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By Leyton Pullin
On Saturday August 7 the Shockers found themselves trailing 9-5 entering the top of the 9th but never gave up and put up 5 runs in the frame to win 10-9 over the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks in game 2 of the RCBL Championship Series and take a 2-0 series lead.
The Shockers took an early lead in the top of the 2nd inning as Nick Goode walked and later scored as a ground ball squirted out of the glove of Doug Pollock at short stop making it 1-0.
New Market did not stay out in from long as the D-Backs struck back in the bottom of the 2nd as Will Hass led the inning off with a walk. Tyler Wilcher came up to the plate later in the inning with two outs and drove a line drive off of the wall for a double pushing Hass into score and tie the game 1-1.
New Market took advantage of another Stuarts Draft error in the top of the 3rd as Luke Estep grounded to Pollock but was not able to make a play allowing Frankie Ritter to score and put the Shockers back in front 2-1.
Stuarts Draft responded on cue in the bottom half of the 3rd as Clen Owens led the inning off with a walk. Zach Roberts came to the plate next and ripped a ball over the head of the second baseman for a single allowing Owens to score. Jack Pausic came up later in the inning and singled putting runners on the corners. During the next at bat Pausic took off to second base and catcher Dawson Russell made the throw to second but airmailed it over the head of Ritter at short allowing for Roberts to score unearned and put the D-Backs in front 3-2.
Stuarts Draft added to their lead in the bottom of the 5th as Terrell Thompson crushed a solo homerun to make it a 4-2 game. They added another run later in the inning as Doug Pollock singled knocking Cody Bartley into score and stretching the lead to 5-2.
New Market would take advantage of a tiring Liam Kehoe in the 6th who got the start for Stuarts Draft. The Shockers loaded the bases with the first three hitters of the inning before the D-Backs went to the pen. Will Hass came to the mound for Stuarts Draft but still had two runs cross for the Shockers as Matt House scored on a Ethan Laird sacrifice fly and Luke Keister scored on a wild pitch to make it a single run game at 5-4.
Stuarts Draft slowly stretched their lead back out with a run in each the 6th and 7th as Zach Roberts hit a solo home run in the 6th and an RBI ground out by Tyer Wilcher in the 7th. New Market also added a run of their own as Pearce Bucher sent a ball well into the Augusta County sky for a solo homer in the top of the 7th with the score now. 7-5.
New Market went to the bullpen for their 4th arm of the night as Cade Templeton came on in the top of the 8th. The D-backs quickly loaded the bases with only one out before the Yellow Jacket Will Hass stepped to the plate. The Randolph-Macon senior popped a ball up into the Bermuda triangle in right field and the ball fell in between the first and second basemen along with the right fielder allowing both Thompson and Pausic to score to stretch the lead to 9-5.
New Market went to work in the top of the 9th as Chandis Goff came back out to the mound. Ritter and Bucher lead the inning off with back-to-back singles before Estep dug in the box and crushed a ball to dead center that was gone for a three-run home run to close the gap to 9-8. Later with an out in the inning Matt House came to the plate and singled to keep the inning alive. Keister came up to the plate next and stayed hot as he has done all post season with a single to the opposite field to push House to within 90 feet of tying the game. Next to the plate came Dawson Russell who had struggled at the plate up to this point before he clutched a ground ball up the middle that was eventually fielded by Pollock and tossed to Bartley for the out at first but allowed House to score and tie the game. Nolan Potts then gambled on himself as the New Market Manager put himself in the game in a pinch-hit situation to try and push Keister across as he represented the go ahead run. Potts struck a pitch into the opposite field allowing the speedy Keister to score easily and put the Shockers on top 10-9.
The Shockers went to CJ Morton to try and close out the game in the 9th but the power righty struggled loading the bases full of D-Backs on two walks and a hit batsman with two outs. To the plate came Hass who got ahead in the count 3-0 before Morton recovered with two called strikes and then a heater down main street that Hass was unable to get a piece of to seal the game.
The Shockers take a highly important two game to none lead as they were able to capitalize and rally when being down arms. “We really didn’t have a starting pitcher tonight,” said Manager Nolan Potts. “We knew Henry [Delavergne] had thrown well for us when we needed it and we got three solid innings out of him,” continued Potts.
The big keys in the 9th were the single from Luke Keister who stayed hot as he has had 3 home runs in the post season after not having one his entire baseball career up to that point. Keister’s single stretched the inning out and allowed Dawson Russell to put a ball in play to push the tying run across.
“Tonight, I tried to do what I could for the team and see a fastball early in the count and swing and hit it,” said Keister.
Cade Templeton gets the win after a less than ideal bottom of the 8th. CJ Morton gets the save as he avoided giving up a run after loading the bases in the bottom of the 9th. Chandis Goff takes the loss for Stuarts Draft after having a very uncharacteristic night on the bump as the righty gave up 5 earned runs in 1 inning pitched.
Game 3 will take place on Monday at Rebel Field in New Market at 7:30PM.
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