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By Leyton Pullin
The Montezuma Braves prevailed over the Bridgewater Reds 2-1 in comeback fashion lead by a Tyler Smith 2-run homerun in the eighth.
Both starting pitchers started off superb as Hunter Clever for Montezuma threw five innings with out a hit and only gave up one run and two hits all together in his 6 total innings. The on;y run Clever gave up came in the 3rd inning as Dylan Horne reached with a leadoff walk. Grey Sherfey would also reach on an overthrow by Isiah Blanks to put runners at 2nd and third base. Brett Tharpe would try to lay down a squeeze bunt but would get put out at first and not allow the run to score. Derek Shifflett would follow Tharpe and hit a groundball to Blanks once more with the infield in. Blanks would come up with it but held on to the ball and did not throw it to the plate allowing Horne to score and put Montezuma up 1-0.
In the top of the 4th Montezuma had a chance to strike back as PJ Hanisak would single followed by a Logan Jones single that would move Hanisak up to third base. However, Forrest Shuey would be called out on strikes to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 4th inning Bridgewater had a chance as Logan Phelps drove a ball to center field and looked to have Armstrong burned but he made a spectacular diving catch to rob an extra base hit from Phelps and kept the no hitter alive.
Grey Sherfey came to the plate for th Reds in the 5th inning and broke up the no hitter with a single to right field. He would later be stranded at 2nd base after a stolen base.
The Reds had another chance in the 6th as logan Phelps would single with two outs and would advance to third on two wild pitches. However, he would also be stranded on third base after the third out.
In the top of the 8th Manager Chris Rush would make the decision to pinch hit Tyler Smith for JT Stevenson after Stevenson had bunted all three at bats prior. Smith dug in with a runner on first as Armstrong led the inning off with a walk. The 100th pitch of the night for Pablo Suarez would end up over the left field wall as Tyler Smith hit a 2-run homerun to put Montezuma on top 2-1.
The Braves would call on their reliable closer Keegan Oliver in the 9th and he would strike out the side to get the save and clinch the win for the Braves.
Montezuma (3-1) picks up the win off of some superb pitching performances. Brayden Collier gets the win (1-0) after coming in for Clever in the 7th and did not allow a run and only gave up one hit. Keegan Oliver got the save (2). The Braves will host the New Market Shockers (5-2) on Wednesday June 23 at 7:30PM in a clash of two teams at the top of the RCBL standings.
Bridgewater (1-7) saw an outstanding start from Pablo Suarez and saw one bad pitch cost them the game. Suarez (1-1) went 8 innings and struck out 7 and only gave up 6 hits but still takes the loss. Bridgewater will host the Clover Hill Bucks (3-3) in a matchup of two long time rivals.
By Olivia Carson
With 18 years of playing/coaching for Rockingham County Baseball, pitcher and assistant coach for the New Market Shockers, Kirk Messick, has a desire to become the oldest player in the league.
As he grew up in the area and played baseball for Broadway High School, Messick has always been a big fan of the Broadway Bruins. Messick cherishes memories of his dad taking him to games and getting to watch his high school junior varsity coach, Neil Clatterbuck, play for the league.
Messick started his career with RCBL during his sophomore year of high school when he was only 15 years old and was asked to play for the Bruins as a pitcher. He explained that it was fairly unusual for a kid that young to be playing in the league as he did back then. Gradually over the years, the league has gotten younger and more experienced as it is now.
Looking back at when he first started with the Bruins, Messick believes that RCBL has grown and changed a tremendous amount. He described his old teammates and friends in the league as “the good ole boys” who were mostly older local gentlemen who would work a 9-5 job, return home, eat dinner with their families and then drive out to the field to play baseball during the week.
As younger generations started to play for RCBL, Messick thinks that they brought a lot of talent and were able to help create more of a family friendly atmosphere within the league.
“[the good ole boys] knew each other so well so there was a different type of passion. Sometimes that passion would get the best of players and [would lead] to different altercations. With the dynamic of the league changing to a younger generation who only play for a few years, the relationships are different amongst the players as opposed to the past,” says Messick.
