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By Dean Barker
The New Market Shockers completed an undefeated postseason run with ninety total runs, and a 19-2 run in their last 21 games with an 8-4 win in game four at the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks to win the 2021 RCBL Championship. The title was their first since 1972, and their first ever as the Shockers. The Shockers finish their championship season with a 24-6 record, while the Diamondbacks concluded at 19-13.
Ethan Laird went four innings, giving up four earned runs on four hits and striking out three for the no-decision. Cade Templeton got the win to finish the season 4-0, striking out six in five innings of relief.
Shockers head coach Nolan Potts, who has been with the Shockers organization since 2014, said he was very proud of his players for winning this title.
“I’m very fortunate to have these guys, because they make my life a lot easier,” Potts said. “They make it stressful on me, but the talent we have, and the comradery this team has is second to none, so to be able to cap it off is what it is all about, this is what we’ve been trying to do all year long.”
Parker Heinemann took his only loss of the season, gave up six runs (four earned) on seven runs in four innings to conclude at 4-1. Trevor Vernon was scoreless in an inning and two thirds. Chandis Goff gave up two earned runs.
Henry Delavergne drove the third pitch of the game just past a leaping Terrell Thompson at the center field wall to put the Shockers up 1-0. The Diamondbacks responded with singles from Zach Roberts and Thompson to start the bottom half. Both runners moved up on a passed ball to Jack Pausic. Pausic reached first on a grounder to third, but Roberts was thrown out trying to take home. Pausic stole second, and Cody Bartley walked to load the bases. Will Hass flew out to right, allowing Thompson to score the tying run. Bob Funk grounded out to short to end the inning.
Josh Tayman walked and stole second with two outs in the second inning, but Heinemann struck out Nick Goode to escape unharmed.
Frankie Ritter singled to left and stole both bases in the top of the third, and Pearce Bucher drove him in with a groundout to short to make it 2-1. Roberts singled to lead off the bottom half, followed by Thompson getting hit. Pausic crushed a homer to center field to give Stuarts Draft a 4-2 lead.
Luke Keister reached on an error by Pausic at third to lead off the fourth. Josh Tayman singled to right, and Matt House walked to load the bases. Goode grounded into a 6-3 double play, but Keister came home to cut the deficit to one. Delavergne beat out a grounder to short to tie the game.
Bucher led off the fifth with a double to right. Luke Estep singled to center, and moved to second on an unsuccessful throw to the plate, giving New Market a 5-4 lead. This led Diamondbacks head coach Les Sandridge to pull Heinemann for Trevor Vernon. Ty Bennett flew out to right to move Estep to third. Keister hit a soft fly ball past Hass at shortstop to plate Estep, and stole second. Tayman flew out to right for the second out. House walked to put runners on the corners for Goode, who struck out looking to end the threat.
Roberts began the bottom half with a single to left, and Thompson followed up with a walk. It was for naught, however, as Templeton struck out Pausic, Bartley and Hass to sneak out of the jam.
Delavergne and Bucher walked with one out in the sixth. Estep’s long ball to right was robbed by Funk at the wall, but it made way for Delavergne to take third. Bennett walked to load the bases, leading coach Sandridge to put Goff on the mound. Goff got Keister to fly out to center to end the inning. Noah Canterbury and Calen Owens were hit with two outs in the bottom half, but Roberts grounded out to Tayman at second to keep the Shocker lead at 6-4.
House and Goode singled to left in the seventh, and Delavergne singled to right to drive in New Market’s seventh run. Ritter flew out to third, but Bucher singled to left to push the lead to 8-4. Goff was pulled for Bartley. Bucher moved to second on a passed ball to Estep, who flew out to third to end the inning.
Bartley put the Shockers down 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth. Wilcher was hit with two outs in the bottom half, but Owens grounded out to Tayman to end the inning.
Canterbury took the mound for the ninth, hitting House to lead off. Goode struck out swinging for the first out, then Delavergne singled to left. Ritter grounded into a force out at third for the second out. Bucher walked to load the bases, but Estep struck out to end the inning.
