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By Dean Barker
The #5 Broadway Bruins soundly defeated the #4 Montezuma Braves 13-5 in game one of the RCBL Quarterfinals on Tuesday, June 27 at Ruritan Field. The defending champion Bruins are one win away from going back to the semifinals, while the Braves will have to bounce back with two in a row to advance.
In his RCBL Playoff debut, Jacob Bell got the complete game win to move to 3-0, giving up two earned runs and nine hits with fourteen strikeouts. Hunter Clever took the loss to fall to 0-1, giving up seven runs on six hits in three innings. Clever went 2-4 with three RBIs and a run scored. Donald Seekford relieved him, giving up six runs on seven hits in four innings.
Other than a leadoff ground rule double from Kyle Armstrong, Bell was perfect through the first three innings. This would allow the Bruins to take the lead in the second and never look back. Devon Neal drove in Jett Shue with a single to center field. Bryce Turner came home on a wild pitch, and Trent Abernathy drove in Justin Lohr and Ben Hutcheson with an RBI single to make it 4-0 Broadway.
In the fourth, a double from Caleb Taylor would plate one, followed by RBI singles from Shue and Neal. Turner would reach first on an error from shortstop Isaiah Blanks, which also allowed Shue to score and make the deficit 8-0. In the bottom half, Blanks would reach first on an error from third baseman Jaydon Nixon, and then scored on a two-run homer from Clever. Tyler Smith would single, and Gavin Rush would drive him in with a two out RBI double to cut the lead to 8-3.
Nixon would make up for his error with an RBI single in the sixth. Lohr would then reach on an error from Blanks, which allowed Turner to score. Abernathy hit a sacrifice fly to left field to bring Nixon home, and a single from Trevor Thomas would make the score 12-3.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Neal and Turner would walk. Hutcheson came through with an RBI single to push the lead to 13-3. Bell would strike out the side in the bottom half. Had it been the regular season, the mercy rule would have ended the game at this point.
Clever would drive in Armstrong with a single in the bottom of the eighth, and JT Stevenson brought in Owen Marshall with a two-out RBI single in the ninth, but Bell would strike out Armstrong to end the game.
The Bruins left twelve runners on base, and had two errors, leading to three unearned runs. The Braves stranded five and had four errors, resulting in two unearned runs.
Abernathy was 1-4 with three RBIs and one run scored. Neal went 3-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Shue went 2-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Taylor went 2-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Lohr was 1-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Broadway collected 13 hits.
Clever was 2-4 with three RBIs and a run scored. Rush went 2-4 with an RBI. Stevenson was 1-4 with an RBI. Armstrong was 2-5 with a run scored. Montezuma had nine hits.
Bell said he would not have been able to pitch as well if he did not have the bats working behind him.
“Probably one of the biggest keys to the game, they (Broadway) put up all the runs,” Bell said. “(It) gives me a lot of confidence to go out there. I don’t have to pitch around people, I can go right at them, and I can give up a couple of runs here and there, but it gives me a huge confidence boost. They did a great job tonight.”
The Bruins will host the Braves tonight, July 28, at Broadway High School for game two at 7:30 pm. Should the Braves win game two, they would host a decisive game three on Thursday, July 29 at Ruritan Field at 7:30 pm.
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