With that being said, Messick agrees that these changes are for the better and that he has thoroughly enjoyed watching RCBL grow into what it is today. Another wonderful aspect of his time with the league has been his ability to meet so many people and build long lasting relationships.
When asked what is keeping him motivated to continue playing baseball after all of these years Messick responded with:
“I think one is I just thoroughly love the game [and] love to play it...at this point in my life having my son now at the age to where he’s starting to play and now that this year he’s our bat boy...I’m more proud this year of him being apart of the team and showing the same passion that I have [for baseball].”
Messick played 6 years with the Broadway Bruins and decided to take a 2 year break from the league during his undergrad after he transferred from Lynchburg College to Bridgewater College. He then got asked to help Chris Rush coach the New Market Shockers and from there he started playing again. Now Messick assists Nolan Potts with coaching the Shockers while standing in as a pitcher as well.
His transition from being a player to being a coach was easy because he still plays and has a good relationship with everyone on the team.
“It wasn't really a major transition because I’ve never really been just like a coach and not a player yet, it's just my role as a player has lessened a lot and I’m okay with that,” says Messick. He doesn't mind not playing as much as long as his team is doing good and winning games. “Sometimes it’s fun to go out there...and show those young guys that the old guy on the team can still get the job done and can teach them a few things.”
Currently, Messick is also finishing up graduate school to obtain a degree in Sports Administration and is interning with the RCBL media staff. Messick has a dream to one day become a public relations director for a professional baseball team, but first he wants to compete with Kevin Rush and some of the other older players/coaches to be the oldest player in the RCBL.
Messick does not plan to continue coaching for much longer because his true passion for the sport really lies within being an actual player on the field. “If I ever did any other coaching it would probably be for my son’s team,” he says with hopes that his son will follow in his footsteps.
By Olivia Carson
The New Market Shockers took home their second win against the Bridgewater Reds this
season, finishing with a score of 3 - 2 last night at Ray Heatwole Field. New Market is now 5 -1
on the season while the Reds dropped to 1 - 6.
The Shockers were first to collect runs in the third inning when Henry Delavergne walked and
stole two bases to then later get batted in by a single from Pearce Bucher. Two more runs were
added soon after when Ty Bennett singled through the right side leaving the Shockers with a
2 - 0 lead.
Both teams made two pitching changes throughout the night. Bridgewater first, during the fourth
inning, swapped Logan Phelps for Sal Coyle who would then get relieved by Nick Griffin in the
top of the ninth.
The winning pitcher Joel Smith ended 6 innings with 3 strikeouts, allowed 2 walks and the only
two runs of the night for the Reds.
Bridgewater found home plate in the fifth inning when Grey Sherfey scored off of a hit from
Derek Shifflett and Brett Tharp followed by sneaking home off of an error from New Markets
catcher Ty Bennett.
The save pitcher of the game for the Shockers was CJ Morton who relieved Michael Prosperi in
the ninth inning and struck out three batters in a row to end the game and take the New Market
Head Coach for the Shockers, Nolan Potts has confidence in the way his team has been
performing so far this season and does not plan to make a lot of changes in hopes to further
“I think we’re focused, I think we’re hitting the ball real well. We’re getting pretty good pitching,
pretty good defense and if we can do all [four] of those then I think we can be pretty hard to
beat,” says Potts. “Like the old saying, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”
The Shockers extended their win streak to five and head back to their home field tomorrow night
June 21 to take on the Grottoes Cardinals to make-up for their game that was rained out.
Potts is aware that the Cardinals will be a tough competition for the Shockers but thinks they
won’t have a problem as long as they “stay focused and hungry,” and continue playing the way
they have been.
The Reds will play again at home on Tuesday June 22 against the Montezuma Braves for the
second time this season.
By Dean Barker
After being dealt their first loss of the season last Friday at the Grottoes Cardinals, the Broadway Bruins got back in the win column with a 5-3 victory over the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks on Sunday, June 20. With the win, the defending RCBL champion Bruins improved to 4-1, while the Diamondbacks fell to 4-3.
