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By Dean Barker
The #3 RCBL Shockers dominated the #1 Bridgewater Reds all night to win game six of the RCBL Finals 10-2 and win the RCBL Championship 4-2 on Tuesday, August 15. With the win, the Shockers complete the season 28-13, while the Reds end at 29-11. The title was the second for the Shockers in three years, as well as their third finals appearance in four years.
“Couldn’t be happier for these guys, this is the perfect way to cap off a long summer,” Shockers head coach Nolan Potts said. “We played 41 games, so just a great way to cap off an incredible year.”
Matt House threw a complete game and got the win to finish the season 9-2, giving up two earned runs on eight hits with three walks and seven strikeouts. House was 2-0 in the finals, and 5-0 in the entire playoffs. House was also 7-24 at the plate with three RBIs in the finals.
“(The key was) just trying to pitch to the catcher, not make Dawson (Russell) do too much work back there, rely on the defense,” House said. “At the plate, just see the ball up and drive the ball.”
Derek Shifflett threw a complete game and took the loss to end the season 11-2, giving up ten runs (nine earned) on thirteen hits with three walks and six strikeouts. Shifflett threw a total of 454 pitches in this series.
“It’s really hard to end it that way, but I give kudo’s to that entire team (the Shockers), they know how to hit,” Shifflett said. “They’ve seen me a bunch, they adjusted really well, and when you put it in play like that, things happen.”
It was the final game of a storied baseball career for Shifflett, who announced his retirement at the beginning of this season.
“(My takeaway from my career is) lifelong friendships,” Shifflett said. “It’s not about the accolades, it’s not about the MVP’s, it’s not about the trophies. All that stuff’s good, but these are lifelong friends. I do business with some of these guys, I hang out with them outside of baseball. That’s why I’m so emotional right now, it’s the end of a career… Chris Huffman, Corbin Lucas, and all of them, I can’t say enough about them; it’s been a blast.”
Shockers infielder Luke Keister was named series MVP for going 14-26 with eight RBIs.
“At the plate, I just wanted to help my team win; I knew it was the final series of the season for us, and I wanted to come out on top,” Keister said. “Whatever I could do to help my team win, I was just fortunate to get the opportunity, and got lucky and got it done.”
Connor Houser got the Shockers on the board with an RBI single to center in the bottom of the second to put them up 1-0.
Harrison Madagan ripped an RBI single up the middle in the bottom of the third, followed by an RBI triple to right by Pearce Bucher. Nick Arnold plated Bucher with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0 Shockers.
The Reds loaded the bases with one out in the top of the fourth, but Grey Sherfey grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, House singled to center to bring in one, Arnold scored on a wild pitch, Houser plated one with a double to center, and Dawson Russell singled to right to extend the Shocker lead to 8-0.
Luke Keister was caught stealing second in the bottom of the sixth, but Madagan came home on the play to push the lead to 9-0.
Mason Mantz got the Reds on the board with an RBI groundout to second in the top of the seventh, cutting the lead to 9-1.
Liam Simpson’s grounder to third in the eighth was bobbled, allowing Chris Huffman to score the second Bridgewater run. The Reds loaded the bases, but a pop fly to short from Jordan Yankey ended the inning.
With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Keister’s grounder to short was thrown away, allowing Bodie Pullen to score the tenth Shocker run. House retired the Reds 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth to clinch the title.
The Shockers had ten runs on thirteen hits with one error and seven runners left on base. Houser was 3-4 with two RBIs. Bucher went 3-5 with an RBI, and was a home run shy of the cycle. Madagan was 2-5 with an RBI. House went 2-4 with an RBI. Russell was 1-4 with an RBI. Pullen went 2-5. Arnold went 0-3 with an RBI.
“This is why we do it, we’re not just doing it for something to do, we’re doing it to get one of these (trophies),” Potts said. “The last five years, we’ve built ourselves into a pretty good organization, and been very successful on the field, so that was the goal when I took over, to go to three championships in five years and win two of them is a pretty good five year plan.”