Roberts lined out to a diving Estep in right for the first out. Thompson grounded out to Tayman for the second out. Pausic struck out to end the season.
The Shockers left fourteen runners on base, had no errors and gave up no unearned runs. The Diamondbacks stranded eight, and had two errors leading to two unearned runs.
Delavergne went 4-5 with three RBIs and a run scored. Bucher was 2-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Estep went 2-6 with an RBI and a run scored. Keister was 1-5 with an RBI and a run scored. New Market had 13 total hits.
Pausic went 1-5 with three RBIs and a run scored. Roberts went 3-5 with a run scored. Thompson was 1-2 with two runs scored. Hass was 0-3 with one RBI. The Diamondbacks had five hits.
Bucher was awarded series MVP, going 7-17 with five RBIs. He largely credited his teammates for being there to back him up.
“Just staying with in myself (was the key), because I know if I don’t get it done, there’s eight other guys in our lineup that night that’s gonna do it,” Bucher said. “So, just trusting everyone in the dugout, and… I feel like I’ve played a lot of baseball in my life, so I’ve got a good feel, just staying within myself.”
The trophy was especially sweet for a team full of fifteen Shenandoah University players and former players. After losing a 9-8 walkoff in the ODAC Championship game, Bucher said everyone was dead set on winning the RCBL title.
“We had a sour taste in our mouths after the way our season ended,” Bucher said. “At the beginning of the summer, we had one goal, and this was it, so it’s great to feel accomplished right now and move this into the school year next year.”
While there was no trophy presentation for the Diamondbacks, there were still positive takeaways. Roberts, who hadn’t played in a few years due to injuries, was grateful that he could complete an MVP season.
“Credit to all the coaches and the teammates, I had a blast, and can’t thank them enough for giving me the opportunity to come here and enjoy the game again,” Roberts said. “Really just enjoying the game again, and trying to have fun each and every day. And a lot of work, come back from some injuries and stuff, and putting time in the cage, and I can’t them enough.”
Coach Sandridge said he’s already looking forward to next season.
“I’m gonna take away all these guys and come back next year, and we’re gonna make another run,” Sandridge said. “A good team. We had a good group of guys, we’re just gonna come back and do it again.”
By Dean Barker
After five straight wins with ten or more runs, the New Market Shockers only needed five to take down the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks 5-2 in game three of the RCBL Finals on Monday, August 9 at Rebel Park. The win was the eighth in a row for the Shockers, who are 8-0 this postseason.
With the win, the Shockers improve to 23-6, and are one win away from their first RCBL title in 49 years, and their first ever as the Shockers. The Diamondbacks fall to 19-12 and now must win four in a row to claim the title.
Calvin Pastel picked up the win to move to 3-1, allowing two earned runs with seven hits and eight strikeouts in a complete game. Doug Pollock took his first loss to fall to 4-1, giving up five earned runs on five hits in six and a third innings. Chandis Goff pitched the last five outs with no runs, hits or strikeouts.
Pastel said his goal was to go the full nine.
“…I started to settle in and cruised a little bit through the second third of the game, and then next thing I knew, it was the seventh and eighth inning(s), and… at that point, my mindset was just to finish the game.”
Nick Goode and Ty Bennett led off the bottom of the second with singles, and advanced 90 feet on a wild pitch. Luke Keister was hit to load the bases for Matt House, who walked to score the first run. Pastel grounded into a 6-3 double play, but Bennett managed to score. Henry Delavergne grounded out to third to keep the lead at 2-0.
Frankie Ritter singled and reached second on a passed ball to lead off the bottom of the third. Pearce Bucher flew out to right field to move him to third. Luke Estep flew out to deep center field to drive in Ritter. Goode was hit and stole second, then moved to third on a passed ball. Bennett launched a homer over the left field wall to give New Market a 5-0 lead.