Dalton Benson got the win for Broadway to improve to 1-0 on the season. He went three innings, giving up a hit and two walks. Wyatt Emswiler relieved him and went an inning and two thirds, giving up all three D-Back runs. Jacob Bell finished off the remaining 4 ⅓ innings by throwing nine strikeouts and allowing no hits.
The Bruins pounced on the D-Backs in the first inning, as a two run bomb from Trevor Thomas and a two-run RBI single from Bryce Turner put Broadway up 4-0.
Stuarts Draft came alive in the top of the fifth, batting around the lineup and scoring on RBI singles from Cody Bartley, Bob Funk, and a walk to Chaz Harvey to bring in one. However, the Bruins would bring in Bell to make sure the Diamondbacks could score no more, as they would leave the bases loaded to keep the score 4-3.
“With the bases loaded, I just forget about the base runners and just pitch to contact, and trust my defense to make the right plays behind me,” Bell told RCBL’s Dean Barker.
The Diamondbacks would threaten again in the sixth, as a walk to Zach Roberts and singles from Terrel Thompson and Will Hass would load the bases with one out. Nevertheless, Bell would strike out Bartley and get Funk to fly out to first base. Bell would strike out the side in the seventh, and would have struck out the side in the eighth, were it not for a walk to Calen Owens.
Other than the shaky first inning, Stuarts Draft had a solid day on the mound. Reliever Doug Pollock would take over with one out in the third and the bases loaded, strike out the next two batters, and exit after the seventh inning. Pollock allowed no runs, one hit, one walk, and struck out five, doing all he could to set the Diamondbacks up for a comeback.
Following Pollock’s exit, the Bruins would seek some insurance in the eighth. Following a double from Caleb Taylor, who would then move to third on a dropped third strike, Broadway made it 5-3 off an RBI single from Cadlee Jarvis, pinch hitting for Landon Stuhlmiller.
The Diamondbacks were no match for Bell in the ninth, as he quickly retired Bartley, Funk, and Noah Canterbury.
Stuarts Draft shot themselves in the foot on the basepaths, leaving eleven runners on base, compared to eight from Broadway. The D-Backs had seven hits and five walks, whereas the Bruins had nine hits and three walks.
The Diamondbacks were led in defeat by Cody Bartley (1-5) and Bob Funk (2-5), who both had one RBI single. Zach Roberts went 2-3 with two walks and a run scored.
For the Bruins, Thomas went 1-4 with two RBIs from a two run homer. Turner went 1-2 with a walk and two RBIs. Jarvis went 1-2 with an RBI single. Taylor went 2-4, and Trent Abernathy went 2-3.
After taking today off, the Bruins will be back at home for a rematch against Grottoes on Tuesday, June 22 at 7:30 pm. When asked what the Bruins will need to do to avenge last week’s loss, Bell said “I think just what we did tonight, just… regroup and refocus, take it game by game, and come right after it.”
The Diamondbacks will have all week to adjust before they host last year’s RCBL runner-up in the New Market Shockers on Saturday, June 26 at 7:30 pm.
By Olivia Carson
The Shockers added on to their win streak last night after defeating the Elkton Blue Socks for
the second time this season at Stonewall Memorial Park.
Two nights in a row, Henry Delavergne started out strong for the Shockers, obtaining the first
run of the game, scoring off a Blue Sox fielding error and scoring off a single and two stolen
bases the night before against the Bucks.
Frankie Ritter followed with a single and scored later in the inning on a fielder's choice by Josh
The Blue Sox don’t respond until the bottom of the second inning when they receive two almost
back to back home runs from Cam Shields and Jeremy Kwolek, both scored with no runners on
base to tie the game.
Elkton gets close to breaking the even score in the bottom of the third when Max Rexrode
attempts to score off a hit from JJ Loker but gets caught in a pickle between third and home
plate and is unable to get past the Shockers defense.
New Market breaks the tie by gaining five runs in the fourth inning starting with Matt House
scoring off a strong single with bases loaded by Harrison Madagan. Delavergne then adds a
home run with a runner on first and third.
