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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.
By Dean BarkerAfter going down 5-2 in the fifth, the #5 Broadway Bruins scored six unanswered runs to beat the #4 Montezuma Braves 8-5 and sweep the RCBL Quarterfinals 2-0 on Wednesday, July 28. The Bruins improved their record to 12-11, while the Braves concluded their season at 12-11. After losing the regular season series 2-1, Broadway took the complete 2021 series with Montezuma 3-2.
Jett Shue picked up the win with four shutout innings and nine strikeouts to move to 1-2. Jordan Yankey pitched five innings for Broadway, giving up five runs (four earned) with nine hits and striking out two to get the no-decision.
Taran Baker took the loss to end his season at 1-0, giving up three runs (two earned) in two and a third innings. Lance Tate went five innings and gave up five runs (three earned) with four hits and two strikeouts for a no-decision, completing his All-RCBL season with a 3-0 record.
With two outs in the first, Hunter Clever would double to left field. Yankey would strike out PJ Hanisak, but on the dropped third strike, Chris Taylor’s throw to Devon Neal would go into right field and allow Clever to score.
Justin Lohr would reach on an error from Gavin Rush in the bottom half, and Caleb Taylor would drive him home on a sacrifice fly to right to tie the game at one.
Rush would lead off the second with a single, and came home on a two-out single from JT Stevenson to reclaim the Montezuma lead at 2-1. With two outs in the third, Owen Marshall would rip a two run double to push it to 4-1.
Tate took a no-hitter into the fourth inning, when Taylor led off with a single to center. Neal would walk, and Bryce Turner would drive in Neal with an RBI single. The Bruins would strand two, as Jaydon Nixon grounded out to shortstop Isaiah Blanks to end the threat at 4-2.
Grant Thomas responded with a solo shot to right field to increase the lead to 5-2 in the top of the fifth. Taylor answered with a two run shot to left to cut the deficit to one. With two outs and the bases loaded, a grounder from Ben Hutcheson was bobbled by second baseman Thomas to make the score 5-5. Tate got Nixon to fly out to center to escape the jam.
In the bottom of the sixth, Taran Baker would take over for the Braves on the mound. Abernathy would reach with a single, and Trevor Thomas would rip an RBI double to left field to plate him and give the Bruins a 6-5 lead.
With two runners on and one out in the bottom of the seventh, Nixon ripped a double to plate Neal. Turner would be thrown out trying to take home, keeping the score 7-5 Bruins.
With two on and one out in the bottom of the eighth, Landon Stuhlmiller would strike out, and be thrown out on a dropped third strike. Clever tried to pick off Thomas at third, but the throw hit him, and would bounce away and allow Thomas to make the score 8-5.
Kyle Armstrong led off the ninth with a single, and would steal second, but Shue struck out everyone else to end the game.
Montezuma left eight runners on base, and had three errors which led to three fatal unearned runs. Broadway left ten runners on base, and had two errors which accounted for one unearned run.
Taylor went 2-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored. Thomas was 1-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. Nixon went 1-4 with an RBI. Turner went 1-2 with an RBI, and Hutcheson had one RBI. Abernathy was 2-4 with a run scored. The Bruins had seven hits on the evening.
Marshall went 2-2 with two RBIs. Stevenson was 2-4 with one RBI. Thomas went 2-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Hanisak had one RBI. Rush went 2-4 with two runs scored. The Braves had ten total hits.
Despite the early exit, Braves head coach Chris Rush said there were still positive takeaways from his club’s 2021 season.
“We’re building something here. I told all these guys this year, it’s one of the best groups of guys I’ve had,” Rush said. “We’ve had some good teams in the past, but these guys played for each other, they didn’t just play for themselves, and as a coach, that’s what you want.”
Clever, who won Rookie of the Year this season, said this season was a learning experience for him.
“I’ve been blessed with this opportunity this year, and (I) definitely will take away the aspect of… knowing how to finish games, knowing how to have a heart, come out and compete every day, and knowing how to fight for my teammates every night,” Clever said. “This team really pushed me to be… the best player I can be, and that’s what I’m going to take away.”
Broadway will face the Bridgewater Reds in the RCBL Semifinals. The date and time of game one is to be determined. To defend their title, Neal says the Bruins must understand how good their competition will be.
