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By Dean Barker
With a 5-1 home win over the Grottoes Cardinals on Friday, July 23, the New Market Shockers clinched the 2021 RCBL Regular Season Championship, and will be the #1 seed for the playoffs. The pennant is their first regular season title, and just the second title in franchise history, as New Market won the 1972 RCBL Championship as Twin City.
“I’m happy to do this for New Market, first time in 49 years,” Shockers head coach Nolan Potts said. “Just proud of them, you know. (It’s) something we were working towards since I came here. I’ve been here eight years, I’ve been coaching three years, we’ve been working towards this. To be able to do it this year is a satisfying feeling.” Potts is a former Shockers player, in addition to being the head coach.
With the win, the Shockers improved to 15-5. Their regular season finale is slated for tonight at home versus the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks at 7:30 pm. New Market will take on the #8 Elkton Blue Sox in the first round of the playoffs. The loss concluded the Grottoes regular season at 9-12. Grottoes will be the #6 seed in the playoffs; their opponent has yet to be determined.
Ethan Laird pitched a complete game for the Shockers to improve to 1-1, striking out eight with one earned run and just one hit. Laird was perfect through two and one third innings, and had a no-hitter into the fifth. Tucker Garrison was tabbed with the loss, giving up four earned runs on nine hits in eight innings with nine strikeouts. Andrew Baugher pitched one perfect inning of relief to get the no-decision.
Laird credited his exceptional night on the mound to recent bullpen work.
“I had a little twitch in the bullpen to where I was able to find a good mechanic that I was able to repeat, and I was able to throw all three of my pitches for a strike,” Laird said. “It was unhittable, basically, I was just filling it in there.”
The Shockers took the lead for good in the first inning, as Henry Delavergne’s leadoff single was followed up by a left field double by Frankie Ritter. Pearce Bucher would hit a sacrifice fly to plate Delavergne, and Ritter would come home on a single from Luke Estep to give New Market a 2-0 lead.
David Wood was able to beat out a grounder to shortstop Ritter to break up the no-hitter with two outs in the fifth. The Cardinals almost escaped the bottom half, but shortstop Clayton Michael’s fadeaway throw couldn’t beat Ritter on an infield single. Ritter would steal second, and the throw from catcher Dylan Nicely would go into the outfield and allow him to score and push the lead to 3-0.
Boogie Saunders would lead off the top of the sixth with a walk, and would steal second. However, Laird would pick him off, and the Cardinals would go silently, making way for an RBI single from Luke Keister to make it 4-0 New Market.
Ritter would make his rounds again in the seventh, as he would single to left field and steal second. He would then steal third and score on a wild throw from Nicely, giving the Shockers their fifth and final run.
Saunders led off the ninth with a walk, and stole second base with one out. With two down, he would steal third and come home on a wild throw from catcher Ty Bennet to give the Cardinals their first run. That would be all, as Laird would strike out Dylan Nicely for the final out.
The Cardinals had four errors which led to one unearned run, and left three runners on base. The Shockers had two errors which did not account for the run, and left five runners on base.
Saunders went 0-2 with two walks and a run scored, while reaching on a fielder’s choice. Keegan Wolford went 0-3 with one walk. Wood was 1-3 with the one and only Cardinal hit.
Keister went 2-4 with one RBI. Ritter was 3-4 with three runs scored. Estep was 1-4 with one RBI. Matt House and Delavergne both went 1-4 with a run scored. Bennet went 1-4. Bucher went 0-2 with a walk and an RBI. The Shockers had nine hits on the night.
Potts thinks the Shockers will need to stick to fundamentals to win the RCBL Championship.
“(If) we do all three well, we get good pitching (we throw strikes), we get hits, and the defense plays well behind them, that’s gonna be the key to our success moving forward,” Potts said. “We’re not taking anybody lightly, because it’s the playoffs, and we learned in the first game a couple of years ago (that) anything can happen in the playoffs. So we’ve just gotta come ready to go, one more game tomorrow, but then get ready for next week.”
By Leyton Pullin
The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks defeated the Clover Hill Bucks on Thursday July 22 5-2 off of a terrific performance from their pitching staff.
The Bucks got to work early in the top of the 1st as Josh Eberly led the game off with a double. Kevin Navedo followed him with a one out walk before Drew Easter came to the plate. Easter then laid down a beautiful bunt that allowed everyone to reach safely including allowing Eberly to score to put the Bucks up 1-0.
