NEW MARKET - The RCBL quarterfinals came one step closer to being completed on Sunday night, but were ultimately held up once again due to rain.
The New Market Shockers were finally able to complete game one of their series against the Elkton Blue Sox, winning the contest 12-2. The game was originally started on Tuesday July 31 before being suspended in the top of the eighth inning after a rainstorm.
The teams resumed that game on Sunday afternoon at Rebel Park with a man on first and no outs for the Shockers, who were up 7-2.
Nolan Potts, Zach Stiles, Ty Michaud and Ty Bennett all hit RBI singles in the inning to give the Shockers to extend their lead to 11-2.
Joseph Rutherford hit an RBI single in the top of the ninth to score Nick Goode for the Shockers’ final run of the game.
Seth Comer got the win on the mound for New Market, pitching six innings and allowing just one run on four hits. Bennett finished the game 4-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBIs. Michaud also had four hits on the night, scoring one run and driving in two.
The teams planned to play the second game of the series on Sunday as well, but that’s when the weather stepped in yet again. Rain started to fall in the middle of the first inning and became heavy enough by the bottom of the inning that the game had to be suspended.
New Market was batting in the bottom of the first with two outs and a man on first base when the game was suspended.
The series will be resumed tonight at 7:30 at Rebel Park. New Market and Elkton are the only teams still playing in the quarterfinals; every other series was finished by last Wednesday. Grottoes, Clover Hill and Bridgewater are currently waiting for this series to wrap up so they can know their opponents in the semifinals and start the next round of playoffs.
BRIDGEWATER - With a trip to the RCBL semifinals on the line, the Bridgewater Reds lineup produced another big outing on the way to an 11-6 victory over Stuarts Draft. Three key innings powered the Reds to a game three victory on their home field in Bridgewater.
Neither starting pitcher made it out of the first inning as Bridgewater’s Alex Stover gave up three runs on two hits and three walks and the Dbacks jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first.
The Reds were ready to answer back, though, as they got to Stuarts Draft’s Stephen Baker in the bottom of the first. Baker exited after two-thirds of an inning, giving up five runs on four hits and one walk.
Corbin Lucas hit an RBI single to score Kevin Bocock for the Reds’ first run of the game. It was Lucas’ first of three hits on the night, including a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the third inning.
“All series I’ve been hitting the ball hard, just right at people,” Lucas said. “Tonight was another one of those nights where I just tried to be aggressive early, look for fastballs early in the count. In this league I don’t like to get to two strikes because you never know what’s going to happen”
Lucas finished the night 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored. His home run in the third started another big inning for the Reds as they sent three more runners across the plate to make the score 8-3.
Despite the fact that they were facing elimination in each of the last two games, Lucas said the team never thought about the possibility of their season ending early.
“I don’t think so,” Lucas said when asked if the Reds were worried about getting knocked out. “That’s not something we’re really taking into consideration because we know we can have a big inning at anytime. Our pitchers are going to keep it close.”
The Dbacks didn’t give up the fight, putting up three runs in the top of the eighth, two of them coming from a Stephen Baker home run. It wasn’t enough to make a comeback, however, as Drafts’ season ended in the quarterfinals.
For the Reds, their semifinal opponent is still unknown and depends on the outcome of the New Market/Elkton series. If New Market wins the series, the Reds will face the Shockers in the next round. If Elkton wins, Bridgewater will take on Grottoes in the semifinals.
Whoever their opponent is, the defending champs are ready.
“Mainly we hope to get a lot of rest and get our pitchers back,” Lucas said. “Our pitchers have thrown a lot of pitches in these last three outings and our catchers have really had to sit there for a long time. So whoever they got coming, we’re ready for them and just hope for a great series.”
MONTEZUMA - The Clover Hill Bucks made it past the quarterfinals by taking down the Montezuma Braves, 12-3 last night at Ruritan Field.
“We made a couple mistakes tonight, a couple of errors, but we were very aggressive too. So we created some opportunities for us at the same time,” Coach Chris Cofer said about his team's performance last night.
The Bucks got on the board early in the first inning when a double from Tanner Moyers brought home Drew Easter, making it 1-0 heading into the second inning.
In the top of the third Luke Shiflett drew a bases loaded walk, sending Cody Warner home. Warner drove in John Siciliano in the fourth to make it 3-0 Bucks.
The Braves got on the board late in the game by bringing home two runs from Sam Imeson and Owen Stewart, making the score 3-2 going into the sixth inning.
The Bucks brought home three runs in the sixth inning, getting some momentum going with a stolen base by Kevin Kirk.
“One big play was Kevin Kirk stealing third base from that bunt attempt, that broke the game a little bit for us,” Cofer said about Kirk's big play.
Montezuma got their last run on the board bottom of the sixth as Kyle Armstrong got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, sending Imeson home.
Luke Shiflett hit a home run in the top of the seventh before the Bucks exploded for five runs in the eighth to win the game 12-3. With the win, Clover Hill advances to the semifinals. The Bucks will have to wait until the rest of the quarterfinals series get wrapped up before they'll know their opponent.
STUARTS DRAFT - In a complete turnaround from Monday night’s extra-innings loss, the Bridgewater Reds defeated Stuarts Draft 14-6 on Tuesday to even up the quarterfinal series at 1-1. Four home runs from the powerful Bridgewater lineup propelled the Reds to a dominating victory at the Diamond Club.
“Good things happen when you hit the ball hard and that’s kind of what we did, got a few runs early,” Bridgewater pitcher Tyler Bocock said. “I think that helped a little bit and just trying to settle in. We executed tonight and just added on well.”
Draft’s Ryan Cooper led off the bottom of the first with a solo home run for the first run of the game. The Dbacks’ lead lasted through the first three innings, but the Reds came to the plate ready to make a statement in the fourth.
Josh Wright led off the inning with a solo home run to left field. All-RCBL first baseman Brian Bocock followed suit with a shot of his own to nearly the same spot.
Two batters later, Andrew Armstrong hit the third home run of the inning as the Reds started to settle into a groove.
“I think we did a good job of adjusting after our first at bat and then coming out hitting balls and producing runs that way,” Bocock said about the Reds’ offense.
Bridgewater would go on to score six runs in the fifth inning and five more in the seventh to take a 14-1 lead, but the slaughter rule is not in effect in the postseason.
The Dbacks stayed in the fight with a three-run seventh inning and two runs coming in the ninth from Cooper’s second home run of the night, but they were unable to come back and Bridgewater took the game to tie the series.
Bocock picked up the win on the mound, tossing six innings and giving up two runs on five hits. The leadoff home run by Cooper might have rattled some pitchers, but Bocock settled in and led the Reds to their first win of the postseason.
“He hit it real, real good,” Bocock said about Cooper’s solo shot. “If you just stay attacking hitters overall, in the long run it works out for you, just getting outs, letting our defense do what they need to do.”
The Reds will host the Dbacks at Ray Heatwole Field tonight in a decisive game three. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.