The Reds had two runs on eight hits with two errors and nine base runners stranded. Mantz went 2-4 with an RBI. Huffman, Simpson and Noah Cornwell were all 1-4. Brett Tharp and Corbin Lucas both went 1-3. Shifflett was 1-5 in his last game.
By Dean Barker
On the brink of elimination, Chris Huffman threw a complete game shutout to power the #1 Bridgewater Reds to a 5-0 game five win over the #3 RCBL Shockers on Monday, August 14. With the win, the Reds cut the Shockers’ lead to 3-2 and forced a sixth game of the RCBL Championship.
“(The key was) just making sure I stayed ahead in the count, eliminate the walks,” Huffman said. “Just keeping them off the base, keeping them off balance, my defense played well behind me tonight.”
Huffman picked up the win for the Reds to improve to 8-2, pitching nine innings with six hits, a walk and ten strikeouts.
Cam Comins took the loss for the Shockers to fall to 0-2, pitching five innings and giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. Jaden Click pitched three innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on two hits with a walk and no strikeouts.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the third, Huffman flew out to deep center to put the Reds up 1-0, but Corbin Lucas and Noah Cornwell struck out to end the inning.
Lucas added a run with a sacrifice fly to right in the bottom of the fifth.
With two on and two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Derek Shifflett ripped a two run single to left, and advanced to second on a wild throw home to make it 4-0 Reds.
“Anytime you have (Huffman) on the mound, it gives you a lot more confidence at the plate,” Shifflett said. “We know if we get a few runs here and there, we’re gonna get a good game.”
A two out grounder in the eighth from Mason Mantz was bobbled by Nick Arnold, allowing Grey Sherfey to score and make it 5-0.
The Reds had five runs on six hits with three errors and nine runners left on base. Shifflett was 3-4 with two RBIs. Jordan Yankey went 2-4. Mason Mantz was 1-3. Lucas went 0-3 with an RBI. Huffman was 0-4 with an RBI.
The Shockers had no runs on six hits with three errors and eight base runners stranded. Luke Keister went 2-4. Arnold, Matt House and Pearce Bucher all went 1-4. Dawson Russell was 1-2.
The Reds will look to force a game seven when they travel to Spotswood High School to face the Shockers on Tuesday, August 15 at 7:30 pm.
“(We need to) just play our game, expect a dogfight,” Huffman said. “We can’t come out flat, we’ve got to be the aggressor.”
By Dean Barker
The #3 RCBL Shockers rolled on the mound and at the plate to take game four of the RCBL Finals 10-3 over the #1 Bridgewater Reds on Saturday, August 12. With the win, the Shockers took a 3-1 series lead and are one win away from their second RCBL Championship in three years.
“It’s a big win for us; we’re one win away now, and we don’t want to let the defending champs get back in the series,” Shockers head coach Nolan Potts said.
Kirk Messick got the win to improve to 11-0, pitching nine innings and giving up three runs (two earned) on nine hits with a walk and six strikeouts in 91 pitches.
“Just throw strikes, let them put the ball in play, let my defense back me up, and make good plays behind me,” Messick said.
Derek Shifflett took the loss to fall to 11-1, pitching eight innings and giving up ten runs on thirteen hits with seven walks and nine strikeouts. Shifflett threw 151 pitches, totaling 318 for this past week.
“Kudos to Derek for coming back out there again after he threw a ton the other night,” Potts said.
Chris Huffman hit a solo shot in the top of the first to put the Reds on the board. The Shockers responded in the bottom half, as Luke Keister’s single to center was bobbled, allowing the first run to come home. Pearce Bucher singled to left to bring home the second run, and Keister came home on a wild pitch to make the score 3-1 Shockers.
Matt House added some insurance with an RBI ground rule double in the bottom of the third.
Shifflett ripped an RBI single with two outs in the fourth, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom half, Dawson Russell singled to left to push the lead to 6-2 for the Shockers.
Harrison Madagan and Keister doubled back-to-back in the fifth to bring in a run, and Keister scored on a wild pitch to extend the lead to 8-2.
“We put good swings on it, had a lot of runners on base, (still) left too many on there in my opinion, but we scored the ones when they mattered and got it done,” Keister said.