Kevin Chandler got the start for the Bucks as they called on the manager who retired the first seven hitters he faced before Grayson Bush singled in the bottom of the 3rd. Bush took off for second and stole it successfully before Calen Owens flew out for the second out. Zach Roberts came to the plate next and came in clutch as he has all year for the D-Backs as he hit a ground rule double that allowed for Bush to score and tie the game 1-1.
Trebor Vernon, the starter for Stuarts Draft, had settled down after the first not allowing a run until he got to the 6th inning. Drew Easter singled for the Bucks with one down in the inning. The Bucks then proceeded to load the bases as Cody Swisher was hit by a pitch and John Siciliano walked. Bryce Suters was up next and was retired on strikes. Just when Vernon looked to be in a better situation Cole Jenkins came to the plate and singled. All runners advanced station to station allowing for Easter to score and put the Bucks back on top 2-1.
The D-Backs went back to work in the bottom of the 6th and put their first runner aboard with an assist from Jenkins at third base who was not able to make a play on a ground ball allowing Chaz Harvey to reach. Harvey’s curtesy runner came in and was aggressive on the base paths and stole second base. Bob funk then delivered that same at bat with a RBI double to left field to score Harvey and tie the game up at 2-2.
The Bucks then had a chance in the 7th as Kevin Kirk doubled but was left stranded after a pitching change as the D-Backs went to Parker Heineman in relief of Vernon.
Stuarts Draft then went to work in the bottom half of the inning as the D-Backs loaded the bases up with no outs on three straight singles including two bunts that were not executed well by the Bucks as no one was covering first base on both. Cody Bartley came to the plate next and made great contact driving a ball to deep left field for a base hit down the line. Bush and Owens came into score putting the D-Backs out in front for the first time all night. They added one more as Funk added another RBI this time in the form of a single bringing Roberts to score.
Draft had another opportunity in the 8th as they loaded the bases with no outs but left all the runners out there in the same place after a fly out to second and Terrell Thompson grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Chandis Goff came into the game to try and close it out for the D-Backs and did although he did give up a rare walk to Eberly although he was stranded when the final out was recorded.
For Clover Hill they drop to 12-7 with two games left on the schedule. Blake Sipe (0-1) takes the loss for the Bucks in his first outing of the season. Sipe gave up 4 runs, 3 earned, in 4.0 IP. Drew Easter was the only Clover Hill player to record multiple hits on the game as he went 2 for 4 with two singles and a lone RBI. The Bucks will host Montezuma (11-8) next time out on Saturday July 24 in the RCBL Game of the Week on WSVA at 7:30PM.
For the D-Backs they pick up a hard-earned win behind three great performances on the mound by Trevor Vernon, Parker Heinemann, and Chandis Goff. “The pitching was really good tonight,” said manager Les Sandridge. “We didn’t know what we were going to get out of Vernon. He through hard and well at Broadway so we weren’t sure what we were going to get tonight,” Sandridge continued. Vernon went 6.1 innings only giving up 2 runs off of 5 hits and struck out 4 in one of his best outings of the year.
The Draft bats also came in clutch as they have most of the year as Bob Funk and Cody Bartley both had 2 RBIs for the D-Backs. Zach Roberts also added a RBI ground rule double.
The D-Backs (13-7) they are now in a position where they could possibly force a play off game for the RCBL pennant with New Market if the Shockers were to lose on Friday to the Cardinals and then lose on Saturday to the D-Backs. That will be the next matchup for Stuarts Draft on Saturday July 24 as they will travel to Rebel Field to take on the Shockers at 7:30 PM.
By Dean Barker
After squandering a six run lead in the bottom of the sixth, the second place Clover Hill Bucks scored five unanswered runs to beat the third place Montezuma Braves 15-11 on Wednesday, July 21. The win was the fifth straight win for Clover Hill, who improved to 12-6 and is just 1.5 games out of first. The loss dropped Montezuma to 11-8 and into fourth place.
Jackson Sherman got the win to move to 2-0, giving up one unearned run and striking out three in two innings. Jacob Dunford took the loss to fall 0-2, giving up three runs in two thirds of an inning.
The Braves opened the game with an RBI grounder from Hunter Clever, and RBI single from PJ Hanisak, and an RBI single from Grant Thomas. The Braves would strand two.