“We’ve just gotta come out and pitch good, field the ball, hit the ball,” Neal said “We’re expecting a good tournament the whole way around, so we’ve gotta go into every game with the mindset of ‘We’re not playing this easy.’ We’ve gotta take everyone seriously, so we’re ready to go.”
By Leyton Pullin
The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks picked up a 14-4 win over the Grottoes Cardinals on Wednesday July 28 in a win or go home game in order to force a decisive game 3.
Stuarts Draft got right to work in the top of the 1st inning as they took advantage of a shaky start of the outing from Tyler Pullin. Zach Roberts led the game off with a single right back up the middle off of the glove of Pullin on the very first pitch he saw. Draft the proceeded to load the bases on a hit by pitch and a walk to put Thompson and Hass aboard. Jack Pausic came to the plate next and wore a pitch from Pullin to allow Roberts to score and put eh D-Backs on the board 1-0.
Grottoes struck back quickly in the bottom half of the inning as Clayton Michael stayed hot with a single with one out. Dylan Nicely came to the plate next and delivered as he has all year with an RBI ground rule double to push Michael across to tie the game at 1-1.
Stuarts Draft added more runs in the top of the 2nd with a pair of sacrifice fly outs to Boogie Saunders in center field by Roberts and Hass to bring Grayson Bush and Calen Owens in to score and take the lead 3-1.
Grottoes bounced back in the bottom of the 3rd as Saunders wore a pitch from starting pitcher Doug Pollock to reach safely for the first time all night. Michael again delivered with an RBI triple in the deepest ball park in the RCBL to push Saunders across. Later in the inning Jacob Zoller joined the hit party with a RBI single of his own to score Saunders and tie the game at 3-3.
Both pitchers straightened up as both Pullin and Pollock tossed scoreless frames in the 4th inning. However, the same could not be said about the 5th as Stuarts Draft opened the game up with a 7 spot to take a 10-3 lead. Roberts and Hass added 2 more RBIs each in the inning.
Doug Pollock’s night would finally come to an end as a lightning delay paused the game for nearly 40 minutes and he was replaced by Luke Kehoe who finished the bottom of the 6th for the D-Backs.
Stuarts Draft added another run in the 7th as they loaded the bases on a walk, hit by pitch and a Thompson single before Jack Pausic walked with those bases loaded to score Lucas Adam and stretch the lead to 11-3.
The D-Backs added 3 more runs in the top of the 8th as they again loaded the bases before Adam hit a base clearing triple to knock in Tyler Wilcher, Bush and Owens to push the lead to 14-3 and put Grottoes back against the ball due to the run rule.
Grottoes started the bottom of the 8th with Clayton Michael reaching on a hit by pitch. Jacob Zoller attempted to keep the inning alive as he doubled to score Michael. The next two hitters Moyer and Lutz to close the game out due to the 10-run rule.
Stuarts Draft picks up the win 14-4. Doug Pollock gets the win after going 5.2 IP and allowed 3 earned runs off of 4 hits and 4 punchouts. Tyler Pullin took the loss for Grottoes after 4.0+ IP and allowing 5 earned runs. For Stuarts Draft Will Hass and Zach Roberts each picked up 3 RBI. Jack Pausic also added 2 RBI.
Manager Les Sandridge said the key to the win was the pitching. Doug Pollock did not surrender a walk in his start and Luke Kehoe only allowed one in his relief effort to keep the “freebies” off the bases.
Game 3 will take place at the Diamond Club in Stuarts Draft on Thursday July 29 at 7:30 PM in a win or go home scenario for both clubs. “We just need to be patient at the plate,” said Sandridge when talking about what would be the keys for the elimination game on Thursday.
By Dean Barker
The #5 Broadway Bruins soundly defeated the #4 Montezuma Braves 13-5 in game one of the RCBL Quarterfinals on Tuesday, June 27 at Ruritan Field. The defending champion Bruins are one win away from going back to the semifinals, while the Braves will have to bounce back with two in a row to advance.
In his RCBL Playoff debut, Jacob Bell got the complete game win to move to 3-0, giving up two earned runs and nine hits with fourteen strikeouts. Hunter Clever took the loss to fall to 0-1, giving up seven runs on six hits in three innings. Clever went 2-4 with three RBIs and a run scored. Donald Seekford relieved him, giving up six runs on seven hits in four innings.