Grey Sherfey singled with two outs in the seventh to bring in the third Bridgewater run, but was thrown out at second.
Connor Houser ripped a two out, two run single in the bottom of the eighth to make the final score 10-3 Shockers.
The Shockers had ten runs on thirteen hits with one error and ten runners left on base. Keister was 4-5 with two RBIs. Madagan went 3-5. Houser was 2-4 with two RBIs. Russell was 1-5 with two RBIs. House went 1-5 with one RBI. Bucher went 1-4 with an RBI. Bodie Pullen was 1-4.
The Reds had three runs on nine hits with an error and five base runners stranded. Huffman was 3-4 with an RBI and was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. Shifflett was 2-4 with an RBI. Sherfey went 1-3 with an RBI. Sam Garber went 2-4. Noah Cornwell was 1-4.
The Shockers will look to win it all when they travel to Ray Heatwole Field on Monday, August 14 at 7:30 pm.
“Monday night, we’ve got to come out ready to roll and not give them any sort of momentum moving forward,” Potts said.
By Dean Barker
The #3 RCBL Shockers (26-12) took advantage of miscues from the #1 Bridgewater Reds (28-9) to gain a 7-4 win in game three of the RCBL Championship on Friday, August 11. With the win, the Shockers take a 2-1 series lead.
“We knew he (Joe Christopher) was going to be in the zone, I thought we did a good job going up early, attacking,” Shockers head coach Nolan Potts said. “I thought the approach was good all night.”
Matt House (8-2) got the win, pitching innings and giving up runs on hits with walks and strikeouts.
(The key was) just relying on my defense while pitching,” House said.
Mason Lynn pitched four and a third innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits with two walks and a strikeout.
“My approach was just to throw strikes, if they hit it, I know I have a good defense behind me,” Lynn said.
Joe Christopher (6-1) took his first loss of the season, throwing five innings and giving up five runs (three earned) on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Eric Yankey pitched two innings, giving up two earned runs on two hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Nick Griffin pitched two scoreless innings with two hits, no walks and a strikeout.
Frankie Ritter put the Shockers on the board first with a solo shot to left in the first inning, giving them a 1-0 lead.
“It’s the approach we have, we want to be tough outs, we’ll do anything to get on,” Ritter said. “Luckily tonight, they botched a few plays for us.”
Corbin Lucas led off the bottom of the second with a double to center, and Derek Shifflett moved him over with a bunt single. Caden Swartley’s sacrifice fly to deep right tied the score at 1-1.
An error from Chris Huffman allowed Ritter to reach to lead off the third. Ritter would take second and third on a balk and wild pitch, and scored on a Luke Keister single. Pearce Bucher’s double plated Keister, and a sacrifice fly from Harrison Madagan brought Bucher home to make it 4-1 Shockers.
A two out single and stolen base from Ritter was followed by a throwing error on Keister’s grounder, allowing the fifth run to score for the Shockers in the fourth.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, a sharp liner to third from Huffman brought home the second run for the Reds, at which point Lynn was pulled for House.
A two out single from Keister brought home Ritter to extend the lead to 6-2 in the sixth.
Swartley ripped a single to center in the bottom half to cut the lead to 6-3. The Reds loaded the bases with one out, but House retired the next two to escape.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the seventh, a wild pitch allowed Madagan to come home and push the lead to 7-3. The Reds left the bases loaded in the bottom half.
With two on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Swartley singled to left to cut the lead to 7-4. Grey Sherfey singled to load the bases for Jordan Yankey, but Yankey flew out to right to end the game.
The Shockers had seven runs on eleven hits with errors and ten runners left on base. Keister was 2-4 with a walk and two RBIs. Ritter was 2-4 with a walk, and RBI and four runs scored. Bucher was 2-5 with an RBI. Madagan was 1-3 with a walk and an RBI. House was 2-3 with two walks. Nick Arnold and Dawson Russell were both 1-5.
The Reds had four runs on fourteen hits with three errors and fourteen base runners stranded. Derek Shifflett went 4-4 with a walk. Swartley was 2-4 with three RBIs. Lucas went 3-5. Sherfey and Huffman were 2-5. Liam Simpson went 1-5.