Ross French would drive in Cole Jenkins on a sacrifice fly in the top of the second, and Josh Eberly and Kevin Kirk would double steal in the third to make the score 3-2 Braves.
Bryce Suters would score on a wild throw from the catcher Wyatt Campbell to tie it up in the fourth. French would bring in one more with a sacrifice fly, and Eberly plated one with and RBI double to make it 5-3 Bucks.
With the bases loaded in the top of the fifth, Cole Jenkins would drive in one with a sacrifice groundout. Alex Knicely would ground into a fielder's choice that brought home one run. With the bases loaded and two outs, Eberly and Navedo walked to bring in two runs to make the lead 9-3. In the bottom half, Keegan Oliver would score on a throwing error from Jenkins on a Clever grounder to cut the lead to 9-4.
Knicely drove in Suters with an RBI single in the top of the sixth to push the lead back to six at 10-4. In the bottom half, with the bases loaded, Thomas would drive in Owen Marshall and Gavin Rush with a double to right field. Oliver would drive in Thomas with an RBI single. Isiah Blanks followed up with an RBI single to drive in Wyatt Campbell and Oliver. Then, Kyle Armstrong and Blanks would both score on wild pitches to complete the wild comeback and put the Braves up 11-10.
The lead, however, was short lived, as Blake Sipe would drive in Kirk with an RBI single to tie the game at 11 in the top of the seventh. Thomas would reach third in the bottom half, but was unable to score.
Sipe and John Siciliano would each hit two run singles in the top of the eighth to give the Bucks a 15-11 lead, and the Braves went down 1-2-3 in the bottom half. The game was called at the point, due to time constraints.
Even after blowing a huge lead, Bucks head coach Kevin Chandler said he still had confidence his team would get the job done.
"At the end of the inning, we're only down one...it's just like 1-0," Chandler said. "In our minds, it's 'alright, go get another run.' Which we did, and the came back and scored four in the eighth."
The Bucks stranded twelve base runners, and had three errors, leading to three unearned runs. Montezuma left five on had two errors which did not lead to any unearned runs.
Sipe went 3-6 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Knicely went 1-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored. French with 0-1 with two RBIs on two sacrifice flies. Jenkins was 2-4 with one RBI and three runs scored. Eberly went 2-4 with and RBI and two runs scored. The Bucks had a total of 14 hits on the evening.
Thomas went 4-4 with two RBIs and one run scored. Blanks went 2-5 with two RBIs and a run scored. Oliver went 2-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Armstrong went 2-4 with a run scored. The Braves had fourteen total hits. Besides Oliver and Armstrong, every single Braves batter scored one run.
Chandler said he was proud of his team's performance.
"It was big, but, you know, these guys are resilient, and they're gonna fight 'til the end," Chandler said. "So I have all the confidence in them, and never a doubt."
The Bucks have clinched at least the #4 seed in the upcoming RCBL Playoffs, and could still earn the top spot with three winds and two New Market losses. Tonight at 7:30 pm, they will travel to the Diamond Club to take on the third place Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks. The Braves will host the Bridgewater Reds tomorrow, July 23, at 7:30 pm.
The Clover Hill Bucks added three runs in the last two innings to walk off the first-place New Market Shockers 6-5 on Tuesday, July 20. The win was the fourth in a row for the Bucks, and snapped a nine game win streak for the Shockers. Had New Market won, they would’ve clinched the #1 seed in the upcoming RCBL Playoffs.
With the win, the Bucks improved to 11-6, while the Shockers fall to 14-5. The Bucks are now just two games behind the Shockers for first place, with the Bucks having four games left, as opposed to two remaining for New Market.
Tucker Hrasky picked up the win to move to 2-0, striking out three in the final two innings. He relieved Kellen Hoover, who struck out seven and gave up three runs in six innings. Elijah Grogg gave up two runs in the seventh inning.
Matt House took the loss to fall to 1-2, giving up two runs in the last inning. He relieved Calvin Pastel, who gave up three runs and struck out eight in six innings. Cade Templeton gave up one run with four strikeouts in two innings.
The Shockers got started quickly, with a two run homer from Nick Goode in the top of the first, and Brayden Hovatter scoring on an error in the second to make the score 3-0.
Pastel kept the Bucks silent offensively, with a perfect game through two and a third innings, and a shutout through four. A Cole Jenkins RBI double in the bottom of the fifth made it 3-1. A grounder from Kevin Navedo and a single from Cody Swisher would each plate a run in the sixth to tie the game at three.