Other than a leadoff ground rule double from Kyle Armstrong, Bell was perfect through the first three innings. This would allow the Bruins to take the lead in the second and never look back. Devon Neal drove in Jett Shue with a single to center field. Bryce Turner came home on a wild pitch, and Trent Abernathy drove in Justin Lohr and Ben Hutcheson with an RBI single to make it 4-0 Broadway.
In the fourth, a double from Caleb Taylor would plate one, followed by RBI singles from Shue and Neal. Turner would reach first on an error from shortstop Isaiah Blanks, which also allowed Shue to score and make the deficit 8-0. In the bottom half, Blanks would reach first on an error from third baseman Jaydon Nixon, and then scored on a two-run homer from Clever. Tyler Smith would single, and Gavin Rush would drive him in with a two out RBI double to cut the lead to 8-3.
Nixon would make up for his error with an RBI single in the sixth. Lohr would then reach on an error from Blanks, which allowed Turner to score. Abernathy hit a sacrifice fly to left field to bring Nixon home, and a single from Trevor Thomas would make the score 12-3.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Neal and Turner would walk. Hutcheson came through with an RBI single to push the lead to 13-3. Bell would strike out the side in the bottom half. Had it been the regular season, the mercy rule would have ended the game at this point.
Clever would drive in Armstrong with a single in the bottom of the eighth, and JT Stevenson brought in Owen Marshall with a two-out RBI single in the ninth, but Bell would strike out Armstrong to end the game.
The Bruins left twelve runners on base, and had two errors, leading to three unearned runs. The Braves stranded five and had four errors, resulting in two unearned runs.
Abernathy was 1-4 with three RBIs and one run scored. Neal went 3-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Shue went 2-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Taylor went 2-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Lohr was 1-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Broadway collected 13 hits.
Clever was 2-4 with three RBIs and a run scored. Rush went 2-4 with an RBI. Stevenson was 1-4 with an RBI. Armstrong was 2-5 with a run scored. Montezuma had nine hits.
Bell said he would not have been able to pitch as well if he did not have the bats working behind him.
“Probably one of the biggest keys to the game, they (Broadway) put up all the runs,” Bell said. “(It) gives me a lot of confidence to go out there. I don’t have to pitch around people, I can go right at them, and I can give up a couple of runs here and there, but it gives me a huge confidence boost. They did a great job tonight.”
The Bruins will host the Braves tonight, July 28, at Broadway High School for game two at 7:30 pm. Should the Braves win game two, they would host a decisive game three on Thursday, July 29 at Ruritan Field at 7:30 pm.
By Leyton Pullin
The Grottoes Cardinals picked up a win in game one of their first round series against the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks 5-4 off the back of starter Adam Dofflemeyer who tossed 8 innings and only allowed 2 runs for the Cardinals.
Grottoes got on the board first in the top of the 3rd inning as David Wood reached on an error by the short stop Grayson Bush that bounced over the head of Jack Pausic at first base. Dalton Nicely came to the plate next and also reached on an error to put two on and no outs. Clayton Michael added a single later in the inning to jam the bases full of Cardinals. Dylan Nicely came to the plate next and delivered as he did all regular season long with a RBI single to score Wood and put the Cardinals in front 1-0.
The Cardinals added another run in the 6th as Dylan Nicely singled to lead the inning off. Jacob Merica came to the plate later in the inning and singled driving Nicely in to score after some assistance from a wild pith earlier in the at bat. Grottoes stretched their lead to 2-0.
In the top of the 8th Stuarts Draft would go to the bullpen and go to their set up man Parker Heinemann. Michael opened the inning up with a double to the right field wall. Dylan Nicely came up next and reached as his ground ball was mishandled at third base. Jacob Zoller came up next and singled to right center which allowed Michael to score easily but as the D-Backs made the throw home catcher Chaz Harvey collided with the home plate umpire allowing for the ball to get away and roll to the back stop. Dylan Nicely then took advantage of the miscue and came home to score as well on the play to stretch the Grottoes lead to 4-0.
Stuarts Draft responded in the bottom half of the inning as Cody Bartley hit a 2 Run home run to cut the lead in half to 4-2.
Grottoes came to the plate in the 9th leading by a pair and face Chandis Goff as Stuarts Draft went to the bullpen. Goff retired the first two hitters he faced before walking Boogie Saunders. Michael came up next and delivered some extra insurance as he doubled yet again this time scoring Saunders and extending the Cardinals lead to 5-2.