Game four will be Saturday, August 12 at 7:30 pm at Spotswood High School.
“You make baseball very complicated sometimes; you throw strikes, make plays and hit the baseball, you’re gonna have a shot to win,” Potts said. “We have to do that, we have to come out with a sense of urgency like we did tonight, if we put them in a 3-1 hole, it makes it very difficult for them to beat us three times.”
By Dean Barker
The #1 Bridgewater Reds (28-8) led the whole way in a 9-7 game two win over the #3 RCBL Shockers (25-12) on Wednesday, August 9. With the win, the Reds even the RCBL Championship at one game apiece.
Derek Shifflett got the win, pitching nine innings and giving up seven runs on hits with walks and thirteen strikeouts.
“This team’s fun to play for,” Shifflett said. “I think yesterday was not Reds baseball; we brought the energy tonight, we scored early.”
Pearce Bucher took the loss, pitching three and a third innings and giving up eight runs (six earned) on nine hits with no walks and two strikeouts. Kaden Spaid pitched five and two thirds innings, giving up an unearned run on four hits with five walks and three strikeouts.
“It’s not the end of the world, but obviously it’s disappointing,” Shockers head coach Nolan Potts said. “We’ve got to play clean baseball in order to beat a team like that, and they showed offensively what they’re capable of all night long.”
The Reds got on the board first with an RBI single apiece from Corbin Lucas and Derek Shifflett, giving Bridgewater a 2-0 lead.
Grey Sherfey led off the second with what looked to be a triple, but Harrison Madagan tagged first base to record the out, as Sherfey missed the base.
With two on in the third, Lucas singled to bring in the third run. Shifflett helped his cause with a two out, two run single to extend the lead to 5-0.
A two out blooper to right from Luke Keister brought home Jaden Click to get the Shockers on the board. Bucher helped his cause with a two run double to center field to cut the Reds lead to 5-3.
After Brett Tharp’s fourth inning fly to right was lost in the lights, Noah Cornwell drove a two run shot to center field.
“It just felt good to hit something hard and help my team win,” Cornwell said. “I was just looking for a fastball over the plate, and I did my job.”
Chris Huffman followed it up with a bomb to left field to push the Reds lead to 8-3.
“I was just trying to stay within myself,” Huffman said. “I was just trying to stay short to the ball, you know, not being too big for this situation, and like Noah said, just trying to help my team put together a win tonight.”
Frankie Ritter ripped a two out single to center to bring two runs home in the bottom half. After a stolen base and wild pitch, Ritter scored on a single from Keister. Madagan’s RBI single to right would cut the lead to 8-7.
With two outs in the top of the fifth, Chris Huffman singled to right and brought home Jordan Yankey, but Brett Tharp was thrown out at third to end the inning.
The Reds had nine runs on thirteen hits with two errors and twelve base runners stranded. Shifflett was 2-3 with a walk and three RBIs. Cornwell was 2-4 with two walks and two RBIs. Lucas was 3-5 with an RBI. Huffman was 3-6 with an RBI. Sherfey was 1-4 with a walk. Caden Swartley went 1-5. Brett Tharp was 1-5 with a walk.
The Shockers had seven runs on ten hits with four errors and seven runners left on base. Keister went 3-5 with two RBIs. Ritter was 2-5 with two RBIs. Bucher was 1-4 with a walk and two RBIs. Madagan was 1-5 with an RBI. Dawson Russell was 1-3 with a walk. Jaden Click went 2-3.
Game three will be Friday, August 11 at 7:30 pm at Ray Heatwole Field in Bridgewater.
By Dean Barker
The #1 Bridgewater Reds (27-8) gave up five unearned runs on six errors in an 8-3 home loss to the #3 RCBL Shockers (25-11) in game one of the 2023 RCBL Championship. With the win, the Shockers take a 1-0 series lead and are three wins from their second title in three years.
“It’s great to go on the road and get the first one, get home field advantage back, and we’ve gotta keep that going tomorrow at home,” Shockers head coach Nolan Potts said.
