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By Dean Barker
After going down early, the Broadway Bruins were unable to defend their RCBL title, falling 10-3 in game four of the RCBL semifinals on Wednesday, August 4 at Broadway High School. With the win, Stuarts Draft improved to 19-9 and advanced to their tenth RCBL championship series in the last fourteen years. They will face the #1 New Market Shockers, who they defeated 2-1 in the regular season series. Broadway concludes the season at 13-14.
Parker Heinemann struck out seven and gave up two runs in five innings to get the win for Stuarts Draft, improving to 4-0. Chandis Goff pitched three innings and gave up one run. Trevor Mitchell pitched the final inning, striking out one and giving up one hit.
Trevor Thomas gave up six runs (four earned) and twelve hits in seven innings to fall to 2-2, despite striking out ten. Thomas was 3-5 with an RBI and two runs scored at the plate. James Riddel gave up three unearned runs in a third of an inning, and Dawson Moomaw gave up one unearned run in an inning and two thirds.
RCBL MVP Zach Roberts led off the game with a double to center field, and reached third on a wild pitch to Jack Pausic. Pausic would ground out to shortstop to bring Roberts home and give Stuarts Draft a 1-0 lead.
Bob Funk would hit a solo shot to left center to increase the lead to 2-0 in the second. Grayson Bush and Calen Owens singled, and Will Haas walked with two outs to load the bases, but Pausic struck out looking to end the inning.
Funk said being patient helped him at the plate Wednesday night.
“Get my pitch and don’t miss it, really,” Funk said. “Just be selective and get a good pitch to hit.”
Cody Bartley walked and reached second on a wild pitch to lead off the third. Lucas Adam reached first on a dropped throw by first baseman Kevin Rush, on which Bartley moved to third. Funk would drive in another run with a single to make the D-Back lead 3-0.
With two outs in the bottom half, Jett Shue would double to left, and Thomas ripped a grounder up the middle to bring him home. Caleb Taylor singled to left, and Cole Holsinger doubled to right to bring in another run. Isaac VanMeter walked to load the bases with two outs, but Heinemann struck out Ben Hutcheson to escape with the 3-2 lead.
Doug Pollock singled, Funk doubled, and Bush walked with two outs in the top of the fifth. With the bases loaded, Owens beat out a grounder to second to push the lead to 4-2.
Taylor and Holsinger walked with one out in the bottom half. Dawson Moomaw, pinch running for Taylor, stole third on a throw back to Heinemann. VanMeter struck out, and Hutcheson grounded into a fielder’s choice at second to keep the Diamondbacks on top.
With two outs in the sixth, Bartley and Pollock singled, but Adam flew out to Hutcheson at second.
Bush reached first on an error from Holsinger at short, and stole second. Roberts drove him in with a single to left, and Haas walked to make way for an RBI single from Pausic to push the Stuarts Draft advantage to 6-2 at the seventh inning stretch.
Thomas led off the bottom half with a deep fly ball to left, which Adam dropped. Thomas reached second on the error, and moved to third on a wild pitch. Goff struck out Taylor and Holsinger, but Hass bobbled VanMeter’s grounder to allow Thomas to score. Moomaw’s fly ball to left looked like a hit, but Owens made a diving catch to keep the score 6-3.
The Diamondbacks loaded the bases to start the eighth, as Pollock and Funk walked, and Adam singled to left. With Moomaw coming in to pitch, Bush and Owens struck out swinging. However, a grounder from Roberts led to a dropped throw at first, allowing two runs to score. Another one would come home on a wild pitch, making the score 9-3.
Bartley kicked off the ninth with a single, and with two outs, Funk ripped a double to left to push the lead to 10-3. Shue led off the bottom half with a single, and then Thomas went down swinging. Shue went to third on a fly out from Taylor, but Holsinger grounded out to second to end it.
The Diamondbacks left sixteen runners on base, and had no errors with one unearned run. The Bruins stranded ten, and four errors led to six unearned runs.
Funk was 4-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Roberts went 2-6 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Pausic was 1-6 with two RBIs. Owens went 2-5 with one RBI. Pollock went 2-5 with three runs scored. The Diamondbacks totaled fifteen hits.
Holsinger was 1-4 with an RBI, VanMeter was 1-2 with an RBI, and Shue was 2-5 with a run scored. The Bruins managed to get ten hits.
Funk says the Diamondbacks will be able to defeat the Shockers if they keep doing what they’ve been doing. When asked about the key to taking the crown, he said “Basically don’t change a thing. Keep swinging and keep playing defense, that’s all it takes.”
The Diamondbacks will travel to Rebel Field for game one on Friday night at 7:30 pm, and will host game two Saturday, August 7 at 7:30 pm.
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