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By Dean Barker
In a matchup of what Broadway head coach Chip Abernathy described as their “most heated rivalry,” the Broadway Bruins were able to emerge victorious at the Montezuma Braves, winning 7-4 in ten innings on Wednesday, July 7. After going down 3-2 in the fourth inning, Broadway added five runs in the last three innings of the game to pull it out. With the win, the Bruins improve to 8-4, and are just a half game behind the New Market Shockers for first place. The loss dropped the Braves to 7-5 and a tie with the Clover Hill Bucks for third.
The Bruins were able to overcome a solid pitching performance from Hunter Clever, who gave up two runs and struck out nine in seven innings to get the no-decision. Elijah Dunlap gave up two runs on two homers in the eighth and ninth innings. Jacob Dunford took the loss for Montezuma, giving up three fatal runs in the top of the tenth.
Trevor Thomas picked up the win for Broadway, pitching the final three innings and giving up one run on a wild throw. James Riddel started for the Bruins, giving up one run and striking out five in two and two thirds’ innings. Jacob Petersheim pitched four and a third, giving up two runs on one hit and striking out four.
The Bruins got on the board in the second inning with a two out, two run double from Ben Reid. Broadway managed to escape a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the first, and Montezuma would strand two in the bottom of the second.
Broadway would threaten again in the top of the third, loading the bases with one out. However, Bryce Turner would line out to Gavin Rush at third, and Clever would strike out Peyton Davis to sneak out unharmed. Isiah Blanks would reach on an error in the bottom half, and after stealing second and third, PJ Hanisak would bring him home with a sacrifice fly. The Braves would load the bases again with two outs, at which point Riddel was pulled for Petersheim, who would strike out Forrest Shuey to end the inning.
Michael Robertson would lead off the bottom of the fourth with a single, steal second, and reach third on a sacrifice fly from JT Stevenson. Blanks would then rip a no-doubter over the left field wall to give the Braves a 3-2 lead.
As he is known to do, Coach Abernathy decided to bring in many pinch hitters late in the game. Stepping in for Bryce Turner, Jaydon Nixon led off the top of the eighth with a solo shot to right field to tie the game at 3. Justin Lohr would walk and reach second, but Jett Shue would fly out to right to end the inning. The Braves would go 1-2-3 in the bottom of the eighth.
Dunlap retired the first two batters in the top of the ninth, but Caleb Taylor would rip a fly ball deep to center field. Robertson leaped at the wall, but it was just too far, as Taylor’s homer would put the Bruins up 4-3.
Blanks would lead off the bottom of the ninth with a double to right field. The next batter would strike out, but Blanks would try for third on the third strike, causing a wild throw from the catcher Cole Morris. The throw went into left field and allowed Blanks to score the tying run, which sent the game to the tenth inning.
Dunford would retire Peyton Davis on a bunt to begin extras. However, thanks to the extra inning base runner rule, the bunt moved Nixon to third with one out. Justin Lohr would walk and then steal second. Morris would bunt Nixon home and reach first safely to make the score 5-4. Morris would steal second, and Natty Solomon would drive in Lohr with a single, moving Morris to third. Solomon would steal second, and Trent Abernathy would add one more with a sacrifice fly to right to make the score 7-4.
In the bottom of the tenth, Thomas would strike out Rush and Wyatt Campbell, and Clever would ground out to second to end the game.
The Bruins picked up the win despite leaving 13 runners on base and making three errors, while the Braves left 12 on and made no errors.
For Broadway, Reid went 1-4 with two RBIs. Turner was 1-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Caleb Taylor went 2-6 with an RBI and a run scored. The Bruins had a total of ten hits.
For Montezuma, Blanks went 2-5 with two RBIs and three runs scored. Robertson went 2-3 with a walk and a run scored. Hanisak was 0-3 with an RBI sacrifice fly. Kyle Armstrong was 1-3 with two walks. Rush went 1-5. The Braves had a total of six hits.
Coach Abernathy says this win had a lot to do with his team’s youth, as only five players remain from last year’s RCBL champion Bruins.
“Even when we’re down, they don’t give up, and that’s a testament to them being young, and kind of dumb sometimes,” Abernathy said. “They just didn’t know they were supposed to give up, so they keep fighting and fighting, and once they get ahead, they start digging in better.”
The Bruins and Braves will face off again tonight at 7:30 pm in Broadway in the last first half game for both teams. With a win, the Bruins will be tied with the Shockers for first place going into the All-Star Break. A win for Montezuma would clinch the regular season series against Broadway, which also ends tonight.
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