A single from Ty Bennet would drive in two in the seventh to make it 5-3. The Bucks would respond with a bases loaded RBI single from John Siciliano in the eighth to bring in one. A Cole Jenkins hit-by-pitch, which would have tied the game, was overturned, and the Bucks left the bases loaded.
Frankie Ritter led off the ninth with a single, but Goode grounded into a double play, and Luke Estep struck out to send the game into the bottom of the ninth.
Josh Eberly led off the ninth with a double off the top of the left field wall. Kirk followed up with a disputed infield single, and while first baseman Goode was disputing the call, Eberly came home to tie the game. Navedo and Drew Easter would strike out, and the Bucks would intentionally walk Ross French to get to Siciliano. That was their fatal flaw, as Siciliano would rip a single to right field to drive in Kirk and give the Bucks the win.
The Bucks left ten runners on base and had three errors, which led to two unearned runs. The Shockers left eight runners on base with one error, leading to an unearned run.
Siciliano went 2-4 with two RBIs. Jenkins went 2-4 with an RBI. Navedo went 1-5 with one RBI and two runs scored. Kirk was 1-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Eberly went 1-3 with two runs scored. Bryce Suters went 1-3 with a run scored. Easter was 1-5. The Bucks had a total of nine hits.
Goode was 1-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Bennet went 1-3 with two RBIs. Ritter went 1-4 with two runs scored. Brayden Hovatter was 1-3 with a run scored. Luke Keister was 1-4, and Estep was 1-5. Henry Delavergne scored a run. The Shockers were held to six hits.
After winning four games in a row, Siciliano is hopeful that the Bucks will able to snag the #1 playoff spot from the Shockers.
“You know, just playing clean baseball, playing full nine, guys pitch, guys field and hit, I like our chances,” Siciliano said.
The Bucks will travel to Montezuma to take on the third-place Braves at 7:30 pm tonight. The Shockers will host the Grottoes Cardinals on Friday, July 23 at 7:30 pm.
By Leyton Pullin
On Tuesday July 20 the Montezuma Braves defeated the Grottoes Cardinals 9-7 in a back and forth affair.
Grottoes got the scoring started right away. The second hitter if the game in fact as Clayton Michael hit a line drive to right center that snuck its way out of the ballpark for a solo home run to put the Cardinals out in front 1-0.
The Braves set the tone for the game however in the bottom half of the 1st as the Grottoes lead wouldn’t last for long. Isiah Blanks lead the game off with a 4 pitch walk and was followed by Hunter Clever later in the inning as he walked as well. PJ Hanisak was the next hitter and struck out swinging as he chased a pitch above his head for the second out. Jacob Critzer was next up and delivered as he hit a base clearing sing to drive in Blanks and Clever to put the Braves on top 2-1 after 1.
The Braves stretched their lead again in the 2nd inning as Noah Burtner put two on for the Braves as the Cardinals starter hit Owen Marshall and then walked Grant Thomas to start the inning. Wyatt Campbell followed with a beautiful sacrifice bunt to advance both runners into scoring position. Blanks came to the plate next and hit a ground ball to Jacob Zoller at second base that was fielded cleanly but allowed Marshall to score from third to put the Braves on top 3-1.
The Braves had another chance in the 3rd inning but Jacob Critzer was thrown out at the plate as he tried to stretch the lead by a beautiful relay from the Cardinals from Keegan Woolford to Zoller to Dylan Nicely at the plate for the out.
Montezuma did capitalize in the 4th inning as Thomas hit a single with one down and was driven in later by a Kyle Armstrong single to stretch the lead out to 4-1 for the Braves.
Grottoes went to work in the top of the 5th and tried to cut into the Braves lead. Keegan Woolford drew a one out walk and was pushed around by a Dylan Nicely single to get him to third base. Zoller followed and grounded a ball to second base that was flipped to Blanks at short to try and turn two but the throw to Hanisak at first was off target allowing Woolford to score and make it a 4-2 game.
Right on cue Montezuma stretched the lead back out to 3 runs as Burtner loaded the bases up once again with two hits batsmen and a single by Gavin Rush. Thomas delivered with the bases loaded as he lifted a ball to center field just deep enough for his runners to tag and bring Critzer in to score.