Frankie Ritter and Pearce Bucher followed with two back to back triples scoring Ritter to end the
inning with a 7 - 2 advantage over the Blue Sox.
Harrison Madagan would be the only runner in the following four innings, scoring off of a double
from Ritter in the sixth and again off another hit from Delavergne in the eighth.
All three of Elktons runs for the night were scored on single home runs, the third scored by
Tristan Gordon in the bottom of the eighth inning with no runners on base.
New Market extended their lead even further in the ninth inning with a hit from House, scoring
Josh Tayman and a later a triple from Nolan Potts sending House to home, ending the game
with an 11 - 3 win for the Shockers.
Both teams will play again on Sunday evening June 20 at 7:30pm. New Market will compete
against the Bridgewater Reds on Ray Heatwole field while the Blue Sox will take on the Bucks
at Buck Bowman Park.
By Leyton Pullin
The Stuarts Draft Diamond Backs defeated the Bridgewater Reds 13-5 behind 3 homeruns including two by Bob Funk
Stuarts Draft would get the scoring started in the 2nd inning with back-to-back long balls as Bob Funk and Lucas Adam homered with two away in the inning to put the D-Backs on the board 2-0.
Zach Roberts would each on an error to start the 3rd and would come in to score on a Will Hass 2 run home run to stretch the lead to 4-0.
The D-Backs added to their lead in the top of the 4th as Lucas Adam doubled and would advance around the horn to score on back-to-back wild pitches to pad the lead to 5-0.
Bridgewater battled back in the 4th with lead off walk by Noah Cornwell. Cornwell would come around to score on a Jonathan Sexton RBI double to make it a 5-1 ball game.
Stuarts Draft would also practice patience at the plate in the 6th as they turned the lineup over and put up 5 runs all off of one hit as Wyatt Dansey struggled on the mound for the Reds putting on all 5 batters he faced. Stuarts Draft stretched their lead to 10-1.
Stuarts Draft added another in the top of the 7th as Grayson Bush would reach on a walk and then be advanced around to third on a wild pitch. He would score on a sacrifice fly by Cody Bartley to stretch it out to 11-1.
Bridgewater would respond in the bottom of the 7th coming right out of the stretch with a two out rally of their own. Grey Sherfey and Brandon Lambert would walk and then score on a Cornwall 3 run homerun over the scoreboard in right field to make it a 11-4 game. Antonio Sosa followed up with a home run of his own to cut the lead down to 11-5.
The D-Backs struck back in the 8th as Funk went yard again for a 2 run home run to also score Noah Canterbury to make it a 13-5 game and end the scoring.
Stuarts Draft used the long ball to their advantage as it has been a strength of theirs all year long with 3 home runs on the night. Bob funk led the D-Backs offensively with a 2-4 night at the plate with 2 HR and 3 RBI. Trevor Mitchel gets the win for Stuarts Draft after he took over in the 5th inning for Luke Kehoe who went 4.0 IP only allowing 1 run on 3 hits during his outing. Stuarts Draft (3-2) will travel to Broadway for a 6:30 PM date with the Bruins (3-1) on Sunday June 20.
For Bridgewater they too used the long ball to their advantage but also were hurt tremendously by the 5 errors they committed on the night. Chris Huffman (0-1) took the loss despite striking out 9 in his 5 innings of work. The Reds (1-5) will host the New Market Shockers (4-1) winners of four in a row as they come to Ray Heatwole Field at 6:30 PM on Sunday June 20.
By Dean Barker
The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks jumped out early to necessitate the mercy rule for the Elkton Blue Sox, winning 15-0 Friday, June 18 at Draft Diamond Club. With the seven inning win, the Diamondbacks improved to 3-2 on the year, while the Blue Sox fell to 0-5.
Trevor Vernon picked up the win for Stuarts Draft to move to 1-0 on the season, striking out three on only two hits in 6 1/3 innings. Elliot Erkel took the loss for Elkton to move to 0-2 on the year, giving up 10 runs in three innings. Gauge Jenkins gave up five runs in 1 ⅔ innings.
