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By Dean Barker
Thanks to solid pitching and a huge first inning at the plate, the Grottoes Cardinals picked up their first win of the season at the undefeated Clover Hill Bucks 7-1 on Monday, June 14. The game was a makeup from June 11, which had been postponed due to rain. Grottoes was able to avenge a 4-2 loss from opening night to Clover Hill. With the win, the Cardinals improved to 1-2 on the year, while the Bucks fell to 3-1.
Tucker Garrison picked up the win with five innings pitched and three strikeouts, while at the plate he was 0-2 with two walks, a hit by pitch and a run scored. Coming in relief for Grottoes, Eli Lam got the no-decision with seven strikeouts in three innings pitched. Steven Woerner took the loss for Clover Hill, giving up seven runs on four hits and four walks in five innings, despite throwing seven strikeouts.
The Cardinals wasted no time getting to work, scoring four runs in the first with a Keegan Wolford three run bomb over the right field bleachers, followed by Dylan Nicely scoring on an error from left fielder Josh Eberly. The following inning, Nicely would bring in one run on a single, and another scored on a throwing error from center fielder Blake Sipe. Grottoes would add an extra run when Tucker Garrison came home on a Boogie Saunders grounder. The Bucks would get on the board in the bottom half with a RBI single from Tyler Bocock, but after Bocock was caught in a rundown, the threat was over.
The Clover Hill bullpen, with two innings each from Brady Cockerham and Sam Imeson, did all it could to set the Bucks up for a comeback, only allowing three runners to reach base. However, it all proved to be futile. With two on and two outs, Kevin Kirk hit what looked to be a breakthrough RBI single for the Bucks in the bottom of the eighth, but Cardinals center fielder Boogie Saunders was there to make the diving catch.
The Bucks were plagued by their inability to bring runners home, leaving 11 runners on base with just five hits and three walks. The Cardinals managed to score seven runs despite only having five hits and five walks for the evening. With four stolen bases, all in the first inning, Grottoes was able to scrape runs together, despite leaving nine runners on base.
Wolford felt the combination of powerful offense and stellar pitching is why the Cardinals were victorious.
“The pitching was huge tonight. It’s always good, when you put up a couple runs, you throw those guys out on the mound, you know you’ll get shutdown innings out of them,” Wolford told RCBL’s Dean Barker.
After two days off, the Cardinals will hope to stay hot when they host the Montezuma Braves on June 17 at 7:30 pm. The Bucks will aim to get back to their winning ways when they host the New Market Shockers at the same date and time.
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