BROADWAY - The first night of the RCBL playoffs played out just as expected, nothing is guaranteed. In last night’s matchup between the four-seed Broadway Bruins and five-seed Grottoes Cardinals, the Cardinals emerged victorious, taking game one by a score of 8-5.
Josh Pittman took the mound for the Cardinals, giving up three earned runs on eight hits, while striking out seven Bruin hitters. Pittman continued his quietly dominant season in the RCBL, leading his team one game closer to the semi-finals of the RCBL playoffs.
He received a welcomed early advantage in the top of the first inning as All-RCBL slugger Keegan Woolford slugged a three-run home run, setting the tone for this game early on.
The Bruins slowly mounted a comeback in the third and fourth innings against Pittman. Bryce Strawderman drew a bases loaded walk, followed by an RBI-single by veteran Kevin Rush to bring the Bruins to within one.
Matt Meiser would tie the game in the fourth inning, scoring on a passed ball on a Brady Duff strikeout.
After significant struggles throughout much of the regular season, Cardinals’ infielder Matt Curry continued his impressive streak at the plate, driving in a three-run double in the top of the sixth, giving the Cardinals a lead they would refuse to surrender for the rest of the evening.
Jacob Merica and Logan Grimm added a little insurance in the eighth inning with RBI-base hits, however, Brady Cockerham didn’t need the extra help, striking out the side in the ninth inning to slam the door shut on game one.
Grottoes is now just one game away from advancing the semi-finals. They will look to lock up the series tonight, as the series moves to Grottoes for game two (weather permitting). Assuming Cole Holsinger takes the ball for Broadway tonight, expect quite a show in Grottoes as the veteran-lead Bruins attempt to claw their way back to even the series.
The members of the All-RCBL team have been announced for the 2018 season. Members of the media met earlier this week to vote on the team, which was revealed on Saturday morning’s episode of the Play Ball show on ESPN 106.9 and 1360 WHBG.
Bridgewater and Clover Hill lead the way with four players from each team being honored. Bridgewater has four position players on the team while Clover Hill has three pitchers and one position player.
This year’s team features four players who were honored last season as well: Tyler Bocock, Drew Easter, Ryan Cooper and Corey Armentrout.
A number of statistical leaders were named to this year’s All-RCBL team. Home run leader Keegan Woolford made the team as a designated hitter. Nick Goode was named as an outfielder and currently leads the league with a .470 batting average with one game left in the season.
Regular season strikeout leader Kris Lalk and ERA leader Kevin Chandler were each named to the team as pitchers. Lalk tied the Pointstreak-era record of 87 strikeouts in a season for the Elkton Blue Sox this year.
Rookie Dan Fry was named to the team in his first season in the RCBL. Fry finished the season batting .316 with four home runs and 26 RBIs. Joining him is veteran Kevin Rush, who batted .292 with 14 RBIs in what is likely his final season.
Stuarts Draft veteran Ryan Cooper was named as a utility player after batting .416 with one home run and 16 RBIs for the Dbacks this season. Cooper’s main position is first base, but he also saw time at every infield position and outfield this season.
EMU product Kyle Mathews made the team as an outfielder, batting .378 with six home runs and 20 RBIs on the season. Mathews leads the Montezuma Braves in nearly every offensive category this season.
Below is the full list of players named to the 2018 All-RCBL team.
Catcher: Tyler Mahone, Bridgewater First Baseman: Brian Bocock, Bridgewater Second Baseman: Josh Wright, Bridgewater Shortstop: Tyler Bocock, Bridgewater Third Baseman: Kevin Rush, Broadway Outfielder: Kyle Mathews, Montezuma Outfielder: Nick Goode, New Market Outfielder: Dan Fry, Broadway Outfielder: Drew Easter, Clover Hill Utility: Ryan Cooper, Stuarts Draft Designated Hitter: Keegan Woolford, Grottoes Pitcher: Corey Armentrout, Clover Hill Pitcher: Kevin Chandler, Clover Hill Pitcher: Kris Lalk, Elkton Pitcher: Eric Yankey, Clover Hill
The end of the 2018 regular season is shaping up to be just like the beginning. Games that were originally scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday have been pushed back two days due to rain coming through the area this week.
