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By Dean Barker
Thanks to solid pitching and a huge first inning at the plate, the Grottoes Cardinals picked up their first win of the season at the undefeated Clover Hill Bucks 7-1 on Monday, June 14. The game was a makeup from June 11, which had been postponed due to rain. Grottoes was able to avenge a 4-2 loss from opening night to Clover Hill. With the win, the Cardinals improved to 1-2 on the year, while the Bucks fell to 3-1.
Tucker Garrison picked up the win with five innings pitched and three strikeouts, while at the plate he was 0-2 with two walks, a hit by pitch and a run scored. Coming in relief for Grottoes, Eli Lam got the no-decision with seven strikeouts in three innings pitched. Steven Woerner took the loss for Clover Hill, giving up seven runs on four hits and four walks in five innings, despite throwing seven strikeouts.
The Cardinals wasted no time getting to work, scoring four runs in the first with a Keegan Wolford three run bomb over the right field bleachers, followed by Dylan Nicely scoring on an error from left fielder Josh Eberly. The following inning, Nicely would bring in one run on a single, and another scored on a throwing error from center fielder Blake Sipe. Grottoes would add an extra run when Tucker Garrison came home on a Boogie Saunders grounder. The Bucks would get on the board in the bottom half with a RBI single from Tyler Bocock, but after Bocock was caught in a rundown, the threat was over.
The Clover Hill bullpen, with two innings each from Brady Cockerham and Sam Imeson, did all it could to set the Bucks up for a comeback, only allowing three runners to reach base. However, it all proved to be futile. With two on and two outs, Kevin Kirk hit what looked to be a breakthrough RBI single for the Bucks in the bottom of the eighth, but Cardinals center fielder Boogie Saunders was there to make the diving catch.
The Bucks were plagued by their inability to bring runners home, leaving 11 runners on base with just five hits and three walks. The Cardinals managed to score seven runs despite only having five hits and five walks for the evening. With four stolen bases, all in the first inning, Grottoes was able to scrape runs together, despite leaving nine runners on base.
Wolford felt the combination of powerful offense and stellar pitching is why the Cardinals were victorious.
“The pitching was huge tonight. It’s always good, when you put up a couple runs, you throw those guys out on the mound, you know you’ll get shutdown innings out of them,” Wolford told RCBL’s Dean Barker.
After two days off, the Cardinals will hope to stay hot when they host the Montezuma Braves on June 17 at 7:30 pm. The Bucks will aim to get back to their winning ways when they host the New Market Shockers at the same date and time.
By Olivia Carson
The New Market Shockers took an early lead against the Bridgewater Reds at Rebel Park on Saturday night to gather their second win of the season, ending the night with a 2 - 1 record. The Reds remain winless with a record of 0 - 3.
The first run scored by the Shockers was in the first inning after a wild pitch by Bridgewaters starting pitcher Nick Griffin. Three more runs were to follow, giving the Shockers a 4 - 0 lead heading into the second inning.
A solid hit from infielder Pearce Bucher advances a runner to home to add another run to New Markets advantage in the bottom of the second inning.
The Reds collected only three runs of the game, all in the fourth inning when Noah Cornwell hit a home run with one runner on. Third baseman for the Reds, Antonia Florentino-Sosa, advanced to home soon after off of a Shockers error at first base.
Later in the inning, after a Bridgewater pitching change exchanging Griffin for Chris Huffman, short-stop Frankie Ritter gets hit by a pitch with bases loaded to sccore, adding to the Shockers lead.
Another wild pitch for the Reds and an error from Florentino-Sosa at third base, allowed three more runs for the Shockers ending the fourth inning with a 9 - 3 advantage.
Two strong hits to center field in the 6th and 7th innings from Matt House and Nolan Potts made the score 11 - 3 by the bottom of the 7th.
The Reds completed two more pitching changes in the 8th inning for Dylan Horne to let a Shocker walk with bases loaded. Joel Smith then finds a pitch from Horne sending it to right field to advance one last runner, ending the ball game with a 13 - 3 lead for the New Market Shockers.