Grottoes went to Michael in the bottom of the 9th trying to close the game out however it turned out to not be that simple. Tyler Wilcher worked a full count before ripping a double down the left field line to lead off the inning. Bush came up next and was retired on strikes to put one down. Calen Owens followed and laid down a bunt that was fielded by Nicely just in front of the mound but no play could be made allowing runners to reach the corners with only one out. Zach Roberts came up next and delivered with a RBI single to score Wilcher and put the tying run at the plate. Terrell Thompson came up next and drew a walk but as he watched the fourth ball it got away from Nicely allowing Owens to sneak home and score to put the tying run now only 90 feet away at third as Roberts also moved up on the play. Jack Pausic came up next and hit a ground ball to third base with the infield in for Grottoes. Dalton Nicely fielded it and made the heads up play to throw it to home to try and catch the lead runner Roberts. Roberts got caught in a run down and was tagged out by Nicely halfway down the baseline for the second out. Cody Bartley cam to the plate next looking to duplicate what he had done earlier in the night. Michael called for time on the mound and discussed strategy with Nicely as to how to attack Bartley. Nicely said he also gave the young pitcher a few words of encouragement, “ We weren’t going to change anything, he was going to stick with his stuff,” said Nicely. A few pitches later Bartley hit a well struck ball to left field however Merica slid over to make the catch and solidify the game one win for the Cardinals.
Grottoes picks up the win off of a superb outing from Adam Dofflemeyer who threw 8 innings and struck out 8 while only giving up 2 runs. “We had been building for that all year. He’s a reliver in college and hopefully will be a starter next year,” said Manager Tim Nicely. Dofflemeyer picks up the win and Clayton Michael picks up the save but provided some offense as well for the Cardinals as he went 3 for 5 at the plate with an RBI. Dylan Nicely also added a 2 for 5 night with an RBI and 2 runs scored for the Cardinals.
Game 2 will take place on Wednesday July 28 at Shifflett Field in Grottoes at 7:30 PM as the Cardinals look to complete the series sweep with a win and advance to the second round.
By Dean Barker
After going down 7-2 in the top of the sixth, the #5 Broadway Bruins came storming back to beat the #7 Bridgewater Reds 12-7 on Sunday, July 25 in the regular season finale. The win gave the Bruins a 2-1 victory in the regular season series with the Reds. The win gave the Bruins a 10-11 regular season record, while the Reds had to settle for 6-15.
Bryce Turner picked up the win to improve to 1-1 for the season, giving up seven earned runs in seven innings with eight strikeouts and going 1-1 with three RBIs and a run scored at the plate. Derek Shifflet took the loss, giving up eight runs in seven innings on nine hits, while going 0-3 with an RBI and two runs scored at the plate. Shifflet recorded two strikeouts to complete the regular season with 65, the most in the RCBL this year.
The Reds punched first, with Shifflet scoring on a fielder’s choice ground ball from Antonio-Florentino Sosa. The Reds stranded two, and Justin Lohr’s triple in the bottom half was followed by an RBI single from Trent Abernathy to make the score 1-1.
Devon Neal would drive in Trevor Thomas on a sacrifice groundout in the third inning to take a 2-1 Broadway lead.
Shifflet would ground to Turner, who threw it into center field to allow Jared Meadows to score in the fourth. Hunter Miller ripped a single to score two. After a ground rule double from Chris Huffman, Sosa replicated to drive in two more runs and make it 6-2. Brett Tharp would launch one over the left field fence to make the score 7-2 in the top of the sixth, seemingly giving the Reds a sufficient cushion.
Lohr would drive in Kevin Rush with a single in the bottom half. Then, Trevor Thomas and Jett Shue would each get a two-run single to tie the game. Devon Neal would rip a single to plate Ben Reid and give the Bruins an 8-7 lead.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Turner would help his cause with a three run triple, and Ben Hutcheson drove him in with a single to make the final score 12-7 Broadway.
The Bruins left ten runners on base, two errors, and gave up five unearned runs. The Reds stranded eight with no errors and gave up no unearned runs.
Sosa went 2-5 with three RBIs. Miller went 1-3 with one RBI, one run scored, and two walks. Tharp went 1-4 with an RBI and a run scored. The Reds totaled just seven hits.