Tonight’s schedule features two games around the league. Elkton travels to Bridgewater for an interdivisional matchup with the Reds. The New Market Shockers will play the Montezuma Braves at Montezuma Ruritan Field, although the Shockers will serve as the home team in the contest. Friday will see four games played on the last day of the regular season. Elkton will be on the road again as the Blue Sox take on the Diamondbacks at the Diamond Club in Stuarts Draft. Broadway will close out the season with a matchup against the Braves in Montezuma. New Market and Bridgewater will face each other at Ray Heatwole Field in their last game of the season.
The Grottoes Cardinals play host to the Clover Hill Bucks at 7:30 on Friday night in a critical matchup for the Cardinals. Tonight is Grottoes’ last game of the regular season and the Cards are just half a game behind New Market in the East Division.
The Cardinals need to win tonight’s game and need the Shockers to lose their next two games in order to win the division. If the two teams are tied in the standings when the season ends, the division champion will be decided by head-to-head performance during the regular season. New Market leads Grottoes three games to one in the regular season series.
With the final games of the season being pushed back, the playoff schedule has been changed as well. As of right now, the playoffs will begin on Sunday, July 29. The first round is a best of three series that will be played on consecutive nights.
Clover Hill has already clinched the one-seed in the playoffs and the Bucks will take on the Braves in the first round. The rest of the playoff matchups will be determined following the conclusion of the regular season.
With two games left in the season, Elkton, Stuarts Draft, Bridgewater and Broadway all have chances to improve their playoff seeding.
The 2018 All-RCBL team will be announced this Saturday, July 28 on the Play Ball show on ESPN 106.9 and 1360 WHBG. Karl Magenhofer and Mike Bocock will announce the players at each position who have been named to the All-RCBL team for their performance during the 2018 season.
Saturday morning’s show will be broadcast live from the Hall of Fame Sports Grill at 2264 Clover Hill Road in Dayton.
GROTTOES- Just when you start to question whether or not the Grottoes Cardinals can make noise in the upcoming RCBL playoffs, they put in a performance like they did last night.
In a home matchup against the 15-8 Broadway Bruins, the Cardinals proved victorious, defeating the Bruins 3-2 after scoring two runs in the bottom of the ninth to secure the walk-off victory.
Bryce Strawderman gave the Bruins an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, scoring on a Kevin Rush fielder’s choice. Brady Duff would make it 2-0 on a John Ackerman ground ball in the top of the third. Unfortunately, that’s all the offense Broadway would muster on the night.
Down to their final three outs and down 2-1, here’s how the ninth inning played out for the Cardinals.
David Wood was hit by a pitch. Adam Dofflemyer walked. Logan Grimm singled. Bases were now loaded with no outs and the eight-nine hitters in the lineup coming up to bat.
Matt Curry (recently joined Grottoes after beginning the season with Clover Hill) has struggled with the strikeout this season. There’s no sugarcoating it. He put all of that behind him and came up with a clutch RBI-single to tie the game.
Four pitches later, Michael Wilhite drew a bases loaded walk, sending Grottoes home winners.
Cole Holsinger did an admirable job on the mound for Broadway, giving up just two hits and an unearned run across seven innings. He struck out seven in the process.
As for Grottoes, it was Wilhite’s performance on the mound that also helped to propel the Cardinals to victory. He struck out five and gave up just one hit over 2.2 relief innings. Wilhite improved to 3-1 on the season in eight games out of the bullpen.
Grottoes is back in action tonight, traveling to Montezuma to take on the Braves in another must-win game for the Cardinals. Broadway returns to action on Wednesday night with a home game against Bridgewater.
BROADWAY - The Broadway Bruins started out the season as the hottest team in the RCBL, but they’ve struggled ever since the All-Star break. The team came into Sunday night’s game against Elkton on a three-game losing streak, but they finally got back into the win column with a 3-2 victory.
“It feels good,” Broadway head coach Justin Getz said. “That’s what the guys needed right there. It wasn’t anything flashy, it wasn’t anything crazy. They just came out there and did their job.”
Coming onto the mound looking for his first win since June 15, John Judy was extremely effective for the Bruins. Judy lasted seven innings, giving up two runs on six hits and striking out seven batters.
Tommy Weaver came in to pitch the final two innings, allowing just one base runner and striking out three batters to pick up the save.
“We got an outstanding performance by John Judy off the mound, which he’s known to do that and that’s what he’s there for, to step in those roles,” Getz said. “Good job by Weaver closing it out.”
The game was a pitchers’ duel most of the night, with the Bruins first base runner not coming until the bottom of the third. Elkton starter Kris Lalk struck out the side in the first and fanned two more batters in the second.