Starting pitcher and also assistant coach for New Market, Kirk Messick, was very happy with his team's win tonight against the Bridgewater Reds.
“Anytime we get a win that’s good performance,” says Messick. When asked about what he thinks needs to be changed for their next competition Messick responds, “I think our defense needs to be a little better next time, we had a few mistakes today that were costly...but overall our bats looked good coming off the Elkton game and having a week off.”
The shockers play again on Rebel Field on Sunday June 13 at 6:30pm against the Grottoes Cardinals while the Reds are scheduled to play their make-up against the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks also on Sunday at Diamond Club at 6:30pm.
By Dean Barker
The defending RCBL champion Broadway Bruins stayed undefeated with a 5-1 victory at the Elkton Blue Sox on Saturday, June 12. With the win, the Bruins improved to 3-0, while the Blue Sox fell to 0-3.
Wyatt Emswiler picked up the win for the Bruins with two strikeouts and one earned run in four innings pitched. Elliot Erkel was the losing pitcher, being responsible for five runs, seven walks and three hit batters in six innings, despite only giving up two hits. Bruins head coach Chip Abernathy was happy to see his starter get the job done.
“He (Emswiler) doesn’t try to overpower you, he tries to keep the ball moving around the strike zone,” Abernathy told RCBL’s Dean Barker. “He does a great job, he’s hard to hit.”
The teams traded runs in the first inning, with a RBI single from Trent Abernathy being matched in the bottom half by an RBI double from Cam Shields. The Bruins, however, kept punching, as Trevor Thomas’s RBI double in the 2nd and Bryce Turner’s sacrifice groundout in the 3rd made the score 3-1 Broadway. For the next five innings, the Blue Sox would only put two runners on, both of whom would be retired in double plays.
Following four quiet innings, the Bruins got some insurance runs in the eighth. After Blue Sox reliever Alex Mann hit Jett Shve and gave up a single to Cadlee Jarvis, Will Craig came in to try and escape the jam. A sac bunt from Justin Lohr gave Elkton one out, but a wild throw from third baseman Jeremy Kwolek brought home two runs for Broadway. The Blue Sox would put two more runners in scoring position, but could not bring either of them home, as they fell 5-1.
Broadway managed to pick up the win despite leaving 12 runners on base, while the Blue Sox stranded five runners. Had those five runners scored, it would’ve given Elkton the win.
Perhaps the strangest statistic for the night was hits. Broadway managed to get five runs off of just four hits, while Elkton had seven hits, but could only bring home one run. Coach Abernathy was pleased that his club was able to score on an otherwise quiet night.
“It wasn’t a great night swinging the bat, but you put it in play, somebody’s gotta field it, somebody’s gotta throw it,” Abernathy said. Of the five runs scored by Broadway, only two came off of hits; one run came from a sacrifice groundout, and two others came on an error.
While the Bruins are undefeated in their quest to defend their title so far, Abernathy doesn’t want to focus too much on his team’s record as they look ahead to Montezuma tonight.
“I’m not worried about (being) undefeated, I’m just worried about if we play well… get (our pitchers) in the game, move them through… hopefully, you know, score some runs, play some defense,” Abernathy said. Abernathy also pointed out that only five players returned from last year’s team.
After three road games, the Bruins will host their home opener tonight at 6:30 pm against the Montezuma Braves. The Blue Sox will hope to pick up their first win on Tuesday, June 15 when they host the Bridgewater Reds at 7:30 pm.
By Dean Barker
Every Shocker Gets Two Hits and an RBI in Blowout. The New Market Shockers clobbered the host Elkton Blue Sox 23-5 on Sunday, June 6 at Stonewall Memorial Park. The Shockers picked up their first victory of the 2021 campaign to improve to 1-1, while the Blue Sox fell to 0-2.
