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By Dean Barker
The Grottoes Cardinals scored six runs in the first and never looked back in a 10-0 eight inning win over the Bridgewater Reds on Monday, July 31. With the win, the Cardinals evened the RCBL Semifinals at 1-1.
“(The key was) really jumping out early, getting that lead early, swinging the bats well in that first inning and putting up six runs… and we hit all the way through the lineup, so that was a really good start for us,” Cardinals head coach Tim Nicely said.
Eli Lam pitched six scoreless innings to get the win, giving up three hits and three walks with twelve strikeouts. Adam Dofflemeyer pitched two scoreless innings in relief, allowing one hit with no walks and three strikeouts.
“You know, it’s (a) semifinal game, but the game doesn’t change; you pound the zone, you let your guys work, let them make some plays behind you, and try to hit your spots as best you can,” Lam said.
Nick Griffin took the loss for Bridgewater, giving up seven runs (six earned) on twelve hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Jared Peake pitched a scoreless sixth with no hits, two walks and a strikeout. Landen Campbell threw an inning and two thirds, giving up three earned runs on one hit with five walks and three strikeouts.
Grottoes got started with bases loaded singles from Whit Scafidi and Garrett Huffman in the first. Natty Solomon and Jacob Merica had back-to-back RBI doubles to add to the Cardinal lead, Solomon plating two and Merica driving in one. Garrett Gargano reached on an error, allowing Merica to score and make it 6-0 Cardinals.
Following a Solomon single in the third, Merica doubled to extend the lead to 7-0 Grottoes.
“There was a good pitcher (Chris Huffman) on the mound last night, but we still had a bunch of good at-bats, we just kept that going through tonight,” Merica said. “You know, swing at strikes, take balls, make them come to us and be aggressive when we do get strikes, hit balls in the gaps, and score when we have guys on.”
Dylan Nicely was walked with the bases loaded in the seventh, and Scafidi’s sacrifice fly scored Dalton Nicely to push the lead to 9-0.
A bases loaded walk to Cameron Irvine in the bottom of the eighth ended the game at 10-0 Grottoes.
The Cardinals had ten runs on thirteen hits with two errors and fourteen runners left on base. Merica led the way, going 3-4 with two RBIs. Solomon was 2-4 with two RBIs. Dylan Nicely went 2-4 with an RBI. Irvine was 2-5 with an RBI. Scafidi was 1-3 with two RBIs. Huffman was 1-4 with an RBI. Clayton Michael and Gargano were both 1-4.
The Reds had no runs on four hits with one error and ten runners left on base. Derek Shifflett was 2-4, and Corbin Lucas and Liam Simpson both went 1-4.
Game three will be at Ray Heatwole Field in Bridgewater on Wednesday, August 2 at 7:30 pm.
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