Bridgewater jumped out to an early lead, but the Reds had to keep fighting throughout the night on their way to an 11-9 victory over Broadway. The win puts Bridgewater up 1-0 in the best-of-five series.
Derek Shifflett led off the game with a single in the top of the first and the Reds scored six runs in the frame to take an early lead. Broadway answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the first as Matt Meiser and Bryce Strawderman each came around to score.
The Reds had another big inning in the third, bringing three men across the plate to stretch their lead to 9-2.
With a comfortable advantage, the Reds let Shifflett go to work on the mound. He pitched all nine innings, striking out 15 batters in the game. The Bruins battled back late in the game, and threatened with a four-run ninth inning, but the Reds defense came through and Bridgewater escaped with a win on the road.
While Shifflett was his usual dominant self on the mound, he also helped his own cause at the plate. The veteran leader of this year’s Bridgewater squad, Shifflett went 3-for-5 at the plate with three runs scored in the game.
Tucker Garrison had a good night at the plate as well, going 1-for-3 with three RBIs. Eight of the Reds’ starting nine scored in the game, and seven of them registered a hit as Bridgewater took the first game of the series.
The series goes to Bridgewater tonight, when the Reds host the Bruins for a 7:30 matchup at Ray Heatwole Field.
Clover Hill 16, Elkton 3
The Bucks got revenge for Monday night’s loss against Elkton by storming back with a 16-3 victory at Stonewall Memorial Park last night. Tyler Bocock went 3-for-6 at the plate with four runs and an RBI, helping the Bucks to tie up the series.
Six other Bucks had multi-hit performances, including Kevin Kirk, who went 4-for-5 with two RBIs and a run scored.
The game was tied 1-1 at the end of the first inning, but Clover Hill scored multiple runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth, and capped off the game with a five-run seventh inning to secure the slaughter-rule victory.
Eric Yankey got the start for Clover Hill, pitching six innings and allowing just three runs on two hits. Yankey struck out 13 batters in his outing.
Jordan Showalter came on the mound to pitch the seventh inning, retiring the Blue Sox in order and striking out two to close out the game. The win for the Bucks ties up the series and sends it back to Clover Hill on Thursday night for game three. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
The Elkton Blue Sox barely had enough players to field a team in game one against Clover Hill, but they came firing on all cylinders as they won 10-3 to take a 1-0 series lead. Lee Carneal continued his hot streak with a three-run home run in the top of the first to put the Blue Sox out front.
Clover Hill came back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the frame, but Elkton wasn't done yet. The Blue Sox sent two more runners across the plate in the top of the second to increase their lead to 5-2.
After that, they sat back and let starting pitcher Jacob Rich go to work .Rich. fanned 10 batters over seven innings, allowing just two runs on seven hits in the game. He left in the eighth inning and handed the game over to Seth Berry, who closed things out for Elkton.
Elkton continued to score throughout the night, adding two more runs in the sixth inning. They really stretched their lead in the top of the eighth when Canon Davies hit a monster home run over the left field fence to plate three more runs and make it 10-2.
The Bucks fought in the bottom of the eighth inning as Alex Knicely scored on an RBI single from Grant Painter, but a groundout in the next at bat would end the inning.
The win gives the Blue Sox a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series and keeps their momentum going after sweeping New Market in the first round of the playoffs.
Elkton and Clover Hill are back in action tonight when they play game two at Stonewall Memorial Park in Elkton. First pitch is set for 7:30 p.m.
Also in action tonight is game one of the other semifinal series between Bridgewater and Broadway. The Bruins host as the Reds continue their bid for a third-consecutive title. First pitch at Broadway High School is set for 7:30 p.m.
Members of the media voted last week on the 2019 All-RCBL team, which is made up of 15 of the best players from around the league. Voters chose one player at each infield position, four outfielders, four pitchers, a utility player and a designated hitter to make up the team.
Each RCBL team ended up with at least one representative on the All-RCBL squad. Clover Hill leads the way with four honorees; Ross French, Drew Easter, Nick Corbin and Eric Yankey all earned spots on this year’s team. Easter and Yankey were members of the 2018 All-RCBL team as well. Easter is the only player in the league to earn All-RCBL honors in each of the past three seasons.
Three of the RCBL’s end-of-season award winners made the team: MVP Corbin Lucas, Pitcher of the Year John Judy and Rookie of the Year Luke Paczewski.
A number of statistical leaders are represented on the team as well. Keegan Woolford (.484), Lucas (.425) and David Wood (.422) have the three highest batting averages in the league and each received All-RCBL honors. PJ Hanisak led the league with seven home runs and earned an All-RCBL spot at catcher.