New Market had an offensive jamboree, with every single Shocker getting at least two hits and one RBI. Joel Smith picked up the win with four innings pitched and three strikeouts. Mark Arrington took the loss for the Blue Sox, exiting after 6 2/3 innings of 11 earned runs and 15 hits.
The Shockers wasted little time getting started, as Henry Delavergne clobbered the second pitch of the game over the left field wall to put New Market up 1-0. However, the Blue Sox struck back, as an RBI double from Jack Marshall and a RBI single from Cam Shields put Elkton up 2-1.
Not to be outdone, the Shockers would come storming back in the second inning, sending eight batters to the plate. Ty Bennet kicked things off with a double to center, and was driven in by an RBI single by Matt House. Joel Smith would help his cause with an RBI single, and came home on a triple from Luke Estep. Delavergne would bring him in with a single to make the score 5-2 Shockers.
Marshall would cut the deficit to 5-4 in the third with a two run homer to right field, but New Market put a run back on the board in the top of the fourth with a RBI double from Delavergne.
After the bases quickly loaded up in the top of the seventh, Pearce Bucher drove in two for the Shockers with an RBI double, and came in on a sac fly from Bennet. Ethan Laird would follow up with an RBI triple. New Market snuck in one more, as a Matt House liner ricocheted off of the second baseman’s glove to make the score 11-4. The Blue Sox would respond in the bottom half with a JJ Loker sacrifice fly to make it 11-5.
New Market was not done with the beatdown quite yet, as Josh Tayman would drive in one with a single and Laird would follow up with a two-run single to make it 14-5 in the eighth.
The ninth inning was absolutely brutal for the Blue Sox. The Shockers brought in nine runs on seven hits to make the final score 23-5. Bucher batted twice, with an RBI double and an RBI single. George Auel had a two run double and a hit-by-pitch to bring in a run.
Shockers head coach Nolan Potts was very pleased with his team’s performance.
“The bats just kept on staying hot,” Potts told RCBL’s Dean Barker. “When you do those three things well, you hit, you play defense, and you pitch well, then good things will happen."
The Shockers will have five days off before they host the Bridgewater Reds on Saturday, June 12 at 7:30. The Blue Sox will travel to Montezuma to take on the Braves on Friday, June 11 at 7:30.
By Olivia Carson
After a solid 4 -2 win Saturday night against the Grottoes Cardinals, the Bucks came with momentum to defeat the Bridgewater Reds 9 - 3 on Sunday June 6.
The ball game started out slow and competitive when both teams went head for head with 1 run on the board for the Bucks, until the 4th inning when second baseman for the Reds, Logan Phelps, hit the ball to right field and gained for an RBI single.
Things started to get a little interesting in the 6th inning when each team hit a home run.
The Reds were able to extend their lead 3 - 1 when Antonio Florentine-Sosa hit a homerun, gaining just one run for Bridgewater. The Bucks quickly responded with a 2-run shot by Drew Easter to tie the game 3 - 3 at the bottom of the 6th and neglected to allow another successful run by the Reds for the rest of the game.
With bases fully loaded in the bottom of the 7th inning, veteran for the Bucks, Tyler Bocock steps up to the plate. Knowing exactly what needs to be done, with 2 strikes, Bocock settled in and took the pitcher Chris Huffman deep with a grand slam, putting the Bucks on top (7 - 3).
When asked what was going through his head before hitting the grand slam, Bocock said his only focus was that he needed to “get a pitch up and drive it.”
The Bucks earned 2 more runs in the 8th inning to bump the lead up 9 - 3 after 2 pitching substitutions for the Reds, playing A.J. Stead who allowed a walk into home and later Nick Griffin who let Alex Knicely score Cody Swisher on a sacrifice fly to make the game.
The winning pitcher for the Bucks, Nick Corbin who subbed for the starter Eric Yankey in the 4th inning, struckout 5, allowed 2 earned runs and did not allow any walks in just four innings. Bocock replaced Corbin as a position player to get some reps on the mound in the 9th inning.
