins are one win away from going back to the semifinals, while the Braves will have to bounce back with two in a row to advance.
In his RCBL Playoff debut, Jacob Bell got the complete game win to move to 3-0, giving up two earned runs and nine hits with fourteen strikeouts. Hunter Clever took the loss to fall to 0-1, giving up seven runs on six hits in three innings. Clever went 2-4 with three RBIs and a run scored. Donald Seekford relieved him, giving up six runs on seven hits in four innings.
Other than a leadoff ground rule double from Kyle Armstrong, Bell was perfect through the first three innings. This would allow the Bruins to take the lead in the second and never look back. Devon Neal drove in Jett Shue with a single to center field. Bryce Turner came home on a wild pitch, and Trent Abernathy drove in Justin Lohr and Ben Hutcheson with an RBI single to make it 4-0 Broadway.
In the fourth, a double from Caleb Taylor would plate one, followed by RBI singles from Shue and Neal. Turner would reach first on an error from shortstop Isaiah Blanks, which also allowed Shue to score and make the deficit 8-0. In the bottom half, Blanks would reach first on an error from third baseman Jaydon Nixon, and then scored on a two-run homer from Clever. Tyler Smith would single, and Gavin Rush would drive him in with a two out RBI double to cut the lead to 8-3.
Nixon would make up for his error with an RBI single in the sixth. Lohr would then reach on an error from Blanks, which allowed Turner to score. Abernathy hit a sacrifice fly to left field to bring Nixon home, and a single from Trevor Thomas would make the score 12-3.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Neal and Turner would walk. Hutcheson came through with an RBI single to push the lead to 13-3. Bell would strike out the side in the bottom half. Had it been the regular season, the mercy rule would have ended the game at this point.
Clever would drive in Armstrong with a single in the bottom of the eighth, and JT Stevenson brought in Owen Marshall with a two-out RBI single in the ninth, but Bell would strike out Armstrong to end the game.
The Bruins left twelve runners on base, and had two errors, leading to three unearned runs. The Braves stranded five and had four errors, resulting in two unearned runs.
Abernathy was 1-4 with three RBIs and one run scored. Neal went 3-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Shue went 2-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Taylor went 2-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Lohr was 1-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Broadway collected 13 hits.
Clever was 2-4 with three RBIs and a run scored. Rush went 2-4 with an RBI. Stevenson was 1-4 with an RBI. Armstrong was 2-5 with a run scored. Montezuma had nine hits.
Bell said he would not have been able to pitch as well if he did not have the bats working behind him.
“Probably one of the biggest keys to the game, they (Broadway) put up all the runs,” Bell said. “(It) gives me a lot of confidence to go out there. I don’t have to pitch around people, I can go right at them, and I can give up a couple of runs here and there, but it gives me a huge confidence boost. They did a great job tonight.”
The Bruins will host the Braves tonight, July 28, at Broadway High School for game two at 7:30 pm. Should the Braves win game two, they would host a decisive game three on Thursday, July 29 at Ruritan Field at 7:30 pm.
By Leyton Pullin
The Grottoes Cardinals picked up a win in game one of their first round series against the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks 5-4 off the back of starter Adam Dofflemeyer who tossed 8 innings and only allowed 2 runs for the Cardinals.
Grottoes got on the board first in the top of the 3rd inning as David Wood reached on an error by the short stop Grayson Bush that bounced over the head of Jack Pausic at first base. Dalton Nicely came to the plate next and also reached on an error to put two on and no outs. Clayton Michael added a single later in the inning to jam the bases full of Cardinals. Dylan Nicely came to the plate next and delivered as he did all regular season long with a RBI single to score Wood and put the Cardinals in front 1-0.
The Cardinals added another run in the 6th as Dylan Nicely singled to lead the inning off. Jacob Merica came to the plate later in the inning and singled driving Nicely in to score after some assistance from a wild pith earlier in the at bat. Grottoes stretched their lead to 2-0.
In the top of the 8th Stuarts Draft would go to the bullpen and go to their set up man Parker Heinemann. Michael opened the inning up with a double to the right field wall. Dylan Nicely came up next and reached as his ground ball was mishandled at third base. Jacob Zoller came up next and singled to right center which allowed Michael to score easily but as the D-Backs made the throw home catcher Chaz Harvey collided with the home plate umpire allowing for the ball to get away and roll to the back stop. Dylan Nicely then took advantage of the miscue and came home to score as well on the play to stretch the Grottoes lead to 4-0.
Stuarts Draft responded in the bottom half of the inning as Cody Bartley hit a 2 Run home run to cut the lead in half to 4-2.
Grottoes came to the plate in the 9th leading by a pair and face Chandis Goff as Stuarts Draft went to the bullpen. Goff retired the first two hitters he faced before walking Boogie Saunders. Michael came up next and delivered some extra insurance as he doubled yet again this time scoring Saunders and extending the Cardinals lead to 5-2.
Grottoes went to Michael in the bottom of the 9th trying to close the game out however it turned out to not be that simple. Tyler Wilcher worked a full count before ripping a double down the left field line to lead off the inning. Bush came up next and was retired on strikes to put one down. Calen Owens followed and laid down a bunt that was fielded by Nicely just in front of the mound but no play could be made allowing runners to reach the corners with only one out. Zach Roberts came up next and delivered with a RBI single to score Wilcher and put the tying run at the plate. Terrell Thompson came up next and drew a walk but as he watched the fourth ball it got away from Nicely allowing Owens to sneak home and score to put the tying run now only 90 feet away at third as Roberts also moved up on the play. Jack Pausic came up next and hit a ground ball to third base with the infield in for Grottoes. Dalton Nicely fielded it and made the heads up play to throw it to home to try and catch the lead runner Roberts. Roberts got caught in a run down and was tagged out by Nicely halfway down the baseline for the second out. Cody Bartley cam to the plate next looking to duplicate what he had done earlier in the night. Michael called for time on the mound and discussed strategy with Nicely as to how to attack Bartley. Nicely said he also gave the young pitcher a few words of encouragement, “ We weren’t going to change anything, he was going to stick with his stuff,” said Nicely. A few pitches later Bartley hit a well struck ball to left field however Merica slid over to make the catch and solidify the game one win for the Cardinals.
Grottoes picks up the win off of a superb outing from Adam Dofflemeyer who threw 8 innings and struck out 8 while only giving up 2 runs. “We had been building for that all year. He’s a reliver in college and hopefully will be a starter next year,” said Manager Tim Nicely. Dofflemeyer picks up the win and Clayton Michael picks up the save but provided some offense as well for the Cardinals as he went 3 for 5 at the plate with an RBI. Dylan Nicely also added a 2 for 5 night with an RBI and 2 runs scored for the Cardinals.
Game 2 will take place on Wednesday July 28 at Shifflett Field in Grottoes at 7:30 PM as the Cardinals look to complete the series sweep with a win and advance to the second round.
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