Cody Bartley hit a solo shot to left center field to put Stuarts Draft on the board in the fourth, cutting the lead to 5-1. With two outs in the top of the sixth, Terrell Thompson walked, and Jack Pausic singled to left field, but Bartley flew out to Pastel to end the inning. Will Hass almost led off the seventh with a Diamondback homer, but Bucher reached over the left field fence and pulled it in.
Pastel led off the bottom of the seventh with a sharp grounder to Bob Funk in right, but he was able to make the throw to first in time for the out. Delavergne followed up with a single to left. Ritter’s long ball to left was just foul, but Diamondbacks head coach Les Sandridge had seen enough, replacing Pollock with Goff. Ritter would be retired on a Willie Mays-style catch from Zach Roberts at second, who then picked off Delavergne to end the inning.
With two outs in the top of the eighth, Roberts looped a short fly ball between House at third and Bucher in left, giving him time to stretch it into a double. Thompson followed up with a double to right center to bring the D-Backs within three. They could do no more, as Pausic flew out to right to end the inning.
After a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth, Bartley led off the top of the ninth with a single to left. Hass grounded into a 5-4 fielder’s choice at second to retire Bartley. Funk singled to left to bring the tying run to the plate in Noah Canterbury, who struck out swinging. Tyler Wilcher grounded into an unassisted putout at third to end the game.
The Diamondbacks stranded six, compared to three from the Shockers. Neither team had any errors or unearned runs.
Bartley went 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Thompson was 1-3 with an RBI. Roberts went 1-4 with a run scored. Funk went 2-4, and Pausic was 1-4, totaling seven Stuarts Draft hits.
Bennett was 2-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. Estep and House were both hitless, but each had one RBI. Goode went 1-2 with two runs scored. Ritter was 1-4 with a run scored, and Delavergne was 1-4, adding up to five New Market hits.
Pastel said he feels good about the Shockers chances.
“The key is going to be the same as this game, just get ahead early, and throw strikes with our starting pitching,” Pastel said. “After tonight, all the bullpen’s ready to go, all fresh with at least two days of rest, and I’m confident going into tomorrow.”
New Market will hope to win it all tonight at The Diamond Club in game four at 7:30 pm. Should Stuarts Draft win, the teams will return to action Thursday for game five at 7:30 pm in New Market, a potential game six on Friday in Stuarts Draft at 7:30 pm, and game seven on Sunday at 6:30 pm at Rebel Park.
By Leyton Pullin
On Saturday August 7 the Shockers found themselves trailing 9-5 entering the top of the 9th but never gave up and put up 5 runs in the frame to win 10-9 over the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks in game 2 of the RCBL Championship Series and take a 2-0 series lead.
The Shockers took an early lead in the top of the 2nd inning as Nick Goode walked and later scored as a ground ball squirted out of the glove of Doug Pollock at short stop making it 1-0.
New Market did not stay out in from long as the D-Backs struck back in the bottom of the 2nd as Will Hass led the inning off with a walk. Tyler Wilcher came up to the plate later in the inning with two outs and drove a line drive off of the wall for a double pushing Hass into score and tie the game 1-1.
New Market took advantage of another Stuarts Draft error in the top of the 3rd as Luke Estep grounded to Pollock but was not able to make a play allowing Frankie Ritter to score and put the Shockers back in front 2-1.
Stuarts Draft responded on cue in the bottom half of the 3rd as Clen Owens led the inning off with a walk. Zach Roberts came to the plate next and ripped a ball over the head of the second baseman for a single allowing Owens to score. Jack Pausic came up later in the inning and singled putting runners on the corners. During the next at bat Pausic took off to second base and catcher Dawson Russell made the throw to second but airmailed it over the head of Ritter at short allowing for Roberts to score unearned and put the D-Backs in front 3-2.
Stuarts Draft added to their lead in the bottom of the 5th as Terrell Thompson crushed a solo homerun to make it a 4-2 game. They added another run later in the inning as Doug Pollock singled knocking Cody Bartley into score and stretching the lead to 5-2.