Bocock did not seem to be affected by the transition from playing shortstop and hitting a grand slam, to pitching in the last inning. He was strictly focused on getting work in and bettering himself as a flexible player.
Bocock does not seem to think their momentum was carried in from their win against the Cardinals the night before, he believes the atmosphere of playing at their home field, gave the Bucks the energy to grasp their second win of the season.
By Leyton Pullin
Broadway would draw first blood right away in the top of the 1st as Trevor Thomas would rwach on an error by Jacob Merica and would score on a Devon Neal RBI single to the right field gap making the score 1-0 Broadway.
Grottoes would try and respond in the bottom of the 2nd and get some run support for starter Tyler Pullin but would end up leaving Merica and Jacob Zoller stranded at second and third.
Broadway would strike again in the top of the 3rd after drawing back-to-back walks to start the inning Trent Abernathy would score on a Jett Shue RBI single to make it 2-0.
The Bruins scored another on a balk call against Pullin to stretch the lead to 3-0 before a Caleb Taylor sacrifice fly to score Shue and get on top 4-0 in the fourth.
The Cardinals got one of their own on the board after Dylan Nicely hit what looked to be a routine sinlge to center that rolled past Abernathy allowing him to reach third. He would score on a sacrifice to shrink the lead to 4-1.
Nicely came up big again in the 5th with an infield hit that would score both Boogie Saunders and Clayton Micheal to bring the Cardinals to within a run at 4-3.
Ty Lam would toss three good innings of relief on the mound silencing the Broadway bats before he got an explosion from his own offense in the bottom of the 7th. Ben Custer and Boogie Saunders would open the inning on back-to-back singles to put two runners on before Clayton Micheal went yard with a 3-Run homerun to put the Cardinals in front 6-4. They offense wasn’t done yet as the next batter Keegan Woolford would hit a solo homerun to extend the Grottoes lead to 7-4 headed to the 8th.
Just when Grottoes believed to have all the momentum is when it would flip on a dime. Ty Lam would begin to miss his spots on the mound and Broadway would capitalize putting up 5 runs in the 8th inning including the go-ahead RBI single by Neal to score Taylor stretching the lead to 9-7.
The Cardinals bats would go silent as Trevor Thomas would go to the mound for Broadway and tossed two great innings to close out the game only allowing one base runner via the walk to Merica.
Broadway would put four more runs up in the top of the 9th to extend their lead to 13-7 which would be the final.
After being in line for the win at one point Ty Lam gets credit for the loss (0-1) and Trevor Thomas (1-0) would pick up the win after his team took the lead while he was on the bump.
After the first weekend both teams will have some time off as Grottoes (0-2) will not play again until Friday June 11 as they travel to the Clover Dome to take on the Clover Hill Bucks (2-0). Broadway (2-0) will not be in action again until Saturday June 12 as they will travel for the third consecutive game to open the year for a road date with the Elkton Blue Sox (0-2) at 7:30 PM.
By Olivia Carson
The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks took a win with a score of 2-1 against the Elkton Blue Sox on Saturday night to start off the 2021 season.
Neither team was able to put runs on the board until the third inning when the Diamondbacks scored two runs off of an error from the Blue Sox catcher Gauge Jenkins.
Both starting pitchers, Derek Justice for the Blue Sox and Liam Kehoe for the Diamondbacks, came out slow with each giving up two walks in the first four innings. The Diamondbacks made two pitching changes throughout the night letting Parker Heinemann and Chandis Goff see some time on the mound.
Heinemann, in four innings, struckout 8, walked 3 and did not allow any earned runs against Elkton. Justice, who pitched eight innings for the Blue Sox, ending with 12 strikeouts, 2 earned runs and 4 walks.
Elkton was able to gain their first and only run of the game during the 9th inning with a hit to center field, sending a runner home.
Diamondbacks team manager Les Sandridge is excited that his team gained their first win of the season even if it was not the game he expected out of his players.