Nick Corbin led the league with a 1.47 ERA while strikeout leader Derek Shifflett earned a spot as a pitcher after fanning 82 batters this season.
Three rookies – Hanisak, Paczewski and Pearce Bucher – earned All-RCBL honors while second-year players Will Hass and John Judy made the team for the first time in their careers.
Joining Judy from the Bruins is outfielder Matt Meiser, who led the league with 21 stolen bases while batting .327 this season. Elkton veteran Christian Rodriguez capped off a fantastic season by earning a spot on this year’s team after batting .341 with four home runs and 26 RBIs this year.
Below is a full list of players named to the 2019 All-RCBL team:
Catcher: PJ Hanisak, Montezuma First Baseman: David Wood, Grottoes Second Baseman: Will Hass, Stuarts Draft Third Baseman: Luke Paczewski, Montezuma Shortstop: Ross French, Clover Hill Outfielder: Drew Easter, Clover Hill Outfielder: Matt Meiser, Broadway Outfielder: Keegan Woolford, Grottoes Outfielder: Corbin Lucas, Bridgewater Utility: Pearce Bucher, New Market Designated Hitter: Christian Rodriguez, Elkton Pitcher: John Judy, Broadway Pitcher: Derek Shifflett, Bridgewater Pitcher: Nick Corbin, Clover Hill Pitcher: Eric Yankey, Clover Hill
The RCBL end-of-season awards have been finalized for the 2019 season. Coaches around the league voted for the MVP, Pitcher of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year based on performance during the summer.
Stepping up as a veteran leader on a Bridgewater team that lost most of its core over the offseason, Corbin Lucas earned MVP honors for the 2019 season. Lucas batted .425 with five home runs this summer. His 30 RBIs led the league, while his other offensive marks were near the top.
The Reds’ right fielder posted an on-base-percentage of .475 while slugging .782 over the course of 23 games, leading the Reds to a 12-16 season. Lucas’ five home runs are the most he has ever hit as a member of the Reds.
Just up Route 42 in Broadway, Bruins starter John Judy put together a phenomenal season on his way to becoming Pitcher of the Year. Judy finished the regular season with a record of 4-1, posting a 2.31 ERA and striking out 65 batters.
Judy’s season was highlighted by a rain-shortened no-hitter, in which he struck out nine batters in six innings. He had a season-high 14 strikeouts in a complete game victory against Montezuma on July 20. Judy’s season helped lead the Bruins to a 14-14 season and the fourth seed in the 2019 postseason.
Making a breakthrough in his first year in the RCBL, Montezuma’s Luke Paczewski earned Rookie of the Year honors. Paczewski hit .400 on the season, while driving in 16 runs for the Braves. He added six walks and seven doubles to cap off his standout rookie season.
In his first year at the helm of the New Market Shockers, Nolan Potts led the team to a 15-13 record to earn Coach of the Year honors. Potts served as an assistant in New Market for multiple seasons before being promoted to head coach for the 2019 season.
Potts led the Shockers to their first season above .500 in the Pointstreak Era, which dates back to the 2013 season. He was able to recruit a plethora of new talent while retaining many of the players that have seen success in New Market in previous seasons.
Potts occasionally had to put himself into the lineup as well, hitting .231 on the season in seven games played for the Shockers.
BROADWAY - A rainy day led to a quiet night throughout the Valley, but not in Broadway. While every other RCBL postseason game was postponed on Wednesday evening, the Bruins hosted Montezuma in game one of their quarterfinal series.
Broadway right-hander John Judy was as dominant as every as he pitched a complete game, striking out 13 batters on the way to a 5-1 victory. Judy allowed just one run on nine hits and one walk.
The game started as a pitchers’ duel on both sides as Montezuma started John Dudley only allowed one hit through the first three innings. The tide started to turn in the bottom of the fourth, though.
Boo Dean led off the inning with a double and was later drive home on a triple that Matt Meiser rocketed to left field. The throw to third was off target and rolled into the Broadway dugout, allowing Meiser to come home and score as well.
The Bruins would put up two more runs in the bottom of the fifth after Danny Grogg led the inning off with a double and he and Tanner Skidmore each crossed the plate in the frame.
Meanwhile, Judy continued to be dominant on the mound as the game went on. Six of his 13 strikeouts came in the last four innings of the game, including three in the seventh inning.
To cap things off in the bottom of the eighth inning for the Bruins, Meiser walked, stole second, reached third on a wild pitch, and stole home to give the Bruins their fifth run of the game.