Lohr went 3-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Thomas was 2-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored. Shue was 1-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Abernathy was 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored. The Bruins had twelve hits.
When asked about the key to beating Montezuma in the quarterfinals, Turner was quite clear this offensive production would need to continue.
“Hit, it’s all about our hitting, you know,” Turner said. “We’ve got guys on the mound, it’s just been run support behind those guys lately. I think, after tonight, that’ll help us go into the playoffs and just carry some momentum. So, just hit the ball.”
The Bruins will travel to Montezuma to take on the #4 Braves Tuesday, July 27 at 7:30 pm in Game 1 of the RCBL Quarterfinals. The Reds will take on the #2 Clover Hill Bucks on Tuesday, July 27 at 7:30 pm for the quarterfinal opener at Buck Bowman Park.
By Leyton Pullin
On Sunday July 25 the Clover Hill Bucks wrapped up their bid for the No. 2 seed in the playoffs with a win over the Elkton Blue Sox 13-10.
Clover Hill hopped on top of Elkton right at the jump. The first 5 hitters for the Bucks all reached and scored including a John Siciliano 2 Run homerun. Ross French and Hayden Baldwin added RBIs on sacrifice fly outs to put the Bucks on top 5-0 before Elkton even got to the plate.
Elkton struck back in the bottom half of the 1st as Tillman Butler delivered with an RBI single to score Lee Carneal who walked earlier in the inning. Starting pitcher Mac Rexrode followed with a walk while the bases were loaded, pushing Tristan Gordon across to score and bring Elkton back to within 3 runs at 5-2 after the 1st inning.
Clover Hill tried to blow the game open as they loaded the bases with only one out in the top of the 2nd inning. Cole Jenkins delivered with a station to station single pushing Eberly across to score and still leaving the bases loaded. Ross French came up next and drew a walk to push another run across in the form of Drew Easter. After Easter crossed the plate Rexrode took the ball back to the mound but as he turned his back Bryce Suters took off for home plate and scored easily allowing the Bucks to stretch their lead to 8-2.
The Bucks added another run in the 3rd inning as they rallied with two outs in the inning. Eberly singled before he was driven in the very next at bat as Siciliano added another RBI with a double that scored Eberly to stretch the Bucks lead out to 9-2.
Elkton struck back right away in the bottom half of the 3rd inning as Gordon delivered with a 2 Run home run to score Jac Bourdon and himself to close the Bucks lead to 9-4.
Gordon delivered again in the 4th inning as Jeremy Kwolek and Lee Carneal walked ahead of him before he delivered with a ground rule double to score Kwolek. Carneal came in to score during the next at bat as a pitch got away from Montgomery behind the plate allowing him to score and cut more into the Bucks lead at 9-6.
The Bucks would not get any more runs on the board until the 6th inning as Tyler Conley reached on a one out double. Jenkins came to the plate later in the inning and popped a ball up to left field that was caught by an amazing effort by Jacob Crude in left field. Conley tagged and came into score despite some argument on whether he tagged up from the Elkton dugout. The Bucks extended their lead 10-6.
Elkton cut into the Bucks lead once more in the 7th as Gordon was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Elkton then loaded the bases before Elliot Erkel was hit by a pitch allowing Gordon to score and cut the Bucks lead to 10-7.
Clover Hill added 3 runs in the top of the 8th inning including a Conley solo home run to lead off the inning that snuck its way across the right field fence. The Bucks extended their lead to 13-7 with the game closing in on the three hour mark.
The Blue Sox came to the plate in the bottom of the 8th knowing they were down to their last three outs. Gordon delivered again with his 4th and 5th RBIs of the night on another 2 Run home run to cut the Bucks lead back to 13-10. That would be the final score as Butler sat down looking to end the game.
The Blue Sox wrap up the regular season with a record of 4-17. Mac Rexrode gets the loss for the Blue Sox despite Tristan Gordons’s stellar night at the plate as he went 4 for 4 with 2 home runs and 5 RBIs. The Blue Sox will start the postseason as the No. 8 seed for the RCBL Playoffs. They will play the No.1 seed the New Market Shockers (15-6) in a best of three series starting on Tuesday night July 27 in New Market at Rebel Field. Game two will be at Stonewall Memorial Park in Elkton on Wednesday July 28.
