The RCBL has announced nominees for its four annual awards. Over the next week, coaches will vote for the MVP, Pitcher of the Year, Coach of the year and Rookie of the Year for the 2018 season.
Clover Hill leads the way with five overall nominations, including three for Pitcher of the Year. Bridgewater and Broadway each have two nominees, while Stuarts Draft, New Market and Elkton have one nominee each.
Brian Bocock and Tyler Bocock of Bridgewater are both nominated for MVP. Brian finished the season batting .407 with five home runs and 29 RBIs. Tyler hit .423 on the year with six home runs and led the league with 36 RBIs. The cousins were the Players of the Week for the final two weeks of the regular season.
New Market’s Nick Goode is the third nominee for MVP. Goode led the league in batting average this season, hitting .465 in 21 games. Goode also led the league in on base percentage (.543) and slugging percentage (.767). The Shockers’ outfielder had 10 doubles and two triples on the season along with four home runs.
Corey Armentrout, Kevin Chandler and Eric Yankey of Clover Hill are all nominated for Pitcher of the Year. Chandler led the league with a 1.63 ERA over 38.2 innings while Armentrout was tied for the lead in wins with a record of 4-0.
Yankey was one of the most dominant relief pitchers this season, picking up two saves for the Bucks while also earning four wins. Yankey’s 0.42 ERA and 29 strikeouts over 21.1 innings earned him a nomination for Pitcher of the Year.
Joining the Bucks’ trio is Elkton newcomer Kris Lalk. Lalk finished the season with a record of 1-4 and one save, but was one of the most unhittable pitchers in the league. His 87 strikeouts tied the Pointstreak-era record set by Nolan Shaffer in 2013. Lalk’s ERA of 2.39 was in the top 10 in the league.
Chris Cofer of Clover Hill and Justin Getz of Broadway are the nominees for Coach of the Year. Cofer guided the Bucks to their second-straight pennant and improved over last season by finishing the year with a record of 23-5.
Getz put together a team of young talent in Broadway that finished the season 18-10. The Bruins vastly improved from last season and nearly matched their total of 21 wins from 2014-2017, as pointed out by the RCBL’s Nick Stevens.
One of those young players from the Bruins is Dan Fry, who is nominated for Rookie of the Year. Fry finished the season batting .316 with four home runs and 26 RBIs. Joining him on the list is Stuarts Draft’s Will Hass, who batted .341 with four home runs and 19 RBIs. Hass had a breakout three home run game against Montezuma earlier in the season.
Rounding out the nominees for Rookie of the Year is Matt Larson of Clover Hill. Playing 23 games at catcher for the Bucks, Larson batted .329 on the year with 17 RBIs. The rookie backstop also stole six bases for Clover Hill.
The nominees have been sent to the coaches for voting and winners will be announced sometime in the coming weeks.
GROTTOES- Behind a strong pitching performance from Adam Dofflemyer and big night from the bottom of the batting order, the Grottoes Cardinals became the first team to advance to the semi-finals of the 2018 RCBL playoffs.
With a 6-3 win on Monday night in front their home crowd, the fifth-seeded Cardinals completed their sweep of the four-seed Broadway Bruins.
Broadway struck first as starting pitcher John Judy scored on a Kevin Rush fielder’s choice in the top of the fourth, breaking up what had been a pitcher’s duel between Judy and Dofflemyer.
Grottoes responded in the bottom half of the inning with a four-run explosion, including a three-run double by Matt Curry. Curry upped his playoff RBI total to six in just two games.
Judy would try and pull his Bruins back in the eighth, driving in Bryce Strawderman with an RBI single and later scoring himself, pulling Broadway to within two, heading into the ninth inning
The comeback attempt would eventually fall short as Michael Wilhite came out to work a quick final frame and secure the series-clinching victory for the Cardinals.