The Diamondbacks scored first with a two run homer to center field by Cody Bartley in the first inning. Following a double to the center field wall by Chaz Harvey in the second, Gavin Bush added another run with a triple to make the score 3-0 Stuarts Draft.
The D-Backs managed to bat around the lineup in the bottom of the third and drive in seven runs. With three walks and a single to begin the inning, Stuarts Draft added one. A Bobby Funk flyout was too shallow to bring anyone in, but Tyler Wilcher would bring in another run with a sacrifice groundout to shortstop. Gavin Bush would drive in two with an RBI single, and Zach Roberts would clobber a three run shot to center to make the score 10-0.
Not quite satisfied with their lead, Stuarts Draft set out to get some insurance runs in the sixth. With two outs and the bases loaded, Gavin Bush dribbled an infield single to second base to drive in one. To put the nail in the coffin, Roberts hit a no-doubter grand slam over the center field wall to make it 15-0, his second homer of the night. The Diamondbacks batted around the lineup for their second time.
After a strikeout to begin the seventh, D-Backs head coach Leslie Sandridge decided to take him out and get a standing ovation. Lucas Adams would hit two batters, but would strikeout two to put the Blue Sox out of their misery.
The Blue Sox left four runners on base and had one stolen base from Jeremy Kwolek, who also had one of Elkton’s two hits. Jack Marshall went 1-2 with a single for the Blue Sox.
Roberts went 2-4 for the Diamondbacks with two homers for seven RBIs and a walk. Bush went 3-4 with four RBIs. Bartley went 1-3 with two walks and two RBIs from his homer. Tyler Wilcher went 0-2 with two walks, but he drove in one with a sacrifice grounder in the third. Canterbury went 1-2 with two walks, one of which resulted in a run in the third. Chaz Harvey went 1-2 with two walks and a double off the wall in the second.
Roberts was pleased all around with the team’s performance.
“We were just hunting fastballs early in the count, and we weren’t missing pitches today,” Roberts told RCBL’s Dean Barker. “I think the big thing for Trevor (Vernon) was throwing strikes, and I thought him and Chaz (Harvey) did really good tonight.”
The Diamondbacks will be back in action tomorrow evening in Bridgewater when they take on the Reds at 7:30 pm. The Blue Sox will seek their first win tomorrow when they host the New Market Shockers at 7:30.
Nicely lifts Cardinals past Bruins
By Leyton pullin
The Grottoes Cardinals picked up their third win in a row with a come from behind effort 10-6 over the Broadway Bruins on Friday June 18.
The Cardinals hopped on the board first in the bottom half of the 1st inning as Dylan Nicely would go yard with a solo home run to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.
Grottoes padded on to their lead in the 3rd as Boogie Saunders would steal third and then score on a Keegan Woolford ground out to make the lead 2-0. Later in the inning Dylan Nicely would score on a wild pitch to extend the Grottoes lead to 3-0.
Broadway’s offense went to work in the top of the 4th putting two runs across on back-to-back RBI singles by Trent Abernathy and Bryce Turner to cut the Grottoes lead to 3-2.
The Cardinals extended their lead in the 5th as Saunders was hit by a pitch and then stole two more bases and scored as Jacob Zoller reached on an error.
Broadway would load the bases on a pair of walks and a single in the top of the 7th against Noah Burtner in relief as a run would walk in to make the score 4-3. Andrew Baugher would come in and strike out Devon Neal for the first out of the inning before Natty Soloman was hit by a pitch to score Jett Shue to tie the game at 4-4.
The very next at bat Abernathy would deliver with a 2 RBI double to give the Bruins their first lead of the game 6-4.
After the stretch Clayton Michael would reach on an error and then would score on a ground out by Woolford to cut the lead to 6-5 headed to the 8th.
