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By Tyler Carney
An all-star caliber day on the mound saw the Reds take the day over the Brave 8-4. A fun one in Montezuma saw a little bit of everything including the Reds looking in championship form.
The game looked to be heading in a defensive direction as neither team could muster a run in the first two innings but to no one’s surprise Michael Robertson would drive in a run in the bottom of the third continuing his great hitting season. However, more dominance on the mound from Reds pitcher Chris Huffman would prevent Montezuma from scoring any more runners in the third.
Bridgewater would then claim the lead in the top of the 4th with three runs, with a groundout RBI from the pitcher Huffman and a two RBI single from Caden Swartley would put the Reds up two. The Reds would strike again in the sixth with another RBI single for Swartley.
Montezuma had not quit yet as a two run home run from Gavin Rush would bring Montezuma back to within two in the bottom of the seventh and hoped to be a rally for the Braves. However the Reds never slowed down striking back with two of their own in the top of the eighth off of a Brett Tharp 2 RBI double that split the gap.
Both teams would finish with 8 hits and only two errors on the night both committed by the Braves.
The Reds would get another two in the top of the ninth coming again off the back of Swartley who hit a 2 RBI double capping off his great day with a fifth RBI. The Braves did have some chances to get back in it but after their last run coming in the bottom of the eighth off of a sacrifice fly from Jacob Cude, Monetzuma could not bring anyone in the rest of the way.
As for pitching, reigning pitcher of the year Chris Huffman reminded us why he won the award, striking out twelve batters in just six innings of work while also batting in an RBI. He was eventually relieved in the top of the 7th by Mason Luck who set up for Derek Shifflett who would come in in the top of the 8th and finish the game pitching well earning him a save.
“I just worked on mixing it up and getting ahead of hitters,” said Reds pitcher Huffman, “It’s a smaller field so limiting walks was huge and establishing the inside on the hitters.”
On the other side Lance Tate would pull the start for the Braves and despite earning the loss put together a good day's work and was eventually replaced by Derrick Ryan who set up for Blake Argenbright. However Argenbright did not shine only managing two outs to two walks and an RBI and was replaced quickly by Dalton Hall who managed to clean up and set up for hard throwing closer Alex Belako. Belako is someone who will be key to close out games for the Braves who did not have his best outing but the control is getting better with his velocity. He would finish out the Montezuma loss.
“ From a coaching standpoint I wouldn’t tell our guys to change a whole lot going forward, there were two pretty good pitching staffs out there tonight, we faced two of the top pitchers in the league and we made it close,” said Braves manager Chris Rush.
For Bridgewater they now move to 2-1 on the young season and will look to keep it going in the championship rematch on the road against the Diamondbacks June 2nd.
Montezuma falls to 2-2 and will continue their home stand and look to bounce back against the Broadway Bruins also June 2nd.
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