“I knew that after last year, we needed a win mentally as a team,” says Sandridge. He expressed that his team's performance did not necessarily meet his expectations, however a win is a win. “It wasn’t exactly what we had scripted, but it worked out.”
When asked about what changes need to be made for the Diamondbacks in their next competition, Sandbridge said he would like to see some improvements in hitting as his team was only able to get a few hits off of the Blue Sox Pitcher.
The Diamondbacks next game will be played on Friday June 11 at 7:30pm on their home field. While the Blue Sox play again at Stonewall Memorial Park in Elkton on Sunday June 6 at 7:30pm.
By Dean Barker
Montezuma, VA - Down 2-1 in the 8th inning, the Montezuma Braves used two late shutout innings and an RBI double from RHP Keegan Oliver to beat the Bridgewater Reds 3-2 on Opening Night at Ruritan Park. With the win, the Braves start the season 1-0, while the Reds fell to 0-1.
Oliver got the win in two innings with three strikeouts and two walks. Tanner Ray took the loss after giving up two runs in the eighth inning. It was not a strong offensive night for either team, as Bridgewater outhit Montezuma 6-5.
The game was tight from the beginning, as both teams had scoring opportunities. The Reds left two runners on in the first inning, and then escaped a bases-loaded jam with a 4-3 double play, one of three Bridgewater double plays for the evening. Braves starting pitcher Lance Tate went 1-2-3 in the top of the second, and Reds starter Derek Shifflet struck out two to leave two on in the bottom of the second.
After walking the first two batters in the third inning, the Braves almost escaped a jam after a 1-6-3 double play, but a wild throw from shortstop Gavin Rush allowed right fielder Nathan Brooks to come home and give the Reds the 1-0 lead. After leaving four runners on base in the first two innings, Montezuma responded with an RBI double from second baseman Isaiah Blanks to tie it up in the bottom half of the third.
Tate had a solid start for the Braves, striking out 8 in five innings pitched with one unearned run. He gave up no hits until the fourth inning, and just three total to get the no decision. After Tate exited the game in the fifth, Hunter Clever came in for the Braves to replace him. Second baseman Brett Tharp jumped on him for an RBI triple to give the Reds a 2-1 lead. Tharp got too excited, and was caught trying to steal home.
Derek Shifflet got a no decision for the Reds, giving up one run with seven strikeouts in six innings pitched. Shifflet also went 1-4 from the plate with a walk. He was replaced by Antonio Florentino-Sosa. Center fielder Michael Robertson was walked and stole second for the Braves. Brooks was also walked, but the Braves escaped the seventh with a 4-3 double play.
Oliver came on to replace Clever and struck out three Reds, only walking shortstop Brandon Lambert, who also moved to second on a wild pitch.
“It was just really like an adrenaline rush, especially after the first out, the second, and the guys had my back all the way from step one,” Oliver told RCBL.
After Clever was walked, stole second and reached third on a wild throw, Bridgewater head coach Robert Sherfey brought in Ray to replace Florentino-Sosa and try to stop the bleeding. Ray would get a groundout from Blanks, but first baseman Logan Jones brought in Clever with an RBI single, and would advance to second after an errant pickoff attempt from Ray. A ground ball from catcher Owen Marshall would move Jones to third with two outs.
This set the stage for Oliver, who thought his evening was over before head coach Chris Rush told him he was up.
“I was really anxious, ‘cause, like, usually I only pitch like one inning… after that, it’s like, I don’t hit, I just cheer my teammates on,” Oliver told RCBL. It was his first at-bat ever with the Braves.
Oliver hit a 3-2 pitch to the left field warning track to put the Braves on top 3-2 for good.
Bridgewater would attempt a comeback in the ninth, as Brooks reached first on a Blanks error. A 6-4-3 double play was just missed, as Shifflet beat out a fielder’s choice. Catcher Jonathan Sexton was walked, and after a groundout from Noah Cornwell, the Reds had two runners in scoring position. However, they would get no closer, as Ray would ground out to second to end the game.