Adam Dofflemyer was credited with the win after giving up just one run on four hits in his five innings of work. Meanwhile, the eight/nine hitters of Logan Grimm and Matt Curry combined to go 3-for-6 at the plate with two walks, four runs driven in, and a run scored.
The loss ends an impressive 2018 season for the Broadway Bruins. The Bruins finished the regular season with an 18-10 record, finishing third in the extremely competitive Western Division.
With a roster of young talent led by Head Coach Justin Getz, the Bruins are poised to come back just as strong in 2019. Their 18 wins this season nearly matched their entire win total from 2014-2017 (21 wins).
The rest of the playoffs will continue tonight, with every series but New Market/Elkton up for grabs.
BRIDGEWATER - All four times that Bridgewater and Stuarts Draft faced off during the regular season, it ended up being a blowout in favor of the Reds. But that didn’t scare Diamondbacks’ pitcher Ryan Cooper going into Monday night’s game one of the quarterfinals.
Cooper took the mound at Ray Heatwole Field and threw 123 pitches over 11 innings as the Dbacks took a one-game lead thanks to a 4-3 victory.
“I was looking forward to facing Bridgewater when we found out we were going to face them,” Cooper said following the win. “I like a challenge. Any team is a challenge, but Bridgewater, you could view them as the best team in the league.”
Monday night’s game was certainly a challenge for both squads as neither team could hold onto a lead the entire night. When the Dbacks scored a run in the second, Brian Bocock answered with a solo homer in the bottom of the inning.
When Bridgewater scored two more in the sixth, Stuarts Draft was ready to respond. Calen Owens bunted to advance Zach Brown in the top of the seventh. Two errors on the play by the Reds allowed Brown to score the tying run, knotting the teams up at three runs apiece.
Neither team was able to get anything going over the next two innings and the game went into extras with both starting pitchers still on the mound.
After going down in order in the 10th, the Dbacks put together a rally in the 11th. Cooper came up to the plate with no outs and Brown on third, driving a fly ball into centerfield. Brown was able to tag up on the play and came across the plate for the go-ahead run.
“Going back up the middle and try to hit it to the outfield somewhere,” Cooper said about his mentality during the game-winning at bat. “We had an opportunity the inning before that and wasted it so I’m like, ‘We’ve got to at least get one.’”
Cooper still had to get through the Reds in the bottom half of the inning, though.
With two runners on and two outs, the All-RCBL utility man intentionally walked Daniel Heatwole to get to Derek Shifflett. Shifflett, who had already struck out three times on the night, went down swinging, ending the game with the bases loaded and sending the Dbacks home victorious.
Cooper finished the night giving up three runs and striking out eight batters. The only free pass he issued was Heatwole’s intentional walk. Depsite his performance, Cooper credited his team with helping him get through the game.
“I’ve gotta say one thing,” Cooper said, raising his voice as his teammates around him listened while packing up their bags. “On the wet grass, the defense was spectacular tonight. I don’t strike a lot of people out, so I need my defense to be good and they were catching balls at the fence, making great plays on routine balls and tough balls. That was pretty clutch.”
The veteran pitcher made sure his catcher received some praise as well. Kurt Latocha hit an RBI single in the top of the seventh to get the inning going for the Dbacks. He was solid behind the plate, too, picking off Josh Wright at first base to end the bottom of the eighth inning.
“My catcher was amazing,” Cooper said, motioning for Latocha to join him. “I’ve pitched for a long time. I’ve pitched to some good catchers. Sometimes when you’re gassed at the end of the game, you’ve pitched 11 innings, it’s good to not have to think about what you’re going to throw because he does the thinking for you.”
Embracing Latocha in a hug, Cooper was all smiles as the Dbacks celebrated their game one victory. They’ll host Bridgewater tonight at the Diamond Club in game two.
“These guys are awesome,” Cooper said about his teammates. “I’m pretty happy.”
Tyler Bocock and Colin Benner have been named the Bob Wade Player and Pitcher of the Week for the final week of the 2018 RCBL season.