Jaden Click picked up the win, throwing five scoreless innings with four hits, a walk and a strikeout. Cam Comins gave up two earned runs in four innings with a hit, five walks and two strikeouts.
“The defense (was the key) for sure,” Click said. “I just tried to throw strikes on all the pitches, the inside part of the zone was huge for me tonight.”
Chris Huffman took the loss, giving up four unearned runs on six hits with one walk and eleven strikeouts. Sam Garber pitched an inning of relief, giving up one unearned run on one hit with no walks and two strikeouts. Jared Peake pitched the ninth, giving up three earned runs on two hits with two walks and no strikeouts.
The Reds got on the board in the fourth with an RBI single from Derek Shifflett and an RBI sacrifice fly from Nick Griffin.
With two on and two outs in the top of the fifth, Antonio Sosa dropped a pop fly from Bodie Pullen that would’ve been the third out, although the ball was ruled foul, nixing the two runs that came home. Pullen recuperated and brought those two runners home with a single, and reached third on a wild throw to first.
“I just had to flush (the foul call), move on to the next pitch,” Pullen said. “Nothing I could do about it at that point, just keep making swings, put the ball in play.”
Matt House broke the tie in the top of the sixth when a two-out fly ball to right was dropped by Brett Tharp, allowing the third Shocker run to score in Pearce Bucher.
Luke Keister doubled with two outs in the top of the seventh to bring in Pullen and make it 4-2 Shockers. Corbin Lucas hit a deep fly to left in the bottom half with one on and two outs, but Pullen was there to reach over the fence and rob the home run.
House doubled in the top of the eighth, and Tharp’s throw to third was wild, allowing Harrison Madagan to push the lead to 5-2.
Pullen scored on a wild pitch in the ninth, and Frankie Ritter came home on a double from Keister, who scored on a wild pitch to Madagan.
“The mentality was that we wanted to go up 1-0 on the series,” Keister said. “We had to get on them early, play good defense, hit the ball, all three phases together, and we did that tonight, and good things happened.”
The Shockers had eight runs on nine hits with one error and eight runners left on base. Keister went 3-5 with two RBIs. Pullen was 1-4 with two RBIs and a walk. House was 1-4 with an RBI and a walk. Bucher and Ritter were both 2-5.
The Reds had two runs on five hits with six errors and eight base runners stranded. Griffin was 1-1 with a walk and an RBI. Shifflett was 1-4 with an RBI. Lucas was 1-2 with two walks. Jordan Yankey was 1-4. Garber went 1-1.
The Shockers will try to go up 1-0 when they host the Reds tonight at 7:30 pm for game two at Spotswood High School. Admission costs $5.
“We’ve got to come out tomorrow and play better than we did tonight,” Potts said. “That’s gonna be the whole key, play better every single night moving forward, and I like our chances.”
By Dean Barker
The #3 RCBL Shockers had a solid offensive night and beat the #2 Clover Hill Bucks 8-3 in game five of the RCBL Semifinals on Sunday, August 6. With the win, the Shockers win the series 3-2 and advance to their third RCBL Finals in four years, while the Bucks finish the season 23-11 and lose their second straight semifinal.
“It is hard to win here (at Buck Bowman Park); the fact that we did it twice is a testament to these guys and the way they play,” Shockers head coach Nolan Potts said.
Matt House got the win for the Shockers, pitching six innings and giving up two earned runs on three hits with three walks and six strikeouts. Kirk Messick threw the first three innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits with a walk and three strikeouts.
“I tried not to leave pitches up, just attack hitters, and let the defense do all the work,” House said.
Tucker Hrasky took the loss to finish the year 3-2, pitching five innings and giving up four earned runs on eight hits with no walks and five strikeouts. Jaden Isidro pitched an inning and two thirds of relief, giving up four earned runs on six hits with no walks and no strikeouts. Reid Long pitched two and a third scoreless innings with no hits, a walk and three strikeouts.
The Shockers got on the board first with an RBI single from Pearce Bucher in the first inning, and an RBI single from Frankie Ritter made it 2-0 in the second.
The Bucks left the bases loaded in the bottom of the second, but tied the game up with back-to-back RBI doubles from Jose Rocha and John Siciliano in the third.
