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By: Mitchell Broughton
For the last few seasons there have been familiar faces in the RCBL championship series. The Bridgewater Reds and Clover Hill Bucks have clashed in the finals repeatedly since 2017, Bridgewater claimed the titles in ‘17 and ‘18. The Reds hope that 2020 is no different — it’s championship or bust.
“That’s why these guys play, to get to the championship series,” Reds manager Robert Sherfey said. “They’re competitors and that’s just the ways these boys were brought up — they play to win.”
Like most teams in the league, the Reds are welcoming some new and returning faces back to their roster this summer. Arguably the most impactful addition in the entire league is James Madison pitcher and former Red, Justin Showalter. The right-hander started out the 2020 season for the Dukes 4-0 with a 0.68 ERA. Sherfey had nothing but praise for the Bridgewater native, “[Showalter] is just a great asset, he’s going to really bring the best out of the rest of the team.” Also joining the Reds from JMU is another right-hander, Liam Grubbs.
Grubbs and Showalter are just two of the dozen or so arms that Coach Sherfey has compiled to help with the condensed schedule. He noted that every team this season is going to be star-studded, “This is gonna be a good year for the battle, any team could win it.” What’s going to be the difference maker is how each team handles their pitching with 21 regular season games in just over a month.
However, the true strength of the Reds will be in their core group of returning veterans. Coming back for what will be his seventh season in a Bridgewater uniform, Grey Sherfey aims to continue his strong stint with the Reds after batting .444 last season with 16 RBIs. Another big bat coming back to Bridgewater is reigning RCBL MVP Corbin Lucas. Lucas led the league last season with 43 RBIs while batting .483 through the entirety of the 2019 season. Finalizing the three-headed offensive dragon for the Reds is Jacob Grabeel who finished last season batting .314 with 17 RBIs and 4 home runs.
Robert Sherfey has been with and around the County League since he was young and with his son Grey now the oldest veteran on his roster (however just 22 years old), he knows the formula to win a championship — effort. “I expect no less than 110% from these boys,” Sherfey said. “I come out every day giving it all to them because I know that’s what I’ll get back in return.”
Bridgewater opens up the 2020 season on Saturday June 27th at Diamond Park to take on Stuarts Draft at 7:30pm.
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