ELKTON - After a wild victory in Game One, the Elkton Blue Sox knew they had a massive challenge going into Game Two. Could they really pull off the dramatic upset and defeat the vaunted number two seed New Market Shockers for a second time?
By the end of the night, they had their answer. Elkton starting pitcher Kris Lalk threw a complete game, racking up twenty strikeouts with only three hits allowed, leading the Blue Sox to their series-clinching 4-1 victory over the Shockers.
The game started off as a classic pitcher’s duel, with Lalk and Shockers’ starter Adam Miller each throwing four near-perfect innings. The Shockers briefly took the lead in the top of the fifth on a series of errors from the Blue Sox defense, but Elkton responded in the bottom of the frame by scoring on a passed ball.
After a scoreless frame in the top of the sixth by Lalk, the Blue Sox took the lead on a solo shot by Lee Carneal, and Cannon Davies hit an RBI single to stretch the lead to 3-1. Carneal mashed another home run in the seventh, and then all the Blue Sox had to do was sit back and watch Lalk finish the game off.
“Personally, I’ve never seen it,” Carneal said with a laugh about Lalk’s pitching performance. “It makes playing behind him really easy. I mean, 20 K’s speaks for itself.”
Lalk, for his part, was quick to put the spotlight on his teammates.
“It was a team effort,” Lalk explained after the game. “A lot of our guys were able to step up tonight...I’m pretty proud of our guys.”
Elkton came into the playoffs as the seventh seed, fueled by a late-season surge to jump out of the 8th spot. Facing a dynamic Shockers lineup, the Blue Sox were able to scrap a win in the extra innings of Game One, then come into Game Two and secure the series victory.
“It’s a little bit surprising, to be honest with you,” Carneal admitted. “But we want to ride it as long as we can.”
Now, the Blue Sox will turn their attention to the Clover Hill - Grottoes series. Grottoes was able to deliver a walk-off victory against Clover Hill Thursday night to force a Game Three. If the heavily favored Bucks can win Game Three, they will automatically lock in as Elkton’s opponent in the semifinals. If Grottoes can pull off the upset, Elkton will have to wait for the other two series to wrap up to discover their opponent.
Stay tuned to the RCBL website to follow the rest of the playoff action, or get out and watch it live! The three other quarterfinals series are back in action tonight in Broadway, Clover Hill and Stuarts Draft. All games have the first pitch scheduled for 7:30 PM.