New Market would take advantage of a tiring Liam Kehoe in the 6th who got the start for Stuarts Draft. The Shockers loaded the bases with the first three hitters of the inning before the D-Backs went to the pen. Will Hass came to the mound for Stuarts Draft but still had two runs cross for the Shockers as Matt House scored on a Ethan Laird sacrifice fly and Luke Keister scored on a wild pitch to make it a single run game at 5-4.
Stuarts Draft slowly stretched their lead back out with a run in each the 6th and 7th as Zach Roberts hit a solo home run in the 6th and an RBI ground out by Tyer Wilcher in the 7th. New Market also added a run of their own as Pearce Bucher sent a ball well into the Augusta County sky for a solo homer in the top of the 7th with the score now. 7-5.
New Market went to the bullpen for their 4th arm of the night as Cade Templeton came on in the top of the 8th. The D-backs quickly loaded the bases with only one out before the Yellow Jacket Will Hass stepped to the plate. The Randolph-Macon senior popped a ball up into the Bermuda triangle in right field and the ball fell in between the first and second basemen along with the right fielder allowing both Thompson and Pausic to score to stretch the lead to 9-5.
New Market went to work in the top of the 9th as Chandis Goff came back out to the mound. Ritter and Bucher lead the inning off with back-to-back singles before Estep dug in the box and crushed a ball to dead center that was gone for a three-run home run to close the gap to 9-8. Later with an out in the inning Matt House came to the plate and singled to keep the inning alive. Keister came up to the plate next and stayed hot as he has done all post season with a single to the opposite field to push House to within 90 feet of tying the game. Next to the plate came Dawson Russell who had struggled at the plate up to this point before he clutched a ground ball up the middle that was eventually fielded by Pollock and tossed to Bartley for the out at first but allowed House to score and tie the game. Nolan Potts then gambled on himself as the New Market Manager put himself in the game in a pinch-hit situation to try and push Keister across as he represented the go ahead run. Potts struck a pitch into the opposite field allowing the speedy Keister to score easily and put the Shockers on top 10-9.
The Shockers went to CJ Morton to try and close out the game in the 9th but the power righty struggled loading the bases full of D-Backs on two walks and a hit batsman with two outs. To the plate came Hass who got ahead in the count 3-0 before Morton recovered with two called strikes and then a heater down main street that Hass was unable to get a piece of to seal the game.
The Shockers take a highly important two game to none lead as they were able to capitalize and rally when being down arms. “We really didn’t have a starting pitcher tonight,” said Manager Nolan Potts. “We knew Henry [Delavergne] had thrown well for us when we needed it and we got three solid innings out of him,” continued Potts.
The big keys in the 9th were the single from Luke Keister who stayed hot as he has had 3 home runs in the post season after not having one his entire baseball career up to that point. Keister’s single stretched the inning out and allowed Dawson Russell to put a ball in play to push the tying run across.
“Tonight, I tried to do what I could for the team and see a fastball early in the count and swing and hit it,” said Keister.
Cade Templeton gets the win after a less than ideal bottom of the 8th. CJ Morton gets the save as he avoided giving up a run after loading the bases in the bottom of the 9th. Chandis Goff takes the loss for Stuarts Draft after having a very uncharacteristic night on the bump as the righty gave up 5 earned runs in 1 inning pitched.
Game 3 will take place on Monday at Rebel Field in New Market at 7:30PM.
By Dean Barker
The New Market Shockers had no trouble claiming game one of the 2021 RCBL Finals, blowing out the visiting Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks 15-1 on Friday, August 6. With the win, the Shockers improved to 21-6 (6-0 in the playoffs), and took a 1-0 lead in the series. The Diamondbacks fell to 19-10.
Kirk Messick picked up the win for New Market to improve to 8-0, giving up just one run and five hits in nine innings. Trever Mitchell took his first loss of the year, giving up eight runs on five hits and two walks in two thirds of an inning to fall to 3-1.