Josh Eberly gave Clover Hill a 3-2 lead with a fielder’s choice grounder to Ritter at shortstop in the fourth.
With two outs in the top of the fifth, Nick Arnold and House came through with RBI singles to give the Shockers a 4-3 lead.
Luke Keister added to the lead with an RBI single in the sixth to make it 5-3.
Kaden Spaid doubled in the seventh, and Bodie Pullen broke it open with a two run double to give the Shockers an 8-3 cushion. Pullen was 0-4 until that at-bat.
“I really just had to get out of my own head,” Pullen said. “I was trying to do too much at the plate, I just had to get back to what I’d been doing all series.”
Lucas Bauer hit a bases-loaded, two out single in the bottom of the ninth to cut the lead to 8-5. Koice Quintanilla came to the plate as the tying run, but grounded out to Ritter to end the game.
The Shockers had eight runs on fourteen hits with one error. Ritter was 3-5 with an RBI. House was 2-5 with an RBI. Keister was 2-3 with an RBI. Pullen was 1-5 with two RBIs. Arnold and Spaid were both 2-4 with an RBI. Bucher was 1-4 with an RBI. Harrison Madagan went 1-5.
The Bucks had five runs on nine hits with no errors. Bauer was 2-5 with two RBIs. Eberly and Siciliano were both 1-4 with an RBI. Quintanilla and Lucas Clark both went 1-4. TJ Johnson was 2-4. Rocha was 1-5 with an RBI.
“It was a good year, but you know, the goal every year is to get to the championship and win it,” Bucks head coach Kevin Chandler said. “So yeah, we got awards, we won 23 games, but it’s disappointing to lose like this and not be in the finals.”
The Shockers will take on the defending RCBL Champions in the #1 Bridgewater Reds for the 2023 RCBL Title. Game one of the best-of seven series will be at Bridgewater on Tuesday, August 8 at 7:30 pm. Home field advantage will alter each game.
“It’s not going to be easy, but we’ve played them well throughout the year,” Potts said. “We’ve gotta come out and just execute our stuff.”
By Dean Barker
The #1 Bridgewater Reds breezed past the #4 Grottoes Cardinals 11-4 in game four of the RCBL Semifinals to win the series 3-1 and advance to their second straight championship series. The Cardinals finished the season 19-15 in their second semifinal appearance in the last four years.
Derek Shifflett pitched a complete game and struck out eleven to get the win and improve to 10-0. Shifflett also pitched an Immaculate fourth inning, which consists of three strikeouts and only nine pitches. That is the second Immaculate inning for the Reds in the last two weeks, as Chris Huffman threw one in the first against the Elkton Blue Sox on July 25.
Trey Deane gave up five runs in three innings to take the loss and finish the season 0-3.
Every single Reds batter had at least one hit. Shifflett was 2-4 with two RBIs on a third inning single that put the game out of reach for good. Liam Simpson was 2-4 with four RBIs.
With their backs to the wall, the #2 Clover Hill Bucks stayed alive with a 7-2 win at the #3 RCBL Shockers. The win tied the series at 2-2 and forced a decisive game five on Sunday, August 6 at 7:30 pm.
Sam Imeson struck out four in eight innings to get the win and improve to 6-3. Kaden Spaid gave up six runs in six innings to take the loss and fall to 0-4.
Every Bucks batter in the starting lineup reached base at least once. John Siciliano went 1-4 with three RBIs, including a first inning two run double that gave the Bucks the lead for good. Kevin Navedo went 2-4 with a walk and a run scored.
The winner of Sunday’s game five at Clover Hill will travel to the defending RCBL champion Bridgewater Reds on Tuesday, August 8th at 7:30 pm.
By Dean Barker
The #3 RCBL Shockers overcame a 4-2 deficit and beat the #2 Clover Hill Bucks 7-5 in game three of the RCBL Semifinals. With the win, the Shockers are one win away from their third championship appearance in the last four years.
Matt House pitched the whole game, striking out six to get the win. Reid Long gave up six runs in six innings to take the loss.