In two games for the Bridgewater Reds this week, Bocock was 7-for-8 with two home runs and 11 RBIs. Bocock helped the Reds to an 18-3 victory over the Elkton Blue Sox on Thursday, going 5-for-5 at the plate and driving in 10 runs. He hit both of his home runs in that game.
The Reds finished the season with a 12-5 victory over New Market on Saturday night. Bocock finished the night 2-for-3 with one RBI and four runs scored.
The Reds take on Stuarts Draft tonight in the first round of the playoffs. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Ray Heatwole Field.
Benner pitched seven innings for the New Market Shockers on Thursday night at Montezuma. He gave up one earned run and allowed three hits while striking out seven batters.
New Market takes on Elkton in the first round of the playoffs tonight at Stonewall Memorial Park. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
CLOVER HILL - The Clover Hill Bucks took a 10-7 win last night against the Montezuma Braves at home to take a one-game lead in the first round of the playoffs.
The Braves got on the board early in the first inning as an error made by the third baseman brought home Zach Roberts.
The Bucks answered back to that one run by bringing home four runs in the bottom of the first inning starting with an RBI from Cody Warner that brought home Ross French. A home run from Tanner Moyers brought home Alex Knicely and Blake Sipe, which made the score 4-1.
“That big home run in the first inning was really big, that made a big difference. Corey battled through and got us some innings to give us the chance to not throw so many arms in the back half of the game as we might have earlier,” Coach Chris Cofer said about Moyers' home run and the Bucks' pitching.
The Bucks added three more runs in the third and two in the fourth to widen their lead. Clover Hill scored their final run in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI groundout from Ross French bringing home Danny Grogg.
The Braves got into a rhythm just a little late in the eighth inning when they brought home five runs. Jordan Yankey scored on a single from Brandon Lambert to start the inning for the Braves. Kyle Mathews hit a grand slam which brought home Lambert, Kyle Armstrong, and Cody Fitzgerald, making the score 10-7.
The Bucks were able to retire the side in order in the top of the ninth to take the win in game one. The two teams will face off again in game two tonight at Montezuma Ruritan Park.
BROADWAY - The first night of the RCBL playoffs played out just as expected, nothing is guaranteed. In last night’s matchup between the four-seed Broadway Bruins and five-seed Grottoes Cardinals, the Cardinals emerged victorious, taking game one by a score of 8-5.
Josh Pittman took the mound for the Cardinals, giving up three earned runs on eight hits, while striking out seven Bruin hitters. Pittman continued his quietly dominant season in the RCBL, leading his team one game closer to the semi-finals of the RCBL playoffs.
He received a welcomed early advantage in the top of the first inning as All-RCBL slugger Keegan Woolford slugged a three-run home run, setting the tone for this game early on.
The Bruins slowly mounted a comeback in the third and fourth innings against Pittman. Bryce Strawderman drew a bases loaded walk, followed by an RBI-single by veteran Kevin Rush to bring the Bruins to within one.
Matt Meiser would tie the game in the fourth inning, scoring on a passed ball on a Brady Duff strikeout.
After significant struggles throughout much of the regular season, Cardinals’ infielder Matt Curry continued his impressive streak at the plate, driving in a three-run double in the top of the sixth, giving the Cardinals a lead they would refuse to surrender for the rest of the evening.
Jacob Merica and Logan Grimm added a little insurance in the eighth inning with RBI-base hits, however, Brady Cockerham didn’t need the extra help, striking out the side in the ninth inning to slam the door shut on game one.
Grottoes is now just one game away from advancing the semi-finals. They will look to lock up the series tonight, as the series moves to Grottoes for game two (weather permitting). Assuming Cole Holsinger takes the ball for Broadway tonight, expect quite a show in Grottoes as the veteran-lead Bruins attempt to claw their way back to even the series.