Grottoes would load the bases in the 8th and Dylan Nicely would deliver with a 2RBI ground rule double to put Grottoes in front 7-6. The next pitch Keegan Woolford squared up a ball for a RBI single to stretch the lead to 8-6. The next at bat Zoller would deliver on cue with an RBI single of his own to make it 9-6. Jacob Merica would keep the rally going with another RBI single to stretch the lead to 10-6 headed to the 9th.
Adam Dofflemeyer would be called upon to come in and close the gam for the Cards and the power lefty struck out the side to end the game and pick up the save.
“This team has shown a lot of grit and has continued to play no matter what the situation is,” said Grottoes manager Tim Nicely when talking about the situation his team was put in during the closing innings.
For Grottoes Andrew Baugher (1-0) picks up the win after he came in to mop up the situation during the top of the 7th and the 8th and Adam Dofflemeyer picks up the save. Boogie Saunders only recorded one at bat and technically went 0-1 at the plate but added 2 walks and 2 hit by pitches as well as 4 stolen bases. Dylan Nicely also added 3 RBI in a 3-5 effort at the plate. Tucker Garrison had a solid start for the Cardinals giving up two runs, both earned, and added 10 strikeouts. The Cardinals (3-2), winners of three in a row, will travel to New Market (3-1) on Monday June 21 at Rebel Park at 7:30.
By Leyton Pullin
The New Market Shockers extended their win streak to three on Thursday June 17 with a 9-6 win over the Clover Hill Bucks at Buck Bowman Park.
New Market got the scoring started early right out of the gate as Henry Delavergne singled to open the game with a single and then followed with two stolen bases and would trot home after the throw to try and catch him at third got away from John Siciliano to score making it 1-0 Shockers.
Pearce Boucher and Josh Tayman singled back-to-back later in the inning before Matt House would rip a single scoring Booker, 2-0 Shockers. New Market wasn’t done as Ty Bennett slapped a 2 RBI double to score Tayman and House to open the game 4-0 before Clover Hill even got to the plate.
The Bucks would answer in the 2nd inning with a Kevin Kirk single and he would then score on an Alex Nicely RBI single to chew into the lead 4-1.
The Shockers came to the plate in the 4th and looked to extend their lead with a pair of walks by Ethan Laird and Calvin Pastel and then a stolen base by each and a 2RBI single by Frankie Ritter to drive them home before he was thrown out later in the play while trying to extend his single making it 6-1 Shockers.
The Shockers would capitalize off of a Clover Hill mistake in the 6th as Luke Keister reached on a dropped third strike as the throw to first would go off target. Keister would eventually score on a fielder’s choice later in the inning to extend the lead to 7-1 for New Market.
New Market tagged on two more runs in the 8th behind a Tayman 2RBI double to score Ritter a Booker extending the lead to 9-1.
Caleb Wade started the 9th for the Shockers and retired his first two batters he faced and then gave up a double to Jackson Sherman. Wade looked to have the third out in the bag on a routine groundball to House at second base before he short armed the throw and it got away from Laird at first base allowing Nicely to reach. Sherman would come home on a Josh Eberly RBI single to make it 9-2. Drew Easter would deliver the next at bat with a 2RBI single to left field to score Nicely and Eberly to make it 9-4. Ross French kept the rally going as he dug in next and drove a ball to the center field wall for a 2RBI double that scored Elijah Grogg and Easter making the score 9-6 with the tying run sitting on deck.
Nolan Potts would make a change and brought House to the mound to redeem himself and that he did. John Siciliano would hit a groundball over to Ritter at shortstop and the Shenandoah Hornet would make the play to end the game giving the Shockers the win.
Calvin Pastel (1-1) picked up the win and Eric Yankey (0-1) would take the loss for Clover Hill.
New Market moves to 3-1 with the win for their third in a row. They continue to use a combination of aggressiveness at the plate and aggressiveness on the bases as they tallied 14 hits and 7 stolen bases as well as drawing a balk call to advance a runner on an attempted steal in the win. The Shockers will be back at it Saturday June 19 at Elkton (0-4) at 7:30.
