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By Leyton Pullin
On Sunday July 18 the Bridgewater Reds defeated the Grottoes Cardinals 11-10 on a walk off sacrifice fly by Antonio Sosa. The Reds trailed by as much as 7 runs during the game.
Grottoes got the scoring started right away in the top of the 1st. Clayton Michael doubled and was followed by a Keegan Woolford walk to put two runners on and one out. Dylan Nicely came up next and grounded a ball to Derek Shifflett at short. Shifflett flipped it to second for one and the ball to second for one then the throw to turn two sailed into the Grottoes dugout allowing Michael to score and put the Cardinals on top 1-0.
Bridgewater would strike back in the bottom of the 2nd as Antonio Sosa lead off the inning with a groundball to third base that was in and out of the glove of Dalton Nicely at third base allowing him to reach. Jonathan Sexton delivered later in the inning with a double to center field that allowed Sosa to score and tie the game 1-1.
The 4th inning was where both teams’ offenses took over the game. Grottoes put up 7 runs i-n the top half of the inning highlighted by a Keegan Woolford Grand Slam to put the Cardinals on top 8-1. Bridgewater responded in the bottom half putting up 6 runs of their own including a Noah Cornwell 2 Run homerun. The Reds pulled the game back to within one run at 8-7.
Both relievers Tyler Pullin for Grottoes and Nick Griffin shut down the offenses until the bottom of the 7th when the Bridgewater Reds saw Pullin for the second time through the order. Cornwell led off the inning with a single and then stole second later in the inning. Sexton did his job with a sacrifice fly to move Cornwell to third base with one down. Grey Sherfey delivered next up with a RBI single to score Cornwell and tie the game. Following a Jarrod Meadows walk Derek Shifflett saw one pitch and took it for an RBI single to score Sherfey and put the Reds up by a run. Bridgewater put up one last run in the inning as Corbin Lucas hit into a fielder’s choice to drive in the third run of the inning for Bridgewater and put them ahead 10-7.
Grottoes responded in the top of the 8th taking advantage of wild pitches off of Chris Huffman. Grottoes put two on o start the inning as Woolford walked and then was followed by a Dylan Nicely single. Jacob Zoller came to the plate next and put a ball in play that fell down for a single to score Woolford. During the next at bat Nicely would take third on a wild pitch moving the tying run to 90 feet from scoring. Later in the inning Huffman would throw another wild pitch getting away from sexton allowing for Nicely to score easily to tie the game. Grottoes capitalized on another wild pitch later in the inning as Zoller took off for home and when sexton got to throw ball no one was covering home allowing Zoller to score easily to put Grottoes in front 11-10.
Bridgewater would be forced to go back to work in the bottom half of the 8th trailing. Sosa opened the inning with a fly out to center before Cornwell grounded a ball to first base that went off the shoulder of Witt Scafidi and into right field. This allowed Cornwell to reach second as well on the error. The next hitter up was Sexton who was sat down on strikes with some fireworks as he and Pullin exchanged a few words before Sexton was restrained by Shifflett. Jarrod Meadows came to the plate next with a chance to tie the game with runners at the corners as Grey Sherfey had hit into a fielder choice just before. Meadows hit a RBI single in the gap to score Cornwell and tie the game.
Huffman went back to work for the Reds in the 9th and retired the heart of the Grottoes order in order to give his team a chance in the bottom of the 9th. Bridgewater went to work right away as Brett Tharpe walked to lead off the inning. Corbin Lucas came up next and crushed a ball down the left field line that had the distance but tailed foul at the dismay of the Reds dugout. Lucas delivered a pitch later off of Clayton Michael as he hit a single to move Tharpe to third base. Sosa came to the plate next with the chance to win the game for the Reds. Sosa hit a fly ball to right field that was cleanly caught by Woolford. Tharpe tagged up at third and took off to home standing up to walk it off for the Reds 11-10.
For Grottoes they drop to 9-9 on the season with just three games left on the schedule. Clayton Michael (0-2) takes the loss for Grottoes after coming in for Pullin in the bottom of the 8th. Grottoes put up 10 runs off of 11 hits and 1 Reds error. The Cardinals also committed 4 errors in the game unofficially continuing their struggles defensively. The Cardinals will look to avoid a 3-game losing skid as they travel to Montezuma (10-7) on Tuesday July 20 in the RCBL Game of the Week on WSVA at 7:30PM.