After a 1-2-3 first inning from Messick, Frankie Ritter singled to left with one out in the bottom half, and stole second and third on back to back pitches. Pearce Bucher walked, and Luke Estep drove one over the center field wall to put the Shockers up 3-0. Following a walk to Matt House and a single from Luke Keister, Kaden Spaid and Dawson Russell each had an RBI single. Ethan Laird grounded into a fielder’s choice at second, but ran out the throw to first. With runners on the corners, Henry Delavergne was hit to load the bases. At this point, Mitchell was pulled for Jeremy Jenkins. Ritter drove in two more with a single to right field, and took second on a wild pitch. Bucher plated two with a double off the center field wall. Estep struck out looking to end the inning with a 9-0 New Market lead.
Keister hit a solo shot to left with one out in the bottom of the second to push the lead to 10-0.
Messick had a perfect game until Calen Owens singled up the middle with two outs in the third. It would come to naught, as Zach Roberts flew out to center field to end the inning.
Ritter led off the third with an infield single to shortstop Doug Pollock. Estep brought him in with a triple to center field, and House plated Estep with a single off Pollock’s glove. Russell brought in House with a single to right, and Laird doubled to left to bring in another run. Delavergne flew out to right to end the inning with the 14-0 lead.
With two runners in scoring position in the fifth, Delavergne grounded out to Pollock to bring in one more run and make it 15-0 New Market.
With two outs in the top of the sixth, Stuarts Draft got on the board with a solo homer to center field from Jack Pausic, but that would be all for the Diamondbacks.
New Market stranded twelve, and had two errors with no unearned runs. Stuarts Draft left six runners on base, had no errors and gave up no unearned runs.
Every Shockers batter in the starting lineup had at least one hit and one RBI. Estep went 3-6 with four RBIs and two runs scored. Ritter was 3-6 with two RBIs and three runs scored. Bucher went 3-5 with two RBIs and a run scored. Russell went 2-2 with two RBIs. The Shockers had a total of eighteen hits.
Will Hass went 2-4, Pausic went 1-4 with an RBI and a run scored, Roberts went 1-4, and Owens was 1-3, totaling five Diamondback hits.
The Shockers have had ten games this season with eleven or more runs, and are undefeated in those games. Messick said huge offensive nights like Friday make his job easy on the mound.
“Don’t take away from our pitching staff, I mean they’ve done a really good job this season, too,” Messick said. “But uh, when you put up eleven runs, it’s kind of hard to lose a game.”
While the Shockers beat down on the Diamondbacks in game one, Messick isn’t expecting the D-Backs, who won the regular season series with New Market, to simply hand them the rest of the series.
“I think, just like any team, they had a bad night,” Messick said. “Obviously, we all know they’re a lot better than they were tonight, and we’re not taking anything away from them with the beating we gave them tonight because, like I said, they just had a bad night, and we just had a really good night.”
The Diamondbacks will hope to even the series on Saturday, August 7 when they host the Shockers for game two at 7:30 pm at the Diamond Club. New Market and Stuarts Draft will switch home field advantage each game. After games two, four and six (if necessary), there will be one day off before returning to action. All games will be at 7:30 pm except for a potential game seven, which would be at 6:30 pm in New Market.
By Dean Barker
After going down early, the Broadway Bruins were unable to defend their RCBL title, falling 10-3 in game four of the RCBL semifinals on Wednesday, August 4 at Broadway High School. With the win, Stuarts Draft improved to 19-9 and advanced to their tenth RCBL championship series in the last fourteen years. They will face the #1 New Market Shockers, who they defeated 2-1 in the regular season series. Broadway concludes the season at 13-14.
Parker Heinemann struck out seven and gave up two runs in five innings to get the win for Stuarts Draft, improving to 4-0. Chandis Goff pitched three innings and gave up one run. Trevor Mitchell pitched the final inning, striking out one and giving up one hit.
