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By Dean Barker
The Clover Hill Bucks took an early lead at the Bridgewater Reds Friday, July 16, and never looked back, winning 7-4. With their fourth straight win, Clover Hill moved to 10-6 and two games out of first. Bridgewater fell to 4-12.
Jacob Grabeel took the win to move to 1-0, with no runs, no hits, and three strikeouts in pitching the fifth and sixth innings. Tucker Hrasky picked up the save, striking out one in one inning of relief. Dylan Horne took the loss to fall to 0-1, giving up five runs in one and two-thirds innings.
The Bucks loaded the bases in the first. John Siciliano was walked, and Ross French was hit to bring home two runs to make it 2-0 Clover Hill. Brett Tharp would hit a solo shot in the bottom of the first to cut the lead to 2-1.
The Bucks would load the bases again in the second, and once again, Siciliano walked to bring one home, where Horne would be replaced by Pablo Suarez. Cole Jenkins would plate two with an RBI single to make the score 5-1. Grey Sherfey would walk, and then steal second and third. On a wild ball four to Xavier Moore, Sherfey would come home to make it 5-2.
Alex Knicely would lead off the third with a single, and Josh Eberly would follow up with a double. Kevin Kirk was then walked to load the bases. On a swing that was meant to be a check swing, Kevin Navedo pushed one past Hunter Miller at first to bring home the Bucks’ last two runs, making the score 7-2. With the bases loaded in the bottom half, Jonathan Sexton grounded into a fielder’s choice at third, bringing home a run to cut it to 7-3. The Reds would load the bases again, but Moore would strand them with a strikeout swinging.
Antonio Florentino-Sosa led off the top of the seventh with a solo home run to left. After a Noah Cornwell single and Sexton and Jared Meadows were hit, the bases were loaded for Derek Shifflett with two outs, but he would strike out swinging to end the inning. The game was stopped after eight innings due to the league’s time limit.
The Bucks left a surprising 14 runners on base, and had no errors in the field. Bridgewater stranded twelve, and had three errors which led to three unearned runs.
Navedo went 1-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Siciliano went 0-2 with two RBIs. Jenkins went 2-4 with two RBIs. Ross French was 1-4 with one RBI. Josh Eberly went 3-4 with two runs scored. Kevin Kirk was 1-3 with three runs scored. The Bucks had eight total hits.
The Reds were led in defeat by Sosa, who went 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Tharp went 1-2 with an RBI and a run scored. Miller went 1-5 with a run scored. Sexton went 0-2 with one RBI. Cornwell went 2-4. The Reds had six hits.
Bucks head coach Kevin Chandler said his team is starting to play solid baseball, and that has led to their three game win streak.
“We’re just starting to put it together. We’re playing better ball; defense, pitching, and hitting. Timely hitting,” Chandler said. “If we can just keep doing that, and focus in on ourselves, not necessarily our opponent, we’ll be fine.”
Clover Hill will have a huge matchup tonight (7/17), as they travel to Montezuma to take on the Bucks at 7:30 pm. Both teams are tied for second place. The Reds will have a day to recuperate before hosting the Grottoes Cardinals Sunday, July 18 at 6:30 pm.
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