Montezuma came close to scoring in the top of the fifth, but Josh Tayman was thrown out trying to cross the plate on a ground ball from Owen Stewart. The Braves eventually put a run on the board in the top of the ninth when Stewart reached after getting hit by a pitch and scored in the inning.
For the Bruins, Meiser finished the night 1-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs. Grogg went 2-for-3 in the game with a run scored.
The win puts the Bruins up 1-0 in the series, needing just one win to advance to the semifinals. The next game is scheduled for tonight at Ruritan Park in Montezuma.
The Braves will look to keep their season alive by securing a win as they return home tonight for a 7:30 p.m. first pitch.
Clover Hill is currently up 1-0 over Grottoes after an 18-5 win on Tuesday night, while Elkton is up 1-0 against New Market after a 10-8 win on Tuesday.
All four series will be back in action tonight, with every game scheduled for 7:30 p.m. All scheduling information can be found here.
All eyes were on Ruritan Field Monday night, as the Bridgewater Reds and the Montezuma Braves played the final game of the regular season. This game would determine the final order of the standings, and therefore lock in the playoff matchups for the 2019 season. After the dust settled, the Braves emerged victorious over the Reds, 13-8.
Now, the playoff picture is clear. The matchups are as follows:
#1 Clover Hill Bucks vs #8 Grottoes Cardinals
Game 1: Tuesday night, at Clover Hill, 7:30 PM Game 2: Wednesday night, at Grottoes, 7:30 PM Game 3 (if necessary): Thursday night, at Clover Hill, 7:30 PM
This matchup was the only one that had been decided before Monday night’s contest. The Clover Hill Bucks completely ran away with the regular season pennant, securing an impressive 24-4 record and beating out the next best team by nine games. The Bucks have made it to the championship series the last two years, but lost both times, so these playoffs certainly have a bit more intensity for the Clover Hill squad. They are ridiculously deep in all facets of their roster, but are headlined by the bat of Josh Eberely (.344 AVG, 22 RBI) and the arm of Nick Corbin (5-0, 1.47 ERA, 35 K).
As for the Cardinals, their solid season has unraveled, resulting in a seven game losing streak to finish the regular season. Now, they will have to try to figure it out against the juggernaut of the Bucks in a three game series. They will look to replicate the success they had in the middle stretch of the season, where they won 7 of 9 games, including a 6-1 win over the Bucks on June 8. No doubt, they will need production from their two MVP-candidate sluggers, Keegan Woolford (.484 AVG, 26 RBI) and David Wood (.422 AVG, 19 RBI).
#2 New Market Shockers vs #7 Elkton Blue Sox
Game 1: Tuesday night, at New Market, 7:30 PM Game 2: Wednesday night, at Elkton, 7:30 PM Game 3 (if necessary): Thursday night, at New Market, 7:30 PM
The Shockers finished the season by winning seven of their last ten games, fueled by a dynamic offense and a reliable stable of starting pitchers. Frankie Ritter (.366 AVG), Peter Mullholland (.415 AVG) and Pearce Bucher (.352 AVG, 27 RBI) form one of the best top-of-the-lineup combinations in the league, as they have a tendency to force the opponent to their bullpen earlier than they anticipated.
New Market will now turn their attention to the intriguing Elkton Blue Sox, who have climbed out of the 8-seed and started to assert themselves as a dark horse candidate for this year’s playoffs. The Blue Sox are headlined by a pair of bombers in JJ Loker (.302 AVG, 3 HR, 24 RBI) and MVP candidate Christian Rodriguez (.341 AVG, 4 HR, 26 RBI). The key for Elkton will be getting solid innings from their starting pitching. This could prove to be one of the more fun series of the first round.
#3 Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks vs #6 Bridgewater Reds
Game 1: Wednesday night, at Stuarts Draft, 7:30 PM Game 2: Thursday night, at Bridgewater, 7:30 PM Game 3 (if necessary): Friday night, at Stuarts Draft, 7:30 PM
The Diamondbacks have put together a very solid season, staying around .500 all summer, but winning key matchups along the way. They are a team with a deep lineup and a reliable bullpen, making them a formidable playoff opponent. Jack Pausic (.326 AVG, 22 RBI), Tanner Levine (.313 AVG) and Tyler Wilcher (.308 AVG) will all be dangerous weapons for Stuarts Draft to deploy.
They will go head to head against the defending champion Bridgewater Reds, who, despite losing a handful of key players from previous seasons, are still very much in the mix.