The Reds were doomed by their inability to bring runners in, leaving 11 runners on base, compared to 9 from Montezuma. Bridgewater had three errors, whereas the Braves had just two.
The Braves will return to action Friday, June 11 when they host the Elkton Blue Sox at 7:30. The Reds will hope to bounce back tonight when they travel to Clover Hill to face the Bucks at 7:30.
By Leyton Pullin
On Saturday night the Broadway Bruins defeated the New Market Shockers 7-4 behind a dominant performance from their pitching staff.
The Bruins started the scoring in the top of the first as Natty Soloman would single to the opposite field as Justin Lohr would score after he reached on a hit by pitch giving the Bruins a 1-0 lead.
New Market would answer in the bottom half of the inning as Frankie Ritter would reach on an error an then would score on a passed by ball and showed off his speed to tie the game at 1-1.
Both starters would dig in as Collin Pastel and Jacob Bell would hold both sides scoreless until the top of the 4th inning as Broadway would push two runs across as Trevor Thomas and Trent Abernathy would score to take a 3-1 lead.
Broadway went right back to work in the 5th as they added two more with a Devon Neal ground-rule double and he would later score. Jett Shue would come to the plate with two outs and would hit a RBI single before Trent Abernathy was thrown out on the play to end the inning running the score up to 6-2.
Pearce Bucher would answer for New Market in the bottom half of the inning with a RBI double that scored Henry Delavergne to pull the game back to within three runs.
Broad way would strike again in the top of the 7th as Cadlee Jarvis would put a groundball in play and be put out by Ethan Laird at first as Trevor Thomas scored to make it 7-3 Broadway.
James Riddle would come in for Broadway in the 8th and 9th and would put out good work on the mound to close the game out with the one blemish being the run he gave up to Frankie Ritter to pull the game to its final score 7-4 in favor of the defending champions.
Broadway’s Wyatt Emswiler picked up the win for the Bruins in his two innings of relief work and Collin Pastel would take the loss for the Shockers.
The game was full of first game jitters as both teams combined for 8 Hit By Pitches and three run downs.
For the Bruins they will travel to Grottoes on Sunday June 6 for a 6:30 PM date with the Cardinals (0-1).
New Market will also travel to take on the Elkton Blue Sox (0-1) at 7:30 PM on Sunday June 6.
By Leyton Pullin
2020 was a less than stellar year for Manager Les Sandridge and his Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks club as they finished the year 4-16 at the bottom of the league standings.
Sandridge admitted ahead of the 2021 campaign he was,” going in blind,” but seemed rather optimistic when he talked about the return of the big bat of Cody Bartley.
Bartley returns to Stuarts Draft for his fifth year in a row and becomes one of the veterans on the D-Backs and returns off of a successful 2020 season. Bartley hit 10 homeruns a year ago ranking second overall in the league behind MVP Chase Delauter. Bartley also hit .438 ranking second on the team and in the top ten on the RCBL.
Tyler Wilcher also returns to Stuarts Draft for his sixth year under Sandridge. Wilcher, the former EMU Royal, comes off of a 2020 season where he hit .311 with 11 RBI and saw action all over the field.
A new face to the Diamondbacks is another former EMU Royal and Riverheads High School standout Zach Roberts. Roberts spent his spring 2021 as an assistant coach for Mary Baldwin University in the first of year of the baseball program at the university. While at EMU Roberts hit .319 during his career and played primarily as an infielder and will bring a consistent bat to the Diamondbacks lineup.
When it comes to pitching is where the biggest question mark might be for the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks. “Managing pitching is going to be difficult this year,” said Sandridge. He mentioned that losing some players may make that a tall order. When looking at the previous mentioned returners both Bartley and Wilcher have pitching experience in the league but not in 2020.
Stuarts Draft is set to open up their 2021 season with a road date against the Elkton Blue Sox on June 5 and will then host the Bridgewater Reds at the Diamond Club in the home opener at 7PM.
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