By the time the third inning rolled around, though, the Bruins were ready to put the bat on the ball. Matt Meiser hit an RBI double to score Boo Dean for the first run of the game. Meiser came around to score later in the inning to make it 2-0 Broadway.
The Blue Sox tacked on a run in the fifth to close in on the lead, but Bryce Turner came around to score in the bottom of the inning to make it 3-1 Bruins.
Elkton scored its final run of the game in the seventh and couldn’t get anything going in the final two innings as Broadway took the victory.
Broadway finished the night with three runs on six hits. Meiser had the only multi-hit game of the night, going 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI.
Coach Getz was happy with the way his team played in all phases of the game on Sunday.
“We hit, we produced runs in a timely fashion and made the plays that were presented to us,” Getz said. “It was a good all around win.”
The Bruins stay in the mix for the West Division title with the win. The team is now 15-8 on the season and 2.5 games behind Clover Hill.
The Bruins head to Grottoes tonight before returning home on Wednesday to take on Bridgewater in a pivotal Western Division matchup.
CLOVER HILL - Clover Hill- It was another must-watch Western Division showdown last night in Clover Hill as the Bucks played host to the Broadway Bruins on Friday night at the Clover Dome.
Despite a late-inning rally, Clover Hill walked away with a 10-7 win, maintaining a one-game lead over Bridgewater for first place in the West.
The Bucks scored four runs in the bottom of the first as Blake Sipe, Cody Warner, and Luke Shifflett hit back-to-back-to-back RBI-singles off Broadway starting pitcher, Tanner Skidmore. Sipe and Warner would both repeat the process in the second inning, contributing RBI-singles to give Clover Hill a 6-0 lead going into the third inning.
Cody Warner and Luke Shifflett would combine to go 5-8 at the plate with six RBIs on the night, giving Shifflett a total of 18 this season.
Clover Hill starting pitcher Nick Corbin cruised through his seven innings of work, giving up just four hits while walking none and striking out six. Unfortunately, his bullpen didn’t experience quite the same success.
Broadway threatened with three runs in the eighth and three more in the ninth, all off Bucks’ relief pitcher, Tanner Moyers. Boo Dean and Ben Reid brought in four runs over the final two frames. Reid’s RBI-single in the 8th was his first hit of the season since joining the team recently.
Head Coach Chris Cofer brought in the ace of his staff, Kevin Chandler, to record the final two outs and slam the door shut on Broadway’s explosive run. After giving up a two-run single to Dean, Chandler would strike out the final two batters of the game.
The Bucks return to action Saturday night, playing host to the Grottoes Cardinals in a battle of two first-place teams. As for Broadway, they return to the field on Sunday with a home game against Elkton.
BROADWAY - Keegan Woolford drew three walks in the Cardinals’ 8-0 win over Broadway on Tuesday night, but he thinks that has more to do with his plate discipline than his home run prowess.
“I’m just being patient looking for my pitch,” Woolford said when asked if he thought opposing pitchers were avoiding pithing to him. “I don’t take it personally. If it’s not there, I’m not going to swing in certain counts.”
Woolford leads the league in home runs with six on the season, but he’s been working on other aspects of his game besides his power hitting. His ability to draw walks has led him to an on base percentage of .526, which leads the league.
“I’ve cut down on strikeouts a little bit,” Woolford said. “I wish I’d done that in school ball. Getting better every day, that’s the key.”
Woolford’s OBP jumped 19 points in the win over Broadway. The Shenandoah University sophomore finished the night 1-for-2 with two runs scored as the Cardinals picked up their second straight win.
The game was scoreless until the top of the fourth inning when Grottoes put four runs on the board. Woolford scored the first run of the game on an RBI single by Ray Tricarico.
Three more runs came across when Logan Grimm hit a triple to right field scoring Eli Lam, Tricarico and Jacob Zoller. Grimm was tagged out at home trying to turn the triple into an inside-the-park home run.
The Cardinals put up two more runs in the fifth and then one each in the seventh and eighth to take home the victory.
Grottoes starter Spenser Davis picked up the win, tossing five innings and giving up no runs on four hits. Davis struck out three batters in his outing.
Woolford wasn’t the only Grottoes player to have a successful night at the plate. Lam finished the night 2-for-3 with two walks and three runs scored. Grimm was 2-for-3 on the night with three RBIs.