For the Bucks they lock up the No. 2 seed with the win and a record of 14-7 on the year. Steven Woerner gets the win for the Bucks as they went through 8 pitchers in as many innings. Clover Hill will open the post season at the Clover Dome on Tuesday July 27 as they will host the Bridgewater Reds (6-15) in a best of three series.
By Leyton Pullin
Keegan Oliver will be making the move from the RCBL to the Frederick Keys of the MLB Draft League.
Oliver got the call from the Keys after working with RCBL Legend Mike Burtner who helped put together a video of him to showcase his talents as he was originally looking to be a graduate transfer as he just finished up his education at Bridgewater College but still has 3 years of eligibility left due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and a redshirt year due to injury.
Instead of a collegiate program the Keys came calling. Oliver played in what would be his final game in a Montezuma Braves uniform on Saturday July 24 playing Right Field and then came in and pitched in the 7th inning striking out two. Oliver had nothing but praises for the Braves organization, specifically coach Chris Rush.
“Coach Rush believed in me a lot and helped me get back to where I was, 110% back,” said Oliver.
Oliver is also coming back from Tommy John Surgery that he had done on his UCL in his right elbow prior to the 2020 college baseball season. Since his surgery and recovery the right handed has come back with more velocity and zip on his fastball topping out around 91 MPH according to Valley Baseball Scout making him one of the most exciting pitchers to watch in the league.
“[The RCBL] has helped me get back to where I never thought I could be size and velo wise,” said Oliver.
Oliver’s RCBL stint may be over for now as he will report to the Frederick Keys on Monday July 26 to play the final 5 games of the regular season beginning on Tuesday July 27 as the Keys host the West Virginia Black Bears and the Trenton Thunder.
By Leyton Pullin
On Saturday July 24 the Clover Hill Bucks defeated the Montezuma Braves 13-0 in 7 innings. The Bucks hit 4 homeruns on the way to victory.
Clover Hill hopped on top of the scoreboard right away in the top of the first as Josh Eberly opened the bottom of the 1st with a single. Drew Easter singled later in the inning to push Eberly around to third and put runners at the corners with one out. Bryce Suters came up later in the inning and hit a hard groundball to short stop that died on its way to Isiah Blanks allowing Suters to reach and Eberly to score putting the Bucks up 1-0.
The Bucks went back to work in the 2nd inning putting two more runs across on a Jacob Grabeel 2 RBI single to score Ross French and Tanner Montgomery to extend the Bucks lead to 3-0.
The Bucks came up to the plate in the third and loaded the bases on a Cole Jenkins single and back-to-back walks by French and Montgomery. Jenkins was able to score on a wild pitch one of the four thrown by Montezuma starter Grant Thomas to stretch the lead to 4-0.
Again, the Bucks would load the bases with no outs in the 4th inning this time on three singles by John Siciliano, Tyler Conley, and Cody Swisher. Suters came up next and worked a hard-earned walk with a full count to drive in Siciliano to stretch the Bucks lead to 5-0. The Bucks would then leave the bases stranded as Kyle Armstrong came into the game for the Braves and retired the next three hitters in order.
The 5th inning is where the Bucks really did their damage. Clover Hill pushed across 7 runs in the inning off of 6 total hits, 4 of those were home runs. Eberly started the scoring hitting a 2 Run Home Run to left center to score he and Grabeel. Bryce Suters added a 3 Run Home Run of his own to score he, Swisher and Siciliano. Jenkins and French then added back-to-back solo shots to end the homer parade but not before the game had been blown open putting the Bucks out in front 12-0.
Clover Hill again added another run in the 6th as Ross French walked with the bases loaded to score Alex Knicely and stretch the lead out to 13-0.
The Braves went to the plate in the top of the 7th knowing they needed 4 runs to keep the game going but had to face Clover Hill “Hammer” Tucker Hrasky. The lefty tallied three punchouts in the bottom of the 7th only allowing one base runner in the form of his former Bridgewater College Keegan Oliver who walked but was stranded when the game came to a close due to the 10-run rule 13-0.
For Montezuma they drop to 12-9 to end the regular season. The Braves are locked into the No. 4 seed for the post season and will take on the No. 5 Seeded Broadway Bruins (9-11) in the opening round of the RCBL Playoffs starting Tuesday July 27 with game one of the series being in Montezuma at a time to be announced. The series will be best of three games.