Grottoes bounced right back in the top of the 6th cutting into the lead once more. The inning did not start off promising as the first two hitters were retired before Dalton Nicely drew a walk and Boogie Saunders delivered with a RBI double showing off his wheels to cut the lead back down to 2 runs at 5-3.
The only three up three down inning came in the bottom of the 6th as the Braves were retired in order by Jacob Dansey. Grottoe then tried to capitalize off the momentum as Woolford came to the plate. Braves starter Hunter Clever got ahead in the count and had two strikes on the home run leader before he hung a breaking ball that was demolished by Woolford into the night sky for his league leading 9th home run. The Cardinals had cut the lead to just a run 5-4.
The Grottoes pitching staff yet again could not hold on to the cut they had put in the lead as the bases were loaded again by a hit batsman, walk and then a single by Rush. Owen Marshall came up next with the bases laoded and no one down. Marshall hit a grounder to Nicely at third who threw it to Dylan Nicely at the plate for the force play then he threw it to Scafidi at first base for the rare but clutch 5-2-3 double play. The Cardinals were not out of the woods yet as Dansey would walk the remaining bases loaded before walking Campbell to push a run across for the Braves and stretch the lead back out now to 6-4.
Montezuma went to Donald Seekford to relieve Clever n the top of the 8th. The only 3 hitters he faced all reached. Two by a walk and then another by a wild pitch on a third strike. Keegan Oliver then came in to try and keep the Braves in front with the bases jammed and no outs. Oliver struck out the next two hitters and looked to be in a favorable spot before Woolford came to the plate. Woolford got behind in the count again at 2-2 and barely made contact with a blooped that found a hole behind second base to allow Tristan Shoemaker and Witt Scafidi to score tying the game at 6-6. Dalton Nicely was at third base as Zoller came to the plate. Zoller watched a ball that got away from the catcher, hit off the back stop, and shot out into the field allowing Nicely to take off and score without having to slide and giving the Cardinals their first lead since the 1st inning.
Right on cue though the Braves struck back with a little help from the Grottoes pitching staff. Armstrong drew a walk to start the inning off of Dansey in the 8th. Clever then doubled to the wall allowing Armstrong to reach third base. Grottoes then made the call for Michael to go to the hill. Michael struck out the first hitter he faced but still had two runners in scoring position. Critzer came up next and popped a ball up to the left side of the infield. Dalton Nicely came over to make the grab but dropped the ball allowing for Armstrong to score and tie the game. Rush came up next and grounded out to Scafidi at first but Clever still snuck home to score and give the Braves the lead back. Marshall added one more run in the inning as he singled allowing Critzer to score and stretch the lead to 9-7.
Keegan Oliver then went to work in the top of the 9th striking out the side to close the game.
Grottoes drops to 9-10 with the loss. Jacob Dansey (0-1) takes the loss for the Cardinals in his first outing on the season. Keegan Woolford tallied a 2 for 3 night with a home run, 3 RBI and 2 walks. The Cardinals will Travel to Bridgewater (5-12) on Wednesday July 20 at 7:30 looking to avoid being swept by the Reds in the regular season series.
For Montezuma they improve to 11-7 on the season and secure winning record on the year. Keegan Oliver (3-0) secures the win for the Braves after 2.0 IP, 5Ks and 2 hits. Gavin Rush had a great night at the plate going 3 for 5 with 3 singles and a RBI. Montezuma will turn right around and play a key game in terms of playoff seeding as the will host Clover Hill (11-6) on July 21 at 7:30PM.
By Dean Barker
The New Market Shockers used a complete game performance from Joel Smith to take down the defending RCBL champion Broadway Bruins 3-1 at Broadway High School on Sunday, July 18. The win was the ninth in a row for New Market, who clinched the season series 2-1 with the victory yesterday.
With the win, the Shockers improved to 14-4 and are three games in front in first place. The Bruins fell to 8-9 and sixth place. The Bruins, after a promising 5-1 start to the season, have lost eight of their last eleven games.
Joel Smith got the win for New Market to improve to 3-0, getting six strikeouts in nine innings with just four hits on one unearned run. Bryce Turner gave up two runs on four hits in two innings to fall to 0-1. Jacob Bell struck out seven and allowed one run in seven innings to get the no-decision.
In the bottom of the first inning, Justin Lohr would hit a grounder to second base, but the throw would pull Calvin Pastel off first base to put Lohr on. Later on, a single from Trevor Thomas would bring him home to make it 1-0 Broadway.
