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By Josiah Schulz
Easily one of the highest scoring games in RCBL’s long and illustrious history, tonight resembled something much closer to that of a video game as opposed to a real-life baseball game. Arguably the two best and most potent offensive teams in the Bridgewater Reds and the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks squared off, and it culminated to be a night that will forever be remembered by both the spectators and the history books.
Stuarts Draft, although less known for their offensive firepower and more for their poor 3-16 record, actually leads the entire Rockingham County Baseball League in total Home Runs... by a large margin. The Diamondbacks are currently sitting on an astounding 31 Home Runs for the season; 8 HR’s ahead of the second place team, (you guessed it) the Bridgewater Reds. The Reds also have their share of offensive accolades as well, as they lead the entire league in total runs with 170. Extremely impressive stats, especially considering there has only been 20 games played this season, with the final games of the regular season finishing up in the next two days.
The Bridgewater Reds, who were without superstar and reigning League MVP Corbin Lucas, proved tonight that they do not need the offensive brute in order to win games. So many players stepped up to earn tonights victory, including: Michael Fyvie who scored 4 runs, Tanner Moyers who would RBI 3 guys to put the Reds on the board, and Dylan Horne, former Kansas City Royal and James Madison University Baseball alum, who tonight scored his first Home Run since 2012. Tonight, however, Bridgewater discovered a secret weapon and a true offensive threat through his sole standout and consistent performance tonight. That player is none other than the fan beloved catcher, and my personal game MVP, Jonathan Sexton. Sexton would contribute 2 runs, 6 RBI’s, and a Grand Slam Home Run late in the bottom of the 2nd inning to clear the loaded bases and finish the inning 9-1 in Bridgewater’s favor.
“That was honestly something that I have really been preparing for.” Said Sexton. “I’ve been getting those at-bats and getting a lot of reps hitting, so to see something come out of all the hard work I’ve been putting in was really exciting. The air was real still tonight so those balls were just flying off our bats. The craziest thing was the pitching on both sides was great! Both sides were throwing strikes, except guys were just barreling it up and out of the ballpark.”
Although Sexton’s description of the pitching is accurate, the statistics would trend towards words other than “great”. Stuarts Draft’s starting pitcher, Tyler Wilcher, would allow 9 runs, 3 walks, and only contribute 1 strikeout in his single and only inning pitching tonight. Even from the Reds, pitchers Waring Garber and Brett Tharpe would both combine for a total of 15 runs scored against them in a total of 7 innings pitched. Catcher for the Diamondbacks Grant Williams helped us get a little bit of insight on the pitchers struggles.
“I feel like the Bridgewater Reds had a really good approach with almost all of their at-bats this evening. You could see that they drove 4 or 5 of their home runs to the opposite side of the field, and really mashing every ball we threw.” Williams said. “At first, we started a position player at pitcher. He did alright considering he doesn’t normally pitch, but he started to throw a little wild so we had to get him out of there. After that, most everybody up to bat was in the zone. It was just a hitters night tonight.”
Even though the Diamondbacks walk away from tonight with a loss, they certainly did not go down easy. Stuarts Draft would finish the night with 18 total runs, 5 of which coming from home runs. Normally, 18 points would be enough for a resounding victory against any team, however not tonight. The Reds’s unthinkable 22 runs would ultimately trump the Diamondbacks, and improve their record to 11-8 and are now tied for 3rd place with the former #1 Clover Hill Bucks.
“I think this is the first game I’ve ever been at in all my years of life to see 11 home runs in one game.” Coach of the Reds Robert Sherfey said with a laugh. “It was a truly back & forth game, you think you’re sitting okay, then BAM! BOOM! Another home run. (Stuarts Draft) fought back well. It was a good game. We as a team stayed focused. Guys stepped up, did their job, and we ended up on top! The boys are starting to play together, really starting to hit together a lot more now, so I feel confident we’re on the right path going into the playoffs.”
The Reds will look to continue their train of momentum chugging tomorrow night against the Grottoes Cardinals @ Buck Bowman Park at 7:30 p.m. for their final game of the regular season, and add to their two game win streak and claim the 3rd place spot going into the playoffs.
The Diamondbacks will host the Clover Hill Bucks tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. for their second to final game of the regular season, just patiently waiting for the playoffs to arrive and clean their record slate, which has been haunting them up until this point.
Final Score: Bridgewater 22 - Stuarts Draft 18
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