The Reds’ full capabilities were on display in the middle of the season, where they won 8 of 9 games in commanding fashion. Now, Bridgewater will look to recapture that success behind their star-studded pitching staff, led by the dynamic duo of Derek Shifflett (4 CG, 3.80 ERA, 82 K) and Tucker Garrison (4-2, 4.32 ERA, 55 K). Of course, the other problem for the Dbacks is MVP candidate Corbin Lucas (.425 AVG, 30 RBI) lurking in the middle of the Reds’ lineup.
#4 Broadway Bruins vs #5 Montezuma Braves
Game 1: Wednesday night, at Broadway, 7:30 PM Game 2: Thursday night, at Montezuma, 7:30 PM Game 3 (if necessary): Friday night, at Broadway, 7:30 PM
The Bruins finish the regular season winning 6 of their last 8 games. The Bruins are arguably the most evenly talented team in the league, having solid assets in all aspects of the game. They will now turn to a few key players to take them over the hump, namely John Judy (4-1, 2.31 ERA) on the mound and Matt Meiser (.327 AVG, 25 RBI) at the dish.
As for the Braves, they take a three game win streak into the playoffs, backed by a fearsome offense, anchored by PJ Hanisak (.350 AVG, 28 RBI) and MVP candidate Luke Paczewski (.400 AVG, 16 RBI). The key for Montezuma will be finding reliable innings from their bullpen, which could prove to be a difference maker in this evenly matched series.
After the conclusion of the first round, only four teams will remain, setting up an exciting semi-finals series. Be sure to get out and catch the first round action this week, and stay tuned to the RCBL website for more playoff coverage.
By Adam Harnish Clinging to a one run lead in the eighth, with the bases loaded and the tying run on third base, Braves pitcher Alex Markopoulos knew he was in a tough spot. But, he still had a plan. “I was just looking to pound the zone,” Markopoulos recalled. “In my head, just pound the zone, and make them beat me with the bat.”
Sure enough, Markopoulos induced an inning ending groundout to escape the jam. The Montezuma Braves (4-3) went on to win a gritty, intense matchup 5-4 against the Bridgewater Reds (2-5), anchored by a crucial 3.2 innings of relief from their young right hander.
“[Markopoulos] pitches with confidence,” Montezuma coach Chris Rush said after the game. “He’s one of those guys that when he takes the mound, if the game is close, he’s going to keep you right there where you need to be.”
Bridgewater started off the game with a two run double courtesy of Kyle Weston, but the Braves quickly responded with three runs of their own in the bottom of the frame. The Braves tacked on two more runs in the middle innings, and their relief pitchers, Troy Fink and Keegan Oliver, held down the fort until the middle of the sixth inning. That’s when Coach Rush went to his closer.
“The last game [Markopoulos] pitched, we were really impressed with what we saw. So, we knew going into this game that he was going to be our closer guy tonight,” Rush explained.
Things got dicey for the Braves in the top of the eighth, when some quality Reds at-bats and a few close calls resulted in a run getting walked in, making the score 5-4. With their back against the wall, bases loaded and two outs, the Braves stuck with Markopoulos on the mound, and he was able to get out of the jam. He went on to pitch a one-two-three ninth inning to put the game in the books.
OTHER STANDOUT PERFORMANCES: Reds CF Grey Sherfey went 2 for 2 with three walks, two runs and one RBI, improving his batting average to .444 on the year...Reds starting pitcher Derek Shifflett threw all eight innings for Bridgewater, only allowing three earned runs on seven hits and eight strikeouts....oh, and by the way, Markopoulos had himself a day at the plate as well: a pair of hits, with an RBI and a run scored.
The Braves travel to Grottoes to take on the Cardinals (1-6) on Friday night. The Reds get a bit of a breather before their next matchup on Sunday at home against the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks (2-3).
Bridgewater starting pitcher Tucker Garrison and Grottoes catcher Dylan Nicely have been named the RCBL Players of the Week for the week of May 27-June 2.
Garrison is the Journeys Crossing RCBL Pitcher of the Week following a 3-2 win over Grottoes on June 2. The Reds’ hurler tossed a complete game at Shifflett Field, leading his team to their second win of the season. Garrison struck out 14 batters on the night, allowing just two runs to come across the plate.
The win was Garrison’s first outing of the season for Bridgewater, who improved to 2-3 with the victory at Grottoes. Garrison and the Reds will be back on the field Tuesday night at Montezuma.
Facing Garrison at the plate on Sunday night was Cardinals’ catcher Dylan Nicely, who has been named the Timberview Crossing RCBL Player of the Week. Nicely batted .571 in two games this week, hitting one home run and driving in five runs.