Tied at 4-4 in the sixth, Luke Keister grounded into a force out at second, but reached first to allow two runs to score. Bucks first baseman Luke Shifflett was injured during the play, and was taken off the field on a golf cart. With a runner on first and one out in the ninth, Lucas Bauer’s liner was caught by House and thrown to first for the game-ending double play.
Game four will be tonight at 7:30 pm at Spotswood High School.
“We’ve got the upper hand in the series, so we’ve got to come out and play like our hair’s on fire, like it’s a must win (like we have the last two nights), and we’ll see where the chips fall at the end,” Shockers head coach Nolan Potts said.
The #1 Bridgewater Reds, two nights after being shut out at the #4 Grottoes Cardinals, returned the favor with a 3-0 win in game three of the RCBL semifinals. The Reds are one win away from their fifth finals appearance in the last seven years.
Joe Christopher pitched eight shutout innings with eight strikeouts to get the win. Derek Shifflett pitched a scoreless ninth to get the save. Despite an eight strikeout performance, Tucker Garrison gave up two runs in six innings to take the loss.
Bridgewater scored on an RBI single from Chris Huffman in the third, a sacrifice groundout from Jordan Yankey in the fourth, and a fielder’s choice grounder from Shifflett in the seventh. The Cardinals were held to five hits.
Game four will be tonight at Mountain View Park in Grottoes at 7:30 pm.
“Just start hot, put the barrel on the ball, and let things happen,” Shifflett said.
By Dean Barker
The Grottoes Cardinals scored six runs in the first and never looked back in a 10-0 eight inning win over the Bridgewater Reds on Monday, July 31. With the win, the Cardinals evened the RCBL Semifinals at 1-1.
“(The key was) really jumping out early, getting that lead early, swinging the bats well in that first inning and putting up six runs… and we hit all the way through the lineup, so that was a really good start for us,” Cardinals head coach Tim Nicely said.
Eli Lam pitched six scoreless innings to get the win, giving up three hits and three walks with twelve strikeouts. Adam Dofflemeyer pitched two scoreless innings in relief, allowing one hit with no walks and three strikeouts.
“You know, it’s (a) semifinal game, but the game doesn’t change; you pound the zone, you let your guys work, let them make some plays behind you, and try to hit your spots as best you can,” Lam said.
Nick Griffin took the loss for Bridgewater, giving up seven runs (six earned) on twelve hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Jared Peake pitched a scoreless sixth with no hits, two walks and a strikeout. Landen Campbell threw an inning and two thirds, giving up three earned runs on one hit with five walks and three strikeouts.
Grottoes got started with bases loaded singles from Whit Scafidi and Garrett Huffman in the first. Natty Solomon and Jacob Merica had back-to-back RBI doubles to add to the Cardinal lead, Solomon plating two and Merica driving in one. Garrett Gargano reached on an error, allowing Merica to score and make it 6-0 Cardinals.
Following a Solomon single in the third, Merica doubled to extend the lead to 7-0 Grottoes.
“There was a good pitcher (Chris Huffman) on the mound last night, but we still had a bunch of good at-bats, we just kept that going through tonight,” Merica said. “You know, swing at strikes, take balls, make them come to us and be aggressive when we do get strikes, hit balls in the gaps, and score when we have guys on.”
Dylan Nicely was walked with the bases loaded in the seventh, and Scafidi’s sacrifice fly scored Dalton Nicely to push the lead to 9-0.
A bases loaded walk to Cameron Irvine in the bottom of the eighth ended the game at 10-0 Grottoes.
The Cardinals had ten runs on thirteen hits with two errors and fourteen runners left on base. Merica led the way, going 3-4 with two RBIs. Solomon was 2-4 with two RBIs. Dylan Nicely went 2-4 with an RBI. Irvine was 2-5 with an RBI. Scafidi was 1-3 with two RBIs. Huffman was 1-4 with an RBI. Clayton Michael and Gargano were both 1-4.
The Reds had no runs on four hits with one error and ten runners left on base. Derek Shifflett was 2-4, and Corbin Lucas and Liam Simpson both went 1-4.
Game three will be at Ray Heatwole Field in Bridgewater on Wednesday, August 2 at 7:30 pm.
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