The Bucks pick up the win and control their own destiny when it comes to playoff seeding. Jacob Grabeel (2-0) picks up the win on the mound after 1.0 IP for the Bucks The Bucks (13-7) keep their hopes of landing the No. 2 seed in the playoffs alive as they can clinch it with a win over Elkton (4-16) on Sunday July 25 at 7:30 PM in Elkton. With Stuarts Draft’s win tonight, the Bucks could fall to the No. 3 spot with a loss.
By Dean Barker
In the final game of the 2021 RCBL Regular Season, the second-place Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks overcame two three-run deficits to beat the regular season champion New Market Shockers 14-6 on Saturday, July 24 at Rebel Field.
The Diamondbacks, who were 5-5 halfway through the season, won their last six games (and nine of their last eleven) to finish the regular season 14-7. With a Clover Hill loss at Elkton tonight, the Diamondbacks will be the #2 seed in the playoffs and face the #7 Bridgewater Reds. If the Bucks win, Stuarts would be #3 and would face the #6 Grottoes Cardinals. The Shockers finish at 15-6, and will be the #1 seed in the playoffs as they host the #8 Elkton Blue Sox.
Despite the significant change in record, Diamondbacks head coach Leslie Sandridge said there wasn’t much difference between how his team played in the first and second half.
“You just keep playing hard, and chips fall where they may,” Sandridge said. “Don’t leave anything on the field, and that’s what these guys do, they just play hard all the time.”
Trever Mitchell got the win to complete the regular season 3-0, giving up one run in three innings and striking out four. He relieved Liam Kehoe, who gave up four runs in two innings. Matt House took the loss to fall to 1-3, giving up eight runs (six earned) in four innings.
Henry Delavergne led off the bottom of the first with a solo homer to right field to give the Shockers a 1-0 lead. Frankie Ritter would follow up with a single past the third baseman Jeff Randozzo, and Pearce Bucher was walked. They would pull off a double steal, and Ritter would manage to come home as the ball got away to push the lead to 2-0. With Bucher on third and Ty Bennett reaching on a walk, House would ground into a 6-4 fielder’s choice, but would reach first to allow Bucher to score the Shockers’ third run.
With the bases loaded and one out in the top of the third, Terrell Thompson would rip a line drive to right field to bring home two runs and cut the Shocker lead to 3-2. That would be all, as House would retire the next two batters to escape the jam. Bucher would answer in the bottom half with a leadoff no-doubter to left field, and Bennett would replicate two batters later to push the deficit back to three at 5-2.
The Diamondbacks would strike back, as a two out, two run double from Calen Owens dropped just in front of Ritter in center. Zach Roberts was hit, and Thompson would bunt to reach first and load the bases. Jack Pausic would launch a three run triple off the left field wall to give Stuarts Draft their first lead of the night, and Cody Bartley would drive him in with a single to make it 8-5 Diamondbacks. Delavergne and Ritter would reach second and third in the bottom half, but would not score.
With the bases loaded in the seventh, Tyler Wilcher was hit to bring home one run. Grayson Bush followed up with a two run single to right field, and while Bush was stealing second, Wilcher came home to score. Pausic would drive in another run with an RBI single to shortstop, but Thompson was caught at third, ending the inning with the D-Backs up 13-5. Wilcher would rip an RBI single to right field in the eighth to make the score 14-5. Delavergne drove in one with a sacrifice grounder in the eighth, but that would be it for New Market, as Stuarts Draft would win 14-6.
The Diamondbacks left six runners on, and had an error that didn’t lead to any runs. The Shockers stranded ten, and made four errors which led to three runs.
Pausic was 1-4 with three RBIs and a run scored. Owens went 2-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Wilcher was 1-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored. Bush was 1-5 with two RBIs and a run scored. Bartley went 2-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Thompson went 1-3 with an RBI and a run scored. The Diamondbacks totaled twelve hits.
Delavergne went 2-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Bennett was 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Bucher went 1-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. House went 1-4 with an RBI. Ritter was 2-5 with a run scored. The Shockers put eleven hits together.
While the Diamondbacks have been playing their best baseball as of late, Sandridge is still very cautious as they get ready for the playoffs.
“It’s gonna be tough, all teams are gonna be tough in the playoffs, especially in a three game series,” Sandridge said. “Everybody’s got pitching for three games, so every game’s gonna be tough in the playoffs.”
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