Nicely and the Cardinals played on back-to-back nights this week, taking on Broadway on Saturday before facing Bridgewater on Sunday. Nicely went 2-for-3 with a home run and four RBIs in Saturday’s loss to the Bruins.
On Sunday, Nicely went 2-for-4 with a double and one RBI as the Cardinals fell to the Reds at home. Nicely and the Cardinals will be back in action tonight as they host Broadway in a makeup game at Shifflett Field.
BRIDGEWATER- Before Friday night’s game two of the RCBL championship series, Bridgewater Reds IF/P Tyler Bocock was officially awarded the 2018 MVP Award. Nearly three hours later, he showed a massive crowd at Ray Heatwole Field why the award was so deserving.
The first six and a half innings of game two were dominated by the Clover Hill Bucks. Ross French gave the Bucks an early 1-0 lead, scoring on a Blake Sipe pop-up that was dropped by second baseman Brian Bocock in the first inning.
Back-to-back doubles by Cody Warner and Blake Sipe would plate two more runs, giving Clover Hill a 3-0 lead with starting pitcher Nick Corbin cruising on the mound. Corbin worked through six scoreless innings, producing weak contact and timely ground balls throughout the evening (until things unraveled in the seventh inning).
After a solo home run by Danny Grogg put the Bucks up 4-0, it appeared as if Clover Hill was well on their way to pulling even with Bridgewater at a game apiece in this best-of-seven series.
Tyler Bocock had other plans. A Tyler Mahone single, Grey Sherfey single, and Kevin Bocock walk loaded the bases with two outs and the just-named MVP coming up to the plate.
Bocock wasted no time, sending the first pitch he saw deep over the left-centerfield fence for a grand slam. A longing stare, a quick bat flip, and a few resounding “Let’s go!” from Bocock not only tied the game but immediately gave his Reds all the momentum they would need to complete the comeback.
Jared Talley took the hill for the final two frames, throwing two scoreless innings while refusing to allow a hit or a free pass, earning the victory after a 10th inning walk-off from his offense.
Bocock would score the game-winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning on a Corbin Lucas walk-off single that dropped in front of Clover Hill center fielder Blake Sipe.
Both teams will take Saturday off before returning to the diamond on Sunday evening at Buck Bowman Park for game three. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 (pending sun, of course).
CLOVER HILL - CLOVER HILL- Game one of the Rockingham County Baseball League championship series did not disappoint. In the showdown of all showdowns, the Bridgewater Reds sent Derek Shifflett to mound to match up against the regular season champion Clover Hill Bucks and their ace, Corey Armentrout.
The stands were full, excitement and tension ran high throughout the Clover Dome, and the action on the field was exactly what everyone expected it to be.
In a truly unbelievable performance, Bridgewater starting pitcher Derek Shifflett threw 147 pitches in a complete game, winning effort to clinch game one of the RCBL championships.
Shifflett gave up three earned runs on 11 hits, striking out nine Bucks hitters, all while in obvious pain. Working through the second inning, Shifflett doubled over in pain, holding his oblique area as he walked around the back of the mound. As the crowd fell silent, except for a few gasps from Bridgewater faithful, Shifflett tossed a few warmup pitches and continued on his way.
Even though the velocity seemed to dip, Shifflett relied on his pitch selection and defense behind him to finish off one of the more memorable pitching performances in league history.
Corbin Lucas, Tyler Bocock, and Tyler Mahone each drove in runs through the first three frames, giving Bridgewater a quick 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the third.
With Drew Easter and Addison Griffin on base in the third, Blake Sipe tied the game up with one swing of the bat, sending a three-run home run over the left field fence. Despite the humid conditions and moist air, the ball slowly carried its way out of Buck Bowman Park, reenergizing the home crowd.
The next four frames went scoreless as both teams traded hits and highlight reel defensive plays, including a diving, Gold Glove worthy grab by Sipe in centerfield to save two runs from scoring.
Coach Cofer sent his ace back out to the mound to start the eighth inning, quickly pulling Armentrout after he surrendered a leadoff walk to Grey Sherfey. Armentrout was replaced by the RCBL’s top relief pitcher, Eric Yankey to finish out the final two frames.
A throwing error by Clover Hill and an RBI-double from Brian Bocock would give Bridgewater a 5-3 lead, enough of a cushion to allow Shifflett to finish off his epic performance.
Every single starter on each team reached base at least once as both teams combined for 22 hits in a game that undoubtedly has set the tone for an unforgettable best-of-seven series to decide the 2018 RCBL champion.
Game two will take place tonight at Ray Heatwole Field with first pitch scheduled for 7:30 pm.