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By Mitchell Broughton
Facing elimination down two games to one in the semifinals, the Bridgewater Reds survive one more day as they hold Broadway’s comeback just short of success, defeating the Bruins 7-6 last night at Montezuma Ruritan Park.
The Reds held a 4-3 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning as they came up to bat. Jonathan Sexton led off taking the first pitch into the gap for a stand up double. He scored the next at-bat after Jacob Grabeel singled to right field. Two batters later, after Brett Tharp was put on after getting hit by a pitch, Derek Shifflett singled into the right field gap, scoring Grabeel and Tharp before getting thrown out trying to advance to second. Bridgewater increased their lead to 7-3 heading into the final inning.
In the top of the ninth the batting order favored the Bruins. Leading off was the MVP, Chase DeLauter, who was intentionally walked — the eighth time this has happened during the playoffs. Travis Reifsnider would get his first hit of the ball game, a single that would score DeLauter from first to cut the deficit to 7-4. Two batters later, after John Judy was walked, Cole Holsinger singled over the second baseman’s head to score Reifsnider from second. Natty Solomon would get a hit to load up the bases with no outs. A couple batters later it was Anthony Piccolino’s single that would drive in another run for Broadway after relief pitcher Derek Shifflett was just a little late trying to get the force out at the plate. With bases loaded a two outs, Tyler Ault, who was the only Bruin who did not record a base hit in the ball game, took the first pitch deep into the opposite field but the line drive was caught by Reds’ right fielder Corbin Lucas at the warning track, putting an end to Broadway’s ninth inning rally.
Both teams recorded 13 base hits during the contest. Bridgewater was led by Derek Shifflett, who went 3-for-4 last night with a double, two RBIs, and two runs scored himself. Chase DeLauter was 2-for-3 for Broadway with two doubles and one run scored. Strawderman, Holsinger, and Solomon each had a pair of hits as well, but the Bruins left 14 runners on base. They haven’t had trouble getting runners on, but have struggled recently getting runs to score. In the last three games Broadway has left a total of 43 runners stranded on base, compared to Bridgewater’s 22.
Tanner Moyers, the Reds’ starting pitcher, had quite the performance in his second start of the series. Moyers, in five innings, struckout five, walked one and only allowed two earned runs against one of the most lethal offenses in the RCBL. Brett Whiteman and Liam McDonnell combined for eight innings on the mound for Broadway, striking out five, walking four, and letting up 13 base hits.
Tonight there will be a deciding game five at JMU’s Eagle Field. The winner moves on to the finals while the loser goes home and is eliminated. It is a survive and advance situation for both teams. Recently, the Bruins have won both meetings at Eagle Field but the Reds have been one of the only teams to beat Broadway at their home field this season when they won 10-4 back on July 15. Both semifinal series are going to a fifth game, and both games will be electric.
FINAL: Bridgewater 7 Broadway 6. Win: Tanner Moyers (1-3). Loss: Brett Whiteman (3-2). Save: Derek Shifflett
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