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By Mitchell Broughton
Down two games to none in the semifinal series and facing elimination, Grottoes pulled off the unlikely at Rebel Park — coming back to defeat New Market 5-2 in 11 innings.
CJ Morton came in for relief in the tenth inning, but it was his struggles in the 11th that lost them the game. Morton walked three batters in the top of the final inning, allowing three runs to score for Grottoes.
New Market, for most of the evening, was led by All-RCBL left hander Darrell Thompson. In nine innings, Thompson struck out 12 batters and gave up only two hits and one earned run. In the playoffs so far he has recorded 41 strikeouts in a little over 21 innings pitched.
Tucker Garrison and Eric Watkins pitched last night for Grottoes. Garrison had four strikeouts and eight hits over seven innings, but Watkins saved the game and secured the win for the Cardinals. Watkins, in four innings, had seven strikeouts and only two hits in a scoreless outing.
Three Shockers each had a pair of hits last night: Nick Goode, Pearce Bucher, and Ty Bennett. Goode tied the game up at 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning after hitting a two-run homer into the left field bullpen. New Market had multiple opportunities to add to their lead late in the game, but could never seem to get runs across. They finished with ten runners left on base.
Cam Irvine had the lone RBI for Grottoes with an early solo home run. He finished the game with two hits and two runs scored himself. Grottoes was out-hit by New Market 10-5 but their bullpen proved to be superior, giving them the win.
Game four will be played tonight at Shifflett Field down in Grottoes. The Cardinals need to win to stay in and force a game five; if New Market wins, they advance to the finals.
FINAL (11): Grottoes 5 New Market 2. Win: Eric Watkins (2-1). Loss: CJ Morton (0-1).
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