The win is the Cardinals’ second consecutive victory over a West Division power after defeating Bridgewater 11-10 on Sunday night. While no team in the East is above .500, the top three teams in the West are all above .700, so two straight wins gives Grottoes some confidence going forward.
“The team’s feeling good,” Woolford said. “We’re putting the pieces together defensively, offensively and pitching. So we’re looking good and looking forward to the last stretch of the season.” The Cardinals are now 9-10 on the season and in first place in the East Division.
Grottoes’ next matchup comes tonight as the Cardinals take on Elkton at home. The Blue Sox trail the Cardinals by just one game and won the last matchup between the two teams 7-4 on Friday night.
“That’s a huge matchup,” Woolford said about tonight’s game. “Every game from here on out is huge for us since the season’s been compressed since the rain. We’re going to try to go out there and win as many as we can.” Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. at Shifflett Field.
BROADWAY - Broadway- For a third-straight night, the Broadway Bruins hosted an RCBL game, defeating the Montezuma Braves by a score of 7-3. Despite coming off a 9-0 loss to Clover Hill on Friday and losing their second top-player of the summer, Broadway put themselves back in the win column and right in the thick of a tight Western Division title race.
The talk of the evening in Broadway was the departure of potential RCBL MVP, Logan Morrison, who agreed to join the Valley League after going 4-0 with a 0.72 ERA and 44 strikeouts in five appearances for the Bruins.
Quickly, the talk turned to the action on the field, after a three-run first inning for the Bruins. Bryce Strawderman, John Ackerman, and Kevin Rush each drove in runs to give Broadway a quick 3-0 lead, which they would not surrender for the rest of the night.
The Bruins would add three more runs in the second, thanks to a balk, sacrifice fly, and Dan Fry’s fourth home run of the season. Fry reached base in all four plate appearances, upping his RBI total to 22 and stealing his fifth base of the year. He is now one of six regular Broadway starters who brings a plus-.300 batting average to the plate this year.
Cole Holsinger, the new go-to starter for the Bruins, went seven innings, giving up six hits, two earned runs, with eight strikeouts. He earned his third win of the season for Coach Getz, increasing his strikeout total to 40 in 31.1 innings of work this summer.
Montezuma didn’t go down quietly in this one, posting nine hits on the night, including a two-run home run by this year’s RCBL Home Run Derby champion, Kyle Matthews. It was his fourth round-trip shot of the season, raising his batting average to .346.
The Braves had a familiar face return to the roster, who could provide a big spark for Montezuma come playoff time. Shortstop Zach Roberts returned to the Braves’ lineup, after spending the majority of the summer playing for the Staunton Braves in the Valley League. Roberts is a former-RCBL All-Star and is a force to reckon with at the top of a lineup. He went 3-4 last night.
Broadway returns home for yet another home game on Tuesday night as they take on the Grottoes Cardinals. Montezuma is also off until Tuesday when they travel to Clover Hill.
BROADWAY - Broadway Bruins starting pitcher Logan Morrison will join the Front Royal Cardinals of the Valley Baseball League, Bruins president Bryan Duff announced on the Play Ball show Saturday morning.
Duff joined the show on ESPN 106.9 and 1360 WHBG to talk about the Bruins’ season, saying that the organization was happy for Morrison and the opportunity that he is presented with in the Valley League.
Morrison was near the top of the RCBL in most pitching statistics at the time of his departure. He led the league in wins with a record of 4-0, was second in strikeouts (44) and fourth in ERA (0.72).
Morrison is the only player to be named Bob Wade Pitcher of the Week multiple times this season, earning the honor twice during the month of June. The first time was after a six-inning, 14-strikeout performance against the Bridgewater Reds on June 8. Broadway won that game 9-1.
His second Pitcher of the Week honor came following an eight-inning, 13-strikeout performance on June 27 in a game that Broadway won 4-0 over the Grottoes Cardinals.
Morrison, a member of the 2017 All-RCBL team, had been a key part of the Bruins surge at the beginning of the 2018 season. Broadway started the season 10-1 and had a nine-game win streak from June 6 to June 27. The Bruins have gone 3-4 since the All-Star break and are currently 13-5 and sitting in third place in the Western Division.
The Concord University pitcher is the second Bruin to be called up to the Valley League this season. Catcher Gavin Kandrick joined the Strasburg Express on June 28.
Morrison joins the Cardinals, who are currently in first place in the Valley League’s North Division with a record of 15-7.