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By Leyton Pullin
The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks picked up a win in the deciding game three of the first round series against the Grottoes Cardinals 6-4 off the bats of two big pinch hit base knocks from Lucas Adam and Tyler Wilcher.
Stuarts Draft got the scoring started right away in the bottom of the 1st as Zach Roberts worked a walk off of Jacob Dansey to open the inning. Terrell Thompson came to the plate next and broke himself out of a bit of a slump at the plate with a deep fly to left for a 2-run home run to put the D-backs on top 2-0.
Grottoes would not strike back until the 3rd inning as Noah Burtner broke up the no-hitter that Parker Heinemann had worked up until that point. Burtner would be put out in a fielder's choice to put Dalton Nicely aboard. Boogie Saunders came up next and showed off his speed working an infield single. Dylan Nicely came up later in the inning and struck a ball well for a 2 RBI single to score Dalton Nicely and Saunders to tie the game 2-2.
Right away in the bottom half of the 3rd Stuarts Draft responded with back-to-back walks to put Roberts and Thompson on the base paths with no outs. Jack Pausic came up later in the inning and flew out deep to Jacob Zoller in right field which allowed Roberts to tag and score to put the D-backs ahead 3-2.
Both pitching staffs shut down hitters from that point until the top of the 8th as the D-backs went to the bullpen for the first time all night to Chandis Goff. Goff retired the first two hitters he faced before Zoller worked a walk and Jacob Merica singled before David Wood also ended a cold streak as he doubled off of the wall bringing both runners into score putting the Cardinals ahead 4-3.
The D-Backs bounced right back as Lucas Adam pinch hit and ground rule doubled signaling the end of the night for Ty Lam who had not given up a hit in 3 innings of relief up to that point. Tyler Wilcher came up next and crushed a line drive off of the wall to drive in Adam and tie the game. Roberts came up later in the inning with two on and knocked both in with a 2 RBI double to right field to put the D-Backs in front 6-4 headed to the 9th.
Goff came back out in the 9th and retired the Cardinals in order to seal the victory and the series win for Stuarts Draft.
Goff also picks up the win for Les Sandridge and company as they move on to the second round for a match-up with the Broadway Bruins starting Saturday night at the Diamond Club at 7:30.
“Huge, it makes all the difference in the world. Otherwise we go into the next series down after having to burn through guys,” said Manager Les Sandridge on the long start he got out of Heinemann, who went 7 innings and only gave up 2 runs after primarily coming out of the bullpen all year long.
Sandridge also played a bit of a chess match in the 8th inning as he brought in Lucas Adam and Tyler Wilcher off the bench and both delivered key hits for the D-backs. “We weren’t hitting the ball like we would’ve liked to,” said Sandridge.
Once again the D-backs advance and will play the defending champions the Broadway Bruins in a five game series starting on Saturday July 31 at 7:30 in Stuarts Draft.
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