The members of the All-RCBL team have been announced for the 2018 season. Members of the media met earlier this week to vote on the team, which was revealed on Saturday morning’s episode of the Play Ball show on ESPN 106.9 and 1360 WHBG.
Bridgewater and Clover Hill lead the way with four players from each team being honored. Bridgewater has four position players on the team while Clover Hill has three pitchers and one position player.
This year’s team features four players who were honored last season as well: Tyler Bocock, Drew Easter, Ryan Cooper and Corey Armentrout.
A number of statistical leaders were named to this year’s All-RCBL team. Home run leader Keegan Woolford made the team as a designated hitter. Nick Goode was named as an outfielder and currently leads the league with a .470 batting average with one game left in the season.
Regular season strikeout leader Kris Lalk and ERA leader Kevin Chandler were each named to the team as pitchers. Lalk tied the Pointstreak-era record of 87 strikeouts in a season for the Elkton Blue Sox this year.
Rookie Dan Fry was named to the team in his first season in the RCBL. Fry finished the season batting .316 with four home runs and 26 RBIs. Joining him is veteran Kevin Rush, who batted .292 with 14 RBIs in what is likely his final season.
Stuarts Draft veteran Ryan Cooper was named as a utility player after batting .416 with one home run and 16 RBIs for the Dbacks this season. Cooper’s main position is first base, but he also saw time at every infield position and outfield this season.
EMU product Kyle Mathews made the team as an outfielder, batting .378 with six home runs and 20 RBIs on the season. Mathews leads the Montezuma Braves in nearly every offensive category this season.
Below is the full list of players named to the 2018 All-RCBL team.
Catcher: Tyler Mahone, Bridgewater First Baseman: Brian Bocock, Bridgewater Second Baseman: Josh Wright, Bridgewater Shortstop: Tyler Bocock, Bridgewater Third Baseman: Kevin Rush, Broadway Outfielder: Kyle Mathews, Montezuma Outfielder: Nick Goode, New Market Outfielder: Dan Fry, Broadway Outfielder: Drew Easter, Clover Hill Utility: Ryan Cooper, Stuarts Draft Designated Hitter: Keegan Woolford, Grottoes Pitcher: Corey Armentrout, Clover Hill Pitcher: Kevin Chandler, Clover Hill Pitcher: Kris Lalk, Elkton Pitcher: Eric Yankey, Clover Hill
BRIDGEWATER - The Bridgewater Reds went up against the Elkton Blue Sox on Thursday, taking a big 18-3 win at home. The Reds are now 20-7 on the season and have clinched the three-seed in the playoffs.
“We are getting ready. We’re making that next step for what we've got to be prepared for to get into the playoffs and go with the play off. Play as a team,” Coach Robert Sherfey said about how his team performed last night.
The Reds started the game off early with three runs in the bottom of the first. Tyler Bocock hit a two-run home run scoring Kevin Bocock to give the Reds the first runs of the game. A home run from Josh Wright finished out the runs for the Reds in the bottom of the first, making the score 3-0.
An RBI from Tyler Bocock brought home Grey Sherfey which was the the only run the Reds could bring home in the second inning.
The Blue Sox answered back by bringing home three runs in the top of the third inning. A double from Cameron Stanley brought home Chris Smith and Luke Easter. Christian Rodriguez drove in Stanley on a groundout to make the score 4-3.
Bridgewater got their rhythm in the third inning and answered back to the three runs they let in by bringing home seven runs. Tyler Bocock hit his second home run of the night as the Reds took an 11-3 lead.
The Reds shutout the Blue Sox the rest of the game, limiting them to just three runs.
The Reds scored two more runs in the fourth and five in the sixth as they rolled to a slaughter-rule victory.
“It is up to them. We've got to defend. Everyone is coming after us. We know what we've got to do, so we just got to get that mindset and believe in ourselves,” Coach Sherfey said about heading into the playoffs on Sunday.
