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By Dean Barker
After five straight wins with ten or more runs, the New Market Shockers only needed five to take down the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks 5-2 in game three of the RCBL Finals on Monday, August 9 at Rebel Park. The win was the eighth in a row for the Shockers, who are 8-0 this postseason.
With the win, the Shockers improve to 23-6, and are one win away from their first RCBL title in 49 years, and their first ever as the Shockers. The Diamondbacks fall to 19-12 and now must win four in a row to claim the title.
Calvin Pastel picked up the win to move to 3-1, allowing two earned runs with seven hits and eight strikeouts in a complete game. Doug Pollock took his first loss to fall to 4-1, giving up five earned runs on five hits in six and a third innings. Chandis Goff pitched the last five outs with no runs, hits or strikeouts.
Pastel said his goal was to go the full nine.
“…I started to settle in and cruised a little bit through the second third of the game, and then next thing I knew, it was the seventh and eighth inning(s), and… at that point, my mindset was just to finish the game.”
Nick Goode and Ty Bennett led off the bottom of the second with singles, and advanced 90 feet on a wild pitch. Luke Keister was hit to load the bases for Matt House, who walked to score the first run. Pastel grounded into a 6-3 double play, but Bennett managed to score. Henry Delavergne grounded out to third to keep the lead at 2-0.
Frankie Ritter singled and reached second on a passed ball to lead off the bottom of the third. Pearce Bucher flew out to right field to move him to third. Luke Estep flew out to deep center field to drive in Ritter. Goode was hit and stole second, then moved to third on a passed ball. Bennett launched a homer over the left field wall to give New Market a 5-0 lead.
Cody Bartley hit a solo shot to left center field to put Stuarts Draft on the board in the fourth, cutting the lead to 5-1. With two outs in the top of the sixth, Terrell Thompson walked, and Jack Pausic singled to left field, but Bartley flew out to Pastel to end the inning. Will Hass almost led off the seventh with a Diamondback homer, but Bucher reached over the left field fence and pulled it in.
Pastel led off the bottom of the seventh with a sharp grounder to Bob Funk in right, but he was able to make the throw to first in time for the out. Delavergne followed up with a single to left. Ritter’s long ball to left was just foul, but Diamondbacks head coach Les Sandridge had seen enough, replacing Pollock with Goff. Ritter would be retired on a Willie Mays-style catch from Zach Roberts at second, who then picked off Delavergne to end the inning.
With two outs in the top of the eighth, Roberts looped a short fly ball between House at third and Bucher in left, giving him time to stretch it into a double. Thompson followed up with a double to right center to bring the D-Backs within three. They could do no more, as Pausic flew out to right to end the inning.
After a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth, Bartley led off the top of the ninth with a single to left. Hass grounded into a 5-4 fielder’s choice at second to retire Bartley. Funk singled to left to bring the tying run to the plate in Noah Canterbury, who struck out swinging. Tyler Wilcher grounded into an unassisted putout at third to end the game.
The Diamondbacks stranded six, compared to three from the Shockers. Neither team had any errors or unearned runs.
Bartley went 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Thompson was 1-3 with an RBI. Roberts went 1-4 with a run scored. Funk went 2-4, and Pausic was 1-4, totaling seven Stuarts Draft hits.
Bennett was 2-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. Estep and House were both hitless, but each had one RBI. Goode went 1-2 with two runs scored. Ritter was 1-4 with a run scored, and Delavergne was 1-4, adding up to five New Market hits.
Pastel said he feels good about the Shockers chances.
“The key is going to be the same as this game, just get ahead early, and throw strikes with our starting pitching,” Pastel said. “After tonight, all the bullpen’s ready to go, all fresh with at least two days of rest, and I’m confident going into tomorrow.”
New Market will hope to win it all tonight at The Diamond Club in game four at 7:30 pm. Should Stuarts Draft win, the teams will return to action Thursday for game five at 7:30 pm in New Market, a potential game six on Friday in Stuarts Draft at 7:30 pm, and game seven on Sunday at 6:30 pm at Rebel Park.
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