Clover Hill drops their second straight to fall to 3-2 on the season. They had a rather uncharacteristic outing from Eric Yankey who went 5 complete innings giving up 6 runs, 5 earned, 9 hits, and 3 walks. Yankey did strike out 6 in the outing. The Bucks found success from Sam Imeson who came on in relief for Yankey and retired 6 of 7 betters he faced and did not allow a hit. The Bucks will be back in action on Sunday June 20 as the host Elkton (0-4) at The Clover Dome at 7:30.
By Dean Barker
The Grottoes Cardinals had an offensive explosion in the sixth inning to help them beat the Montezuma Braves 9-5 at Shifflet Field Thursday, June 17. With the victory, the Cardinals moved to 2-2, while Montezuma fell to 2-1. After losing their first two games, the Grottoes Cardinals have beaten two undefeated teams in a row, beating then 3-0 Clover Hill 7-1 Monday Night.
Tyler Pullin got the win for Grottoes, throwing two strikeouts and giving up two runs in five innings for the home team. Tyler Tam threw the last four innings and gave up three runs with three strikeouts. Braves starter Elijah Dunlap was tabbed with the loss, giving up two runs in the second inning. Taran Baker gave up five runs in 1 ⅔ innings pitched.
Tyler Pullin managed to escape a bases loaded jam in the top of the second for the Cardinals, which would set them up for a big inning at the plate. The Cardinals would load the bases with one out, but Jacob Zoller would be thrown out trying to score on a wild pitch. Nevertheless, Jacob Dansey would hit a bouncer past the third baseman to drive home two runs and put Grottoes up 2-0 and ultimately knock out Braves starter Elijah Dunlap.
The Cardinals almost escaped the fifth inning with a shutout, but after a wild pitch allowed Gavin Rush to move to 3rd, Dansey overthrew to first on a Kyle Armstrong grounder. Rush would come home to cut the deficit to 2-1. However, the Cardinals struck back with an RBI double from Dylan Nicely in the bottom half to make the score 3-1.
The Braves were making quick work in the bottom of the sixth, save only a single from Dansey, and a diving stop by shortstop Isiah Blanks looked like it would lead to the third out. However, with nobody covering second base, it was an infield single for Clayton Michael. Following a wild pitch from Taran Baker, Nicely ripped a two run double to put the Cardinals up by four. Given the fact that Keegan Wolford hit a monster home run on Monday night, Montezuma thought it’d be a good idea to walk him to get to Zoller. Determined to prove them wrong, Zoller hit a two run triple to right field to push the lead to 7-1.
“They’re gonna walk Keegan to get to me, that’s fine,” Zoller told RCBL’s Dean Barker. “I was feeling confident at the plate, and you know, I was just gonna take what he gave me, and he gave me a fastball outer half, and I just took it that way; drove in some runs.”
Both teams would trade runs in the seventh, with RBI singles by Blanks and Hunter Clever being matched by RBI singles by Boogie Saunders and Michael. Nicely would rip a single into left field, but Kyle Armstrong would throw out Saunders at the plate.
The Braves would try to make a comeback in the top of the ninth, as Hunter Clever would bring in one run with an RBI single. After a diving catch by Merica for the second out, Logan Jones would cause an error from Michael that would bring in another run to make the score 9-5. Forrest Shuey would be walked, bringing Wyatt Campbell to the plate as the tying run, but Lam would strike him out looking to give the Braves their first loss.
Despite leaving ten runners on base, Grottoes had their highest scoring game of the season, scoring nine runs with twelve hits. On the other hand, twelve runners left on base was the Achilles heel for the Braves, who also left the bases loaded twice. To make things worse, the Braves had six errors in the field.
Tomorrow, the Cardinals will have an opportunity to beat their third straight undefeated team as they host the defending RCBL champion Broadway Bruins at 7:30. Broadway is 3-0, but Zoller thinks the Cardinals are up to the task.
“Swing early, swing often, drive in some runs, and keep being together, and we’ll get it done,” Zoller said.
The Braves will have four nights to recuperate before they head to Bridgewater to take on the Reds on Tuesday, June 22 at 7:30.
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