The Reds will play again against the New Market Shockers tonight at Ray Heatwole Field. First Pitch is scheduled for7:30.
The Blue Sox will go up against the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks tonight at the Diamond Club. First Pitch is scheduled for 7:30.
MONTEZUMA - The New Market Shockers had one goal Thursday night in Montezuma, win the game and clinch the #2 seed in this year’s RCBL playoffs. Unfortunately for New Market and their fans, the Montezuma Braves decided to play the role of spoiler, defeating the Shockers 3-0.
Colin Benner took the mound for New Market, tossing seven innings of three-hit ball. He gave up just one earned run and two walks while striking out seven, completing a quality start and an impressive performance on the mound.
Unfortunately, his offense mustered just six hits, spread out over nine innings against the Montezuma duo of Brendon Salladay (7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 0 K) and Brandon Lambert (2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K).
The Braves broke a scoreless game in the third inning with Zach Roberts drawing a bases loaded walk, followed by a sacrifice fly by Montezuma cleanup hitter, Kyle Mathews.
Mathews would later drive in his second RBI of the game and 20th of the season on a single in the sixth inning, scoring Roberts and giving the Braves a 3-0 lead.
With the loss, New Market now finds themselves tied with Grottoes for first place in the Eastern Division with just one more night left in the RCBL regular season (those words hurt to type).
*Insert dramatic music here* It all comes down to this, maybe. Every single team is in action tonight with New Market taking on the Bridgewater Reds at Ray Heatwole Field, while Grottoes battles the Clover Hill Bucks at home.
If either New Market or Grottoes wins and the other team loses, the winner will lock up the Eastern Division and the #2 seed. If both teams win or lose, the East Division title comes down to head-to-head matchups during the regular season, where New Market has a 3-1 advantage.
Grab your lawn chairs and find a ballfield. The 2018 RCBL regular season is going away quietly.
The end of the 2018 regular season is shaping up to be just like the beginning. Games that were originally scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday have been pushed back two days due to rain coming through the area this week.
Tonight’s schedule features two games around the league. Elkton travels to Bridgewater for an interdivisional matchup with the Reds. The New Market Shockers will play the Montezuma Braves at Montezuma Ruritan Field, although the Shockers will serve as the home team in the contest. Friday will see four games played on the last day of the regular season. Elkton will be on the road again as the Blue Sox take on the Diamondbacks at the Diamond Club in Stuarts Draft. Broadway will close out the season with a matchup against the Braves in Montezuma. New Market and Bridgewater will face each other at Ray Heatwole Field in their last game of the season.
The Grottoes Cardinals play host to the Clover Hill Bucks at 7:30 on Friday night in a critical matchup for the Cardinals. Tonight is Grottoes’ last game of the regular season and the Cards are just half a game behind New Market in the East Division.
The Cardinals need to win tonight’s game and need the Shockers to lose their next two games in order to win the division. If the two teams are tied in the standings when the season ends, the division champion will be decided by head-to-head performance during the regular season. New Market leads Grottoes three games to one in the regular season series.
With the final games of the season being pushed back, the playoff schedule has been changed as well. As of right now, the playoffs will begin on Sunday, July 29. The first round is a best of three series that will be played on consecutive nights.
Clover Hill has already clinched the one-seed in the playoffs and the Bucks will take on the Braves in the first round. The rest of the playoff matchups will be determined following the conclusion of the regular season.
With two games left in the season, Elkton, Stuarts Draft, Bridgewater and Broadway all have chances to improve their playoff seeding.
The 2018 All-RCBL team will be announced this Saturday, July 28 on the Play Ball show on ESPN 106.9 and 1360 WHBG. Karl Magenhofer and Mike Bocock will announce the players at each position who have been named to the All-RCBL team for their performance during the 2018 season.
Saturday morning’s show will be broadcast live from the Hall of Fame Sports Grill at 2264 Clover Hill Road in Dayton.