Goode was determined to make up for his mistake, and with a single in the top of the fourth, he brought in Frankie Ritter to make the score tied at one.
The bats for both teams went mostly silent until the top of the eighth. With two on and two outs, Ty Bennet would rip a two run RBI triple to right field to give the Shockers a 3-1 lead. The Bruins would put Turner and Lohr on in the bottom half, but they were not able to come home, and the Bruins would not put any more runners on base in the final inning.
The Shockers had one error that led to a run, and left eight runners on base. The Bruins had no errors and left only five runners on base.
Bennet went 1-4 with two RBIs. Goode was 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Ritter went 2-5 with two runs scored. Henry Delavergne, Luke Estep, Matt House, and Ethan Laird all had one hit to give New Market a total of nine.
Thomas was 1-4 with an RBI, Lohr was 1-4 with a run scored, Chris Taylor was 1-4 and Turner was 1-2 to total four Bruin hits.
Smith says that by sticking to his normal game plan, he was able to take down Broadway.
“Every time I pitch, my goal is just to go in there, pump the zone, just try to get ahead early, and it’s working right now,” Smith said.
The Bruins will make up a rainout from Saturday against the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks at home tonight, July 19, at 7:30 pm. The Shockers will return tomorrow, July 20, at the Clover Dome against the second place Clover Hill Bucks at 7:30 pm.
By Leyton Pullin
On Sunday July 18 the Bridgewater Reds defeated the Grottoes Cardinals 11-10 on a walk off sacrifice fly by Antonio Sosa. The Reds trailed by as much as 7 runs during the game.
Grottoes got the scoring started right away in the top of the 1st. Clayton Michael doubled and was followed by a Keegan Woolford walk to put two runners on and one out. Dylan Nicely came up next and grounded a ball to Derek Shifflett at short. Shifflett flipped it to second for one and the ball to second for one then the throw to turn two sailed into the Grottoes dugout allowing Michael to score and put the Cardinals on top 1-0.
Bridgewater would strike back in the bottom of the 2nd as Antonio Sosa lead off the inning with a groundball to third base that was in and out of the glove of Dalton Nicely at third base allowing him to reach. Jonathan Sexton delivered later in the inning with a double to center field that allowed Sosa to score and tie the game 1-1.
The 4th inning was where both teams’ offenses took over the game. Grottoes put up 7 runs i-n the top half of the inning highlighted by a Keegan Woolford Grand Slam to put the Cardinals on top 8-1. Bridgewater responded in the bottom half putting up 6 runs of their own including a Noah Cornwell 2 Run homerun. The Reds pulled the game back to within one run at 8-7.
Both relievers Tyler Pullin for Grottoes and Nick Griffin shut down the offenses until the bottom of the 7th when the Bridgewater Reds saw Pullin for the second time through the order. Cornwell led off the inning with a single and then stole second later in the inning. Sexton did his job with a sacrifice fly to move Cornwell to third base with one down. Grey Sherfey delivered next up with a RBI single to score Cornwell and tie the game. Following a Jarrod Meadows walk Derek Shifflett saw one pitch and took it for an RBI single to score Sherfey and put the Reds up by a run. Bridgewater put up one last run in the inning as Corbin Lucas hit into a fielder’s choice to drive in the third run of the inning for Bridgewater and put them ahead 10-7.
Grottoes responded in the top of the 8th taking advantage of wild pitches off of Chris Huffman. Grottoes put two on o start the inning as Woolford walked and then was followed by a Dylan Nicely single. Jacob Zoller came to the plate next and put a ball in play that fell down for a single to score Woolford. During the next at bat Nicely would take third on a wild pitch moving the tying run to 90 feet from scoring. Later in the inning Huffman would throw another wild pitch getting away from sexton allowing for Nicely to score easily to tie the game. Grottoes capitalized on another wild pitch later in the inning as Zoller took off for home and when sexton got to throw ball no one was covering home allowing Zoller to score easily to put Grottoes in front 11-10.
Bridgewater would be forced to go back to work in the bottom half of the 8th trailing. Sosa opened the inning with a fly out to center before Cornwell grounded a ball to first base that went off the shoulder of Witt Scafidi and into right field. This allowed Cornwell to reach second as well on the error. The next hitter up was Sexton who was sat down on strikes with some fireworks as he and Pullin exchanged a few words before Sexton was restrained by Shifflett. Jarrod Meadows came to the plate next with a chance to tie the game with runners at the corners as Grey Sherfey had hit into a fielder choice just before. Meadows hit a RBI single in the gap to score Cornwell and tie the game.