For Bridgewater they pick up their second win over Grottoes on the season to clinch the season series. Chris Huffman (1-1) picks up the win for the Reds. The former El Paso Chihuahua threw 2 innings giving up 0 runs and struck out 5. Manager Sherfey said, “We’re trying to find ourselves and now is the time to do it… I love the way they fight.” The Reds faced deficits throughout the night and trailed by as much as 7 in the 4th inning and fighting is what they had to do as 8 out of the 9 players in the line up had RBis. The Reds (5-12) will travel to take on Stuarts Draft (10-7) on July 20th as they look to play spoiler against the D-backs who still would have a chance at the regular season pennant if they were to win out and New Market were to lose their next three games.
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.
By Leyton Pullin
On Friday July 16 the Montezuma Braves shut out the Grottoes Cardinals 9-0 behind Lance Tate’s dominant start.
Both starters Tucker Garrison for Grottoes and Tate cruised through their first inning of work before there were two away in the top of the 2nd. Tyler Smith took a pitch for a ride to left field for a solo home run to put Montezuma up 1-0 early.
Tate did not allow a hit until there was two away in the 3rd as Clayton Michael broke up the no hitter with a single past Isiah Blanks at short stop that allowed David Wood to reach third base after he had walked earlier in the inning. That was the furthest any runner would make it for the Cardinals in the game as both were left stranded as Keegan Woolford flew out to shallow centerfield to end the 3rd.
Both teams put runners aboard with one out singles in the 4th but again runners were left stranded on both occasions. It was Gavin Rush for the Braves and Jacob Zoller for the Cardinals.
Montezuma recorded their first lead off hit of the night in the 5th as Grant Thomas got aboard with an infield single that got past Garrison and rolled to a stop in front of second base to allow him to reach safely. Thomas was put out the next at bat as Isiah Blanks hit into a nice 4-6-3 double play by the Cardinals. This would be the end of the nice defense for the Cardinals as a sloppy 6th inning was to follow.
Garrison retired the first two hitters in the 6th via the ground out before Jacob Critzer came to the plate and hit a solo home run to dead center field right over top of the 375-foot sign to stretch the lead to 2-0. Rush followed with a single of his own to put him on first. Owen Marshall came to the plate next and hit a ground ball to Jacob Dansey at third base. Dansey fielded it cleanly but did not make a throw that was catchable to Wood at first allowing Marshall to reach and for Rush to reach third base. Next in the box was Tyler Smith who also hit a ground ball to Dansey that was fielded and again thrown off target to wood allowing Smith to reach and for Rush to score and extend the lead to 3-0.
Montezuma got another chance in the 7th as Kyle Armstrong hit a lead off single to start the inning. P.J. Hanisak followed him up later in the inning with a double off the wall in left field. Armstrong appeared to have come into score on the play but Garrison made a super heads up play and appealed that Armstrong missed third base. Garrison stepped on the rubber stepped off and then made the throw to third for the appeal and sure enough the base umpire ruled Armstrong out for missing third base saving a run.
Grottoes had a chance in the 8th as Montezuma went to the bullpen for the first time and called upon TR Williams in relief. Witt Scafidi pinch hit for David Wood in the nine spot and delivered with a single. Williams settled in sitting down the next two hitters on strike before Keegan Woolford drew a walk. With two on and two out Grottoes had another chance with the RCBL leader in RBIs Dylan Nicely coming to the plate. Uncharacteristically Nicely was sat down on strikes as he chased a fast ball well above the zone for the final pitch of the inning.
Coming into the 9th Grottoes stayed with their starter Garrison but that proved to be a bit of a struggle for Garrison as he faced 5 hitters who all 5 reached and all 5 scored, only 4 were earned runs. Ty Lam was called upon to try and limit the bleeding and eventually did allowing one more run unearned as he himself allowed that runner to reach as he did not field a ground ball cleanly. In the top of the 9th in total Montezuma added 6 runs off of 5 hits and 2 errors to stretch the lead to 9-0.
Grottoes came to the plate in the bottom of the 9th down by 9. The first two hitters of the inning were retired by a strike out and a ground out as Drue Hackenburg took over for the Braves. Garrison came up next and drew a walk but was left stranded as Kevin Saylor grounded out to end the game.
For Grottoes they drop to 9-8 on the season. Tucker Garrison (3-3) takes the loss for Grottoes. Garrison faced 41 hitters, gave up 14 hits, struck out 8 and gave up 8 runs only 4 were earned in 8.0 IP. The Grottoes bats were very uncharacteristically silenced as they only had 3 hits all night and 8 baserunners in total. The Cardinals will look to turn things around quickly as they travel to Bridgewater on Sunday July 18 at 6:30PM for a date with the Reds (4-12).
For Montezuma their defense and pitching were phenomenal and were the keys to their success on the night. Lance Tate (4-0) got the win tying him with Kirk Messick for the most in the RCBL. Tate, Williams and Hackenburg combined for a shutout, 3 hits, 4 walks and 10 Ks. The Braves (10-7) will have a quick turn around as they host Clover Hill (10-6) on Saturday July 17 at 7:30PM in the second match up of the year between the closely located rivals.
By Dean Barker
In a rematch of last year’s RCBL Championship Series, the New Market Shockers rallied with five runs in the sixth to knock off the defending champion Broadway Bruins 5-4. With their seventh win in a row, the Shockers move to 12-4 and are 2.5 games ahead in first. With their fourth consecutive loss, the Bruins fell to 8-8 and are now in sixth place.
Michael Prosper picked up the win to move to 2-0, allowing just one run and striking out five in three innings. CJ Morton picked up his third save with two strikeouts in the ninth inning. Kaden Spaid gave up three earned runs on four hits with three strikeouts in five innings.
Isaac VanMeter took the loss to move to 0-2, giving up five earned runs on seven hits with three strikeouts in six innings. Jett Shue gave up no earned runs with five strikeouts and just one hit in three innings to get the no-decision.
Justin Lohr led off the game with a standup triple, and Trent Abernathy would drive him in with a sacrifice fly to put Broadway up 1-0. Jordan Yankey would reach third in the second, but the Bruins stranded him.
Trevor Thomas would lead off the top of the fourth with a single. Henry Delavergne tried to pick him off from center field, but was just too late. Catcher Dawson Russel tried to pick him off on a pop out for our number two, but just missed. Spaid would throw away trying to pick him off, moving him to first, and Yankey would walk. Peyton Davis came through with a two run RBI triple to left to extend the lead to 3-0. Davis was thrown out at third by Russel.
Michael Prosperi took over for Spaid in the top of the sixth, and sat the Bruins down 1-2-3.
After five innings of shutout, two-hit baseball from VanMeter, the Shockers finally broke through in the sixth. Russel was hit to lead off, and Delavergne bunted his way on. Nick Goode would drive in one with an RBI double to left. Frankie Ritter bunted to VanMeter, who would throw past the first baseman Lohr to allow another run to score. Pearce Bucher followed up with a two run single to put New Market up 4-3. VanMeter would be replaced by Jett Shue, who, with the bases loaded, threw a wild pitch to allow Bucher to come home. That would be all, as Shue would strike out the next three to end the inning with the score 5-3.
Broadway would plate one run in the eighth, as Lohr would score from third as a throw to catch Abernathy at second went wild. With runners on the corners and two outs, Prosperi would strike out Yankey to escape the threat. In the ninth, Morton would strike out two and retire another to pick up the save.
The Bruins left five on base and one error which did not result in a run. The Shockers stranded six and had two errors, one which led to a run in the eighth.
Davis went 1-4 with two RBIs for the Bruins. Abernathy went 1-3 with one RBI on a sacrifice fly. Lohr went 1-3 with two runs scored. Trevor Thomas went 1-4 with a run. Ben Reid was 1-4. Broadway had eight hits on the night.
Bucher went 1-4 with two RBIs and one run scored. Goode was 2-4 with a run and an RBI. Ritter went 1-3 with a run scored. Delavergne was 1-4 with a run scored. Russel scored one run. The Shockers had eight hits.
Bucher said he had been looking for a big opportunity in the sixth inning when he ripped the go-ahead double.
“Two guys in scoring position, I’d been wanting that all night,” Bucher said. “It finally came up on me, so I was just motivated to stay short, do what I can to make those two runs score, get one base and then do something else, get a couple more runs.”
The Shockers will host the Elkton Blue Sox on Saturday, July 17 at 7:30 pm. The Bruins will host the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks at the same date and time. The Bruins and Shockers will meet one last time in the regular season on Sunday, July 18 in Broadway at 6:30 pm.
By Dean Barker
After blowing a three run lead, the Clover Hill Bucks came storming back to mercy rule the Broadway Bruins 18-8 in eight innings on Tuesday, July 13 at the Clover Dome. The Bucks are the first team to mercy rule the Bruins since their RCBL championship last year. The game concluded a two game series with the Bruins, the Bucks winning 6-4 Monday in Broadway, and taking Tuesday’s game to sweep the series.
The win moved Clover Hill to 9-6 and third place, and the Bucks are just two games out of first. The loss dropped Broadway to 8-7 and a tie for fifth place.
Jackson Sherman got the win to move to 1-0, giving up three runs in the last three and a third innings pitched with three strikeouts. He relieved Sam Imeson, who gave up five runs in four and two thirds innings.
Cole Holsinger took the loss for the Bruins to fall to 0-2, giving up nine runs in three innings of work. He relieved Jacob Petersheim and Jared Rice, who gave up four and five runs, respectively.
The Bucks scored first in the bottom of the second with an RBI double from Cole Jenkins. The Bruins would respond in the third with an RBI single from Trent Abernathy to tie the game at one, but Cody Swisher walked with the bases loaded in the bottom half to make the score 2-1. John Siciliano reached first on an error, and two runs came home to make the score 4-1 Clover Hill.
A Bruins run would come home in the fourth with an infield grounder from Trent Thomas, which was a failed fielder’s choice at second. With the bases loaded, Justin Lohr was hit to make it 4-3, and a sacrifice fly from Abernathy tied the game at four. Jett Shue would rip an RBI single in the top of the fifth to take the 5-4 lead, which would close the books on Imeson.
Josh Eberly said the Bucks didn’t give up when they blew their early lead, simply saying “It’s baseball, things happen.”
The Bucks loaded the bases with one out in the fifth. Jacob Grabeel’s walk would tie the score at 5, and Alex Knicely would drive in two more with an RBI double to center, which would lead to Rice being pulled. Eberly would smoke a three run bomb to put the game out of reach at 10-5.
In the bottom of the sixth, Ross French would double to bring in another run, an error from Holsigner would score one more, and a two run double from Eberly made the score 14-5.
Holsinger would try to help his own cause with a three run homer to left in the top of the eighth to make the score 14-8. However, it would prove to be futile in the bottom half, when two RBIs from Knicely, one from Eberly, and one from Kevin Kirk pushed the Bucks ahead for the “walkoff” mercy rule.
The Bucks had just one error and left seven runners aboard. The Bruins had two errors and left ten runners on.
Eberly was a triple short of the cycle, going 4-4 with six RBIs and two runs scored. Knicely was 3-4 with four RBIs and two runs scored. Jenkins, Grabeel, French, Swisher and Kirk all had one RBI. The Bucks had 19 hits on the evening.
Holsinger went 1-4 with three RBIs and a run scored. Abernathy went 2-3 with two RBIs. Shue and Lohr each had one RBI. The Bruins had a total of ten hits.
Eberly says there was nothing special about his approach that led to his huge evening, only “Just taking it, you know, a day at a time, and just simple approach, and it just happened to be a good night.”
The Bucks will have two nights off before they travel to Bridgewater to take on the rival Reds on Friday, July 16 at 7:30 pm. The Bruins will travel to New Market on Thursday, July 15 at 7:30 pm for a rematch of last year’s RCBL championship finals with the Shockers.
By Leyton Pullin
On Tuesday the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks defeated the Elkton Blue Sox by a score of 14-4 in 7 innings.
The first inning and a half went scoreless before the Diamondbacks blew the game open in the bottom of the 2nd. Will Hass was retired via the ground out to start the inning before Bob Funk was hit by a pitch the next at bat. Tyler Wilcher followed up by doubling off of the right field wall to put runners on the corners with only one out. Grayson Bush game to the plate next and delivered with a 2 RBI double to score Funk and Wilcher. Stuarts Draft scored 2 more runs later in the inning as Terrell Thompson stayed hot and hit a 2 RBI single to score Bush and Calen Owens who reached on an infield single. Stuarts Draft took a 4-0 lead to the third.
The D-Backs added 4 more runs off the Elkton starter Will Craig but this tie all 4 were unearned as his defense let him down multiple times in the inning. Will Hass was the first hitter to reach on a single in the inning followed by a ground ball by Funk that was mishandled by the third base man Steve Michael to allow everyone to reach safely. Wilcher came up next and slapped another base knock off the wall in right allowing for Funk to try and score. The relay for the Blue Sox from Chase Pullin to Seth Berry to Tristan Gordon at the plate was in time but Gordon did not come up with the ball as it went in and out of his glove to the back stop allowing Hass to score as well. Bush did his job at the plate next with a sacrifice fly that should have been the third out of the inning if it wasn’t for the error at third earlier in the inning. Calen Owens came up next and the lefty from West Virginia Tech crushed a ball over the short porch in right field for a 2-Run home run to stretch the D-Backs lead to 8-0 after 3 innings of play.
Elkton put a run on the board as Michael tried to make up for his error the previous inning as he singled allowing Will Craig to score as he came into the game as a sub for the injured Elliot Erkel. This cut into the Stuarts Draft lead making it an 8-1 game in the top of the 4th.
Stuarts Draft added another run in the bottom of the 4th as Jack Pausic stayed hot at the plate with a ground rule double and then was driven in on a Bob Funk double down the third base line to make it 9-1.
The D-Backs offense continued in the bottom of the 5th putting up 3 more runs to stretch the lead out to 12-1. Lucas Adam delivered a RBI single and Will Hass hit a 2 RBI single to stretch the lead.
Elkton then decided to scratch across another run in the 6th as Berry led off the inning with a single. He was later driven in to score on a Michael ground out to cut it to a 12-2 game.
Stuarts Draft stretched the lead with 2 more runs in the bottom of the 6th to push the game into run rule territory as Bush and Owens scored to make it 14-2.
Elkton tried to keep the game alive knowing they were facing the run rule in the top of the 7th. The Blue Sox drew two straight walks to start the inning. Tillman Butler the grounded out to the pitcher for the first out allowing the base runners to advance to second and third with one out. The next at bat a pitch got away from the catcher which allowed Cam Shields to score from third. The Blue Sox added another run on a Gordon RBI single that scored Jack Marshall to make it 14-4 which would be the final as the next two hitters were retired.
For Elkton they drop to 2-14 on the year with only five games remaining on the schedule. The Blue Sox committed 3 errors on the night which proved to be lethal along with the Stuarts Draft bats. Will Craig takes the loss allowing 9 hits, 4 earned runs and striking out a batter in 3 innings. The Blue Sox will host Montezuma (9-5) on Thursday July 15 at 7:30PM.
For Stuarts Draft they move to 9-7 on the year putting them in a tie with Grottoes for No. 4 in the RCBL standings. For the D-Backs it was a pitch by committee night as Les Sandridge and company employed 5 different arms on the night. “The biggest thing tonight was to try and get guys on the mound that hadn’t been on for a while,” said Sandridge. The entire D-backs staff only allowed 4 runs, 7 hits and struck out 6 on the way to victory. Stuarts Draft will be back in action as they travel to Broadway (8-7) on Saturday July 17 at 7:30 in a matchup that features two teams right in the thick of the RCBL race for the pennant.
By Dean Barker
Former Montezuma Braves Adam Hackenberg and Will Wagner were selected in the 18th round of the 2021 MLB Draft on Tuesday, July 13.
Wagner was drafted by the Houston Astros with the 538th pick. Hackenberg was drafted by the Chicago White Sox with the 545th pick.
Braves head coach Chris Rush was very happy to hear the news about two of his former players.
“I am very excited for these two guys,” Rush said. “They have worked hard over the years to better their game and to separate themselves from others and to make themselves some of the best in their positions and sport.”
Hackenberg played with the Braves in 2020 and made the All-RCBL team as catcher. He hit .258 for the Clemson University Tigers with 17 RBIs as a junior this year. While he was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 2018, Hackenberg decided to go to Clemson instead.
Wagner was an infielder for the Braves in 2017 and 2020, as well as with the Liberty University Flames. After hitting .200 in 2017 for Montezuma, Wagner returned in 2020 to hit .350 with six homers. Wagner made the ASUN All-Conference First Team in 2019, and made the pre-season team in 2020.
Rush said that while these players are gone, they are still impacting the 2021 Braves ball club.
“Many of our returning players this year are trying to model the way these two guys played the game, Rush said. “Will and Adam were not just good athletes, but they were good young men with great attitudes. Our players this year see how Will and Adam’s hard work has paid off and it challenges them to better themselves every time they take the field.”
He also is confident that these two players will be able to do well in professional baseball.
“Both these guys have dreamed of this opportunity for a long time and I feel confident they will do everything within their power to excel at the next level,” Rush said.
By Leyton Pullin
The Grottoes Cardinals picked up an 11-7 victory over the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks thanks to some timely hits and great defensive plays.
Stuarts Draft squandered an opportunity in the bottom of the 1st as Zach Roberts led off with a hit and then was put out on a fielder’s choice that allowed Terrell Thompson to reach. Thompson the stole second and third base straight up before being stranded.
Stuarts Draft got the scoring started in the 2nd inning as Jack Pausic crushed a solo home run to left and make it 1-0 D-Backs.
Stuarts Draft added another run as Thompson singled and then stole second again. The next batter Will Hass hit a ground ball to third base that Jacob Dansey fielded and then airmailed to first that allowed Thompson to round third base and come home to score and put the D-Backs on top 2-0 in the 3rd. Later in the inning Bob Funk crushed a ball to deep left center field and it looked to have the distance required but Kevin Saylor made a leaping catch at the wall for the robbery and the final out of the inning.
The Cardinals bounced back the very next half inning as they pushed 4 runs across in the top of the 4th. Keegan Wollford led the inning off with a double to right field. Later in the inning Tucker Garrison hit a ground ball to second that went off of Roberts and into the outfield. That allowed Woolford to score. The next at bat Jacob Dansey fell into a 2-2 count but put a charge into a ball to left center field for a 2-run line drive home run. Kevin Saylor then reached on a dropped third strike as the catcher Jack Pausic airmailed the throw into right field. The Next at bat David Wood hit a sacrifice fly to score Saylor and cap off the inning 4-2 Grottoes.
Grottoes added another run in the top of the 5th inning as Jacob Merica reached on an error by Roberts at second and then scored also on an error later in the inning as Dylan Nicely hit a ball to third base that was miss handled to put Grottoes on top 5-2.
Stuarts Draft struck back in the bottom half of the 5th as Terrell Thompson walked and then Will Hass singled to left field but the ball got away from Merica in left allowing Thompson to score and Hass to get to second base safely. The D-backs had cut the lead to 5-3.
Grottoes extended their lead with solo home runs in the 6th and 7th. The two left-handed power threats for the Cardinals Wood and Woolford each put one out of the park to stretch the lead to 7-3.
Grottoes opened the game up in the 8th as they put 4 more runs across to push the lead out to 11-4. The inning was capped off by a Dylan Nicely 3 RBI double with the bases loaded.
Ty Lam came in for the Cardinals in the 6th in relief for Adam Dofflemeyer who went 5 innings. Lam tossed 3.1 scoreless before he began to struggle in the top of the 9th. Stuarts Draft Put Hass aboard with a lead off single he was followed by another Pausic homer this time a 2-run missile to left to make it 11-5. Bob Funk drew a walk the next at bat before Lucas Adam delivered a RBI single that would be the final blow Lam would take on the night. Tim Nicely called upon Tyler Pullin to come in and finish the game for the Cardinals with one down. The first hitter the right hander from Point Park University faced was Tyler Wilcher who singled to put runners at the corners. Trevor Mitchell came in to pinch hit in the nine spot in the order following Wilcher. Mitchel grounded out to the second baseman Moyer for the second out but a run did score to make it 11-7 with now two outs in the bottom of the 9th. The switch hitter Roberts came to the plate next looking to keep the rally alive. The first pitch of the at bat Roberts drilled a pitch down the right field line but the ball went well foul to the dismay of some of the D-Back faithful. The next pitch Roberts drilled again this time to center field. Saylor retreated to the fence and made another nice defensive play to seal the victory for Grottoes.
For Stuarts Draft they fall to 8-7 on the season. William Mullins takes the loss for the D-Backs after going 5.0 innings, giving up 5 hits, 5 runs, 2 of those earned and striking out 4. Jack Pausic and Terrell Thompson both had outstanding nights at the plate. Pausic went 2 for 5 and those two hits were home runs. Pausic also added 4 RBIs. Thompson went 1 for 4 at the plate but his success was on the base paths as he had 3 stolen bases and 2 runs scored. The D-Backs get back in action with little turn around as Elkton (2-13) comes to the Diamond Club for a 7:30PM date on Tuesday July 13.
The Grottoes Cardinals pick up the victory and move to 9-7 on the year. Adam Dofflemeyer (2-1) gets the win for the Cardinals. The south paw went 5.0, gave up 6 hits, 1 earned run and struck out 4. Kevin Saylor made his presence felt as the former Bridgewater College Basketball star made some spectatular catches including a catch where he ran through the fence out in center field and somehow managed to hang on to the ball.
“Took us a while to convince [Saylor] to come back and play baseball. We’ve been working on him for two years,” said Grottoes manager Tim Nicely.
Saylor had not been the Cardinals everyday center fielder but was called upon as Boogie Saunders is sidelined with an injury. Nicley also credited him with the spark the offense needed after his spectacular home run robbery in the 3rd inning.
Grottoes will be back in action after a few days off as the will host Montezuma (9-5) on Friday July 16 in their final home game of the regular season.
By Olivia Carson
Last night New Market secured the regular season series against the Bridgewater Reds with an 11 - 0 sweep. New Market also picked up their fifth straight win keeping themselves at 1st place with an 11 - 4 record while Bridgewater remains in 7th (4 - 11).
The Reds had a promising start to the game last night as Derek Shifflett led with a double, followed by a single from Brett Tharp. However, the Shockers defense responded quickly by turning a double play and continuing to end the 1st inning with no runs on the board.
The Shockers got their offense going in the 2nd as George Auel singled. Matt House followed with a single that moved Auel to third base. With a runner in scoring position, Kaden Spaid stepped up to bat and reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Auel. Shockers pitcher Kirk Messick was able to hold the Reds in the bottom half of the inning and picked up 2 strikeouts in the half.
New Market kept things moving with a leadoff single in the 3rd by Henry Delavergne. After advancing to second on a fielder’s choice, Delavergne continued his trip around the bases, stealing 3rd and then scoring on a sacrifice fly by Frankie Ritter.
After Auel’s second hit of the game and a drawn walk by Kaden Spaid, the Reds Pitcher, Shifflett was able to pitch his way out of the 4th inning with no damage. However, after the strong defensive stance by the Reds, their offense still remained quiet throughout the half.
The 5th inning is where the Shockers dominated the game, starting with a walk from Delavergne and Luke Keister reached 1st base on a fielder’s choice to follow. The next few batters in the lineup, Ritter and Pearce Bucher, stepped up to put runners in scoring positions as they both singled to load the bases for Luke Estep. With a 0 - 1 count, Estep took Shifflett deep with a grand slam to extend the lead to 6 - 0. Keeping the spark going, the Shockers scrapped another run before ending the half on a single by Spaid, scoring Auel. Once again, the Reds could not string anything together to respond to New Market’s long inning.
The 6th inning hit off with the Shockers drawing 3 back-to-back walks by Keister, Ritter and Bucher. With bases loaded, Auel came through again with a sacrifice fly to score Keister.
In the bottom of the inning, the Reds began to threaten as they collected a few hits. Jonathan Sexton began with a single and Jerrod Meadows walked. Shifflett was able to get a hit to move Sexton to third but Meadows was thrown out at second by the Shockers right-fielder. Tharp responded with a walk, loading the bases; however, Bridgewater still could not find a way to manufacture runs.
The Shockers comfortable lead was extended yet again in the 7th beginning with a Delavergne single. Keister then stepped up and delivered with a double, scoring Delavergne. Later, with 2 runners on, Bucher confidently scored both on a single, adding to their lead of 11 - 0. Bridgewater could not respond to the deficit and had their 5th three-up-three-down inning of the game.
Winning pitcher, Messick, finished the game with 5 strikeouts, 2 walks and only gave up 4 hits through 7 innings. When asked what has been a key to the Shockers success so far, Messick; who is also New Markets assistant coach, could not pinpoint one reason.
“I don’t think one thing is standing out more than anything really. I think our pitching has been on, our hitting has been on and our defense...has actually been really good,” says Messick. “If there’s one thing we need to work on it’s our baserunning. We’ve had games where our base running costs us runs in close games. Finishing out the season and heading into playoffs, all runs are crucial so we need to fix those mistakes.”
The impressive 12 hit game from New Market was led by Auel (3), Bucher (2) and Delavergne (2). The key point in the game was Luke Estep’s grand slam in the 5th. The Shockers who are sitting at the top of the rankings in the RCBL, are currently on a 6-game win streak and will play the Broadway Bruins on Thursday July 15.
Bridgewater’s 4 hit game came from Shifflett (2), Sexton and Tharp. The Reds will play again on Friday July 16 against the Clover Hill Bucks at home again.
By Dean Barker and Leyton Pullin
The East opened the scoring in the first inning as Zach Roberts opened the game with a lead off single and was driven in two batters later as the RCBL home run leader Keegan Woolford crushed a 2-run homerun to put the East on top 2-0.
The East added another run in the second inning as Tucker Garrison crushed a solo homerun to center field to extend the East lead to 3-0.
The West scored all of their runs in the bottom of the third inning putting up 8 runs all earned against Elkton’s Will Craig. Trent Abernathy got the scoring started with a 3-run homerun. Bryce Suters and Jonathan Sexton both added a RBI single each. Trevor Thomas walked with the bases loaded to drive in another run before an Isiah Blanks RBI sacrifice fly stretched the lead out to 8-3.
The East slowly began to cut into the lead beginning in the fifth inning as Garrison would score on an error by the catcher Brett Tharp to make it 8-4.
The East would strike again in the sixth with a Jose Rocha RBI single to score Tristan Gordon. Rocha would later score in the inning as Garrison hit a well struck fly ball to left that Alex Knicely was unable to secure cleanly. The lead was cut to 8-6 at that point.
Again, the East All Stars took a chunk out of the deficit in the eight as Rocha singled and scored on an error to make it a 1 run game, 8-7.
The East finally got their chance to take the lead in the 9th and they did that and more against Eric Yankey who came in to attempt the save for the West. Calvin Pastel walked to start the inning and was driven in by his New Market teammate Josh Tayman to tie the game. Yankey proceeded to walk the bases loaded and then walked Rocha to force across the go-ahead run for the East. The East added one more on a Garrison RBI groundout to stretch the lead out to 10-8.
Clayton Michael came in for the save and retired the West in order to finish the game for the East.
Grottoes Cardinal Tucker Garrison was named the RCBL All Star Game MVP as the Bridgewater alum went 1-3 at the plate with 2 RBI, 2 runs scored and got the win on the hill for the East.
New Market Shockers
The Shockers enter the All Star break at the top of the league standings at 10-4 and winners of five straight games. Pearce Bucher sits second in the RCBL in average at .444 averaging 4 hits per every 9 at bats. “My approach at the plate is just to stay within myself, not try to do too much and put faith in the guys behind me,” said Bucher.
The key to New Market’s success so far this season has to be their chemistry which Bucher later alluded to as the majority of the team is from Shenandoah University. “From the fall to the spring we have the same system when we play at Shenandoah and we try to use that here,” said Henry Delavergne.
The Shockers get back to it on Tuesday July 13 as they travel to Ray Heatwole Field for a 7:30PM date with the Reds (4-10).
Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks come to the break with a record of 8-6 and are in fourth in the league standings. They sit 2 games back of first place New Market.
Zach Roberts sits atop the league in average hitting .459 on the year. “It’s been see ball, hit ball really,” said Roberts. “We’ve go-t a good offense, one of the better ones in the league. As long as the pitching keeps the ball in the yard and the offense keeps going, we’re in a good spot.”
The D-Backs will be back in action on Monday as they host nearby rival Grottoes (8-7) at the Diamond Club at 7:30PM.
The Grottoes Cardinals maintain their reputation as one of the most entertaining teams in the league sitting at 8-7, sixth in the standings but 2.5 games out of first place.
The bats have been the key for the Cardinals thus far this year with Dylan Nicely leading the league in RBI(22) and Keegan Woolford leading the league in home runs(6). Nicely and Woolford both said they go to the plate and “… see ball hit ball.” Nicely also talked about his teammates, “I’ve got some good guys ahead of me with Boogie [Saunders] and Clayton [Michael] that make my job pretty easy.”
Grottoes will travel to the Diamond Club to play the D-Backs on Monday July 12 at 7:30 PM.
Elkton Blue Sox
The Elkton Blue Sox sit at the bottom of the RCBL standings at 2-12 on the year. Elkton will look to turn their season around as they get back in action Monday July 12 as they travel to Montezuma at 7:30PM.
The Bridgewater Reds are 4-10, in seventh place in the RCBL, and six games out of first. However, the Reds have been clicking lately, winning three of their last five games of the first half. They will return to action against New Market at home on Tuesday, July 13 at 7:30 pm. Derek Shifflet thinks the Reds will continue to trend upward in the second half.
“Just keep having fun, keep playing baseball like we know, keep the errors down, and just keep having a good time,” Shifflet said. Shifflet is leading the league with 50 strikeouts, and struck out five in the All-Star game, while also reaching first on an error.
Clover Hill Bucks
The Clover Hill Bucks are 7-6, fifth place in the RCBL, and 2.5 games out of first. The Bucks have struggled as of late, losing three of their last four.
Bucks pitching coach Justin Getz thinks the team will improve as the season goes on. “We’ve got some pieces missing in the puzzle right now. Things will fall in together as they start playing hot baseball here late in the season, and start rolling into the playoffs,” Getz said.
The Bucks will open the second half at the Broadway Bruins on Monday, July 12 at 7:30 pm.
The Montezuma Braves sit tied with the Broadway Bruins for second at 8-5, 1.5 games out of first place. The Braves were in first place going into the last week, but lost three of their last four to fall into second. They did, however, win the season series against second-place Broadway, 2-1.
Keegan Oliver thinks Montezuma will have to produce from the mound in order to have a good second half.
“Keep going out, and just think three up, three down every inning,” Oliver said. Oliver gave up three runs in the All-Star Game.
The Broadway Bruins are tied with the Montezuma Braves for second place at 8-5, a game and a half out of first. After starting the season 3-0, the Bruins went 5-5 until the break.
Bruins outfielder Trent Abernathy hit a three run homer for the West.
While last year’s team won the RCBL title, the current Bruins only have five returning players from that club. However, head coach Chip Abernathy likes what he has seen from his young team.
“They’re all young, so you can throw them in there, and they don’t really know yet that ‘Hey, I’m not supposed to produce here,’” Abernathy said.
The Bruins return to action Monday, July 12 at 7:30 pm at home against the Bucks.
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