Trevor Thomas gave up six runs (four earned) and twelve hits in seven innings to fall to 2-2, despite striking out ten. Thomas was 3-5 with an RBI and two runs scored at the plate. James Riddel gave up three unearned runs in a third of an inning, and Dawson Moomaw gave up one unearned run in an inning and two thirds.
RCBL MVP Zach Roberts led off the game with a double to center field, and reached third on a wild pitch to Jack Pausic. Pausic would ground out to shortstop to bring Roberts home and give Stuarts Draft a 1-0 lead.
Bob Funk would hit a solo shot to left center to increase the lead to 2-0 in the second. Grayson Bush and Calen Owens singled, and Will Haas walked with two outs to load the bases, but Pausic struck out looking to end the inning.
Funk said being patient helped him at the plate Wednesday night.
“Get my pitch and don’t miss it, really,” Funk said. “Just be selective and get a good pitch to hit.”
Cody Bartley walked and reached second on a wild pitch to lead off the third. Lucas Adam reached first on a dropped throw by first baseman Kevin Rush, on which Bartley moved to third. Funk would drive in another run with a single to make the D-Back lead 3-0.
With two outs in the bottom half, Jett Shue would double to left, and Thomas ripped a grounder up the middle to bring him home. Caleb Taylor singled to left, and Cole Holsinger doubled to right to bring in another run. Isaac VanMeter walked to load the bases with two outs, but Heinemann struck out Ben Hutcheson to escape with the 3-2 lead.
Doug Pollock singled, Funk doubled, and Bush walked with two outs in the top of the fifth. With the bases loaded, Owens beat out a grounder to second to push the lead to 4-2.
Taylor and Holsinger walked with one out in the bottom half. Dawson Moomaw, pinch running for Taylor, stole third on a throw back to Heinemann. VanMeter struck out, and Hutcheson grounded into a fielder’s choice at second to keep the Diamondbacks on top.
With two outs in the sixth, Bartley and Pollock singled, but Adam flew out to Hutcheson at second.
Bush reached first on an error from Holsinger at short, and stole second. Roberts drove him in with a single to left, and Haas walked to make way for an RBI single from Pausic to push the Stuarts Draft advantage to 6-2 at the seventh inning stretch.
Thomas led off the bottom half with a deep fly ball to left, which Adam dropped. Thomas reached second on the error, and moved to third on a wild pitch. Goff struck out Taylor and Holsinger, but Hass bobbled VanMeter’s grounder to allow Thomas to score. Moomaw’s fly ball to left looked like a hit, but Owens made a diving catch to keep the score 6-3.
The Diamondbacks loaded the bases to start the eighth, as Pollock and Funk walked, and Adam singled to left. With Moomaw coming in to pitch, Bush and Owens struck out swinging. However, a grounder from Roberts led to a dropped throw at first, allowing two runs to score. Another one would come home on a wild pitch, making the score 9-3.
Bartley kicked off the ninth with a single, and with two outs, Funk ripped a double to left to push the lead to 10-3. Shue led off the bottom half with a single, and then Thomas went down swinging. Shue went to third on a fly out from Taylor, but Holsinger grounded out to second to end it.
The Diamondbacks left sixteen runners on base, and had no errors with one unearned run. The Bruins stranded ten, and four errors led to six unearned runs.
Funk was 4-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Roberts went 2-6 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Pausic was 1-6 with two RBIs. Owens went 2-5 with one RBI. Pollock went 2-5 with three runs scored. The Diamondbacks totaled fifteen hits.
Holsinger was 1-4 with an RBI, VanMeter was 1-2 with an RBI, and Shue was 2-5 with a run scored. The Bruins managed to get ten hits.
Funk says the Diamondbacks will be able to defeat the Shockers if they keep doing what they’ve been doing. When asked about the key to taking the crown, he said “Basically don’t change a thing. Keep swinging and keep playing defense, that’s all it takes.”
The Diamondbacks will travel to Rebel Field for game one on Friday night at 7:30 pm, and will host game two Saturday, August 7 at 7:30 pm.
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.
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