Huffman went back to work for the Reds in the 9th and retired the heart of the Grottoes order in order to give his team a chance in the bottom of the 9th. Bridgewater went to work right away as Brett Tharpe walked to lead off the inning. Corbin Lucas came up next and crushed a ball down the left field line that had the distance but tailed foul at the dismay of the Reds dugout. Lucas delivered a pitch later off of Clayton Michael as he hit a single to move Tharpe to third base. Sosa came to the plate next with the chance to win the game for the Reds. Sosa hit a fly ball to right field that was cleanly caught by Woolford. Tharpe tagged up at third and took off to home standing up to walk it off for the Reds 11-10.
For Grottoes they drop to 9-9 on the season with just three games left on the schedule. Clayton Michael (0-2) takes the loss for Grottoes after coming in for Pullin in the bottom of the 8th. Grottoes put up 10 runs off of 11 hits and 1 Reds error. The Cardinals also committed 4 errors in the game unofficially continuing their struggles defensively. The Cardinals will look to avoid a 3-game losing skid as they travel to Montezuma (10-7) on Tuesday July 20 in the RCBL Game of the Week on WSVA at 7:30PM.
For Bridgewater they pick up their second win over Grottoes on the season to clinch the season series. Chris Huffman (1-1) picks up the win for the Reds. The former El Paso Chihuahua threw 2 innings giving up 0 runs and struck out 5. Manager Sherfey said, “We’re trying to find ourselves and now is the time to do it… I love the way they fight.” The Reds faced deficits throughout the night and trailed by as much as 7 in the 4th inning and fighting is what they had to do as 8 out of the 9 players in the line up had RBis. The Reds (5-12) will travel to take on Stuarts Draft (10-7) on July 20th as they look to play spoiler against the D-backs who still would have a chance at the regular season pennant if they were to win out and New Market were to lose their next three games.
By Dean Barker
The Clover Hill Bucks took an early lead at the Bridgewater Reds Friday, July 16, and never looked back, winning 7-4. With their fourth straight win, Clover Hill moved to 10-6 and two games out of first. Bridgewater fell to 4-12.
Jacob Grabeel took the win to move to 1-0, with no runs, no hits, and three strikeouts in pitching the fifth and sixth innings. Tucker Hrasky picked up the save, striking out one in one inning of relief. Dylan Horne took the loss to fall to 0-1, giving up five runs in one and two-thirds innings.
The Bucks loaded the bases in the first. John Siciliano was walked, and Ross French was hit to bring home two runs to make it 2-0 Clover Hill. Brett Tharp would hit a solo shot in the bottom of the first to cut the lead to 2-1.
The Bucks would load the bases again in the second, and once again, Siciliano walked to bring one home, where Horne would be replaced by Pablo Suarez. Cole Jenkins would plate two with an RBI single to make the score 5-1. Grey Sherfey would walk, and then steal second and third. On a wild ball four to Xavier Moore, Sherfey would come home to make it 5-2.
Alex Knicely would lead off the third with a single, and Josh Eberly would follow up with a double. Kevin Kirk was then walked to load the bases. On a swing that was meant to be a check swing, Kevin Navedo pushed one past Hunter Miller at first to bring home the Bucks’ last two runs, making the score 7-2. With the bases loaded in the bottom half, Jonathan Sexton grounded into a fielder’s choice at third, bringing home a run to cut it to 7-3. The Reds would load the bases again, but Moore would strand them with a strikeout swinging.
Antonio Florentino-Sosa led off the top of the seventh with a solo home run to left. After a Noah Cornwell single and Sexton and Jared Meadows were hit, the bases were loaded for Derek Shifflett with two outs, but he would strike out swinging to end the inning. The game was stopped after eight innings due to the league’s time limit.
The Bucks left a surprising 14 runners on base, and had no errors in the field. Bridgewater stranded twelve, and had three errors which led to three unearned runs.
Navedo went 1-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Siciliano went 0-2 with two RBIs. Jenkins went 2-4 with two RBIs. Ross French was 1-4 with one RBI. Josh Eberly went 3-4 with two runs scored. Kevin Kirk was 1-3 with three runs scored. The Bucks had eight total hits.
The Reds were led in defeat by Sosa, who went 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Tharp went 1-2 with an RBI and a run scored. Miller went 1-5 with a run scored. Sexton went 0-2 with one RBI. Cornwell went 2-4. The Reds had six hits.
Bucks head coach Kevin Chandler said his team is starting to play solid baseball, and that has led to their three game win streak.
“We’re just starting to put it together. We’re playing better ball; defense, pitching, and hitting. Timely hitting,” Chandler said. “If we can just keep doing that, and focus in on ourselves, not necessarily our opponent, we’ll be fine.”
Clover Hill will have a huge matchup tonight (7/17), as they travel to Montezuma to take on the Bucks at 7:30 pm. Both teams are tied for second place. The Reds will have a day to recuperate before hosting the Grottoes Cardinals Sunday, July 18 at 6:30 pm.
By Leyton Pullin
On Friday July 16 the Montezuma Braves shut out the Grottoes Cardinals 9-0 behind Lance Tate’s dominant start.
Both starters Tucker Garrison for Grottoes and Tate cruised through their first inning of work before there were two away in the top of the 2nd. Tyler Smith took a pitch for a ride to left field for a solo home run to put Montezuma up 1-0 early.
Tate did not allow a hit until there was two away in the 3rd as Clayton Michael broke up the no hitter with a single past Isiah Blanks at short stop that allowed David Wood to reach third base after he had walked earlier in the inning. That was the furthest any runner would make it for the Cardinals in the game as both were left stranded as Keegan Woolford flew out to shallow centerfield to end the 3rd.
Both teams put runners aboard with one out singles in the 4th but again runners were left stranded on both occasions. It was Gavin Rush for the Braves and Jacob Zoller for the Cardinals.
Montezuma recorded their first lead off hit of the night in the 5th as Grant Thomas got aboard with an infield single that got past Garrison and rolled to a stop in front of second base to allow him to reach safely. Thomas was put out the next at bat as Isiah Blanks hit into a nice 4-6-3 double play by the Cardinals. This would be the end of the nice defense for the Cardinals as a sloppy 6th inning was to follow.
Garrison retired the first two hitters in the 6th via the ground out before Jacob Critzer came to the plate and hit a solo home run to dead center field right over top of the 375-foot sign to stretch the lead to 2-0. Rush followed with a single of his own to put him on first. Owen Marshall came to the plate next and hit a ground ball to Jacob Dansey at third base. Dansey fielded it cleanly but did not make a throw that was catchable to Wood at first allowing Marshall to reach and for Rush to reach third base. Next in the box was Tyler Smith who also hit a ground ball to Dansey that was fielded and again thrown off target to wood allowing Smith to reach and for Rush to score and extend the lead to 3-0.
Montezuma got another chance in the 7th as Kyle Armstrong hit a lead off single to start the inning. P.J. Hanisak followed him up later in the inning with a double off the wall in left field. Armstrong appeared to have come into score on the play but Garrison made a super heads up play and appealed that Armstrong missed third base. Garrison stepped on the rubber stepped off and then made the throw to third for the appeal and sure enough the base umpire ruled Armstrong out for missing third base saving a run.
Grottoes had a chance in the 8th as Montezuma went to the bullpen for the first time and called upon TR Williams in relief. Witt Scafidi pinch hit for David Wood in the nine spot and delivered with a single. Williams settled in sitting down the next two hitters on strike before Keegan Woolford drew a walk. With two on and two out Grottoes had another chance with the RCBL leader in RBIs Dylan Nicely coming to the plate. Uncharacteristically Nicely was sat down on strikes as he chased a fast ball well above the zone for the final pitch of the inning.
Coming into the 9th Grottoes stayed with their starter Garrison but that proved to be a bit of a struggle for Garrison as he faced 5 hitters who all 5 reached and all 5 scored, only 4 were earned runs. Ty Lam was called upon to try and limit the bleeding and eventually did allowing one more run unearned as he himself allowed that runner to reach as he did not field a ground ball cleanly. In the top of the 9th in total Montezuma added 6 runs off of 5 hits and 2 errors to stretch the lead to 9-0.
Grottoes came to the plate in the bottom of the 9th down by 9. The first two hitters of the inning were retired by a strike out and a ground out as Drue Hackenburg took over for the Braves. Garrison came up next and drew a walk but was left stranded as Kevin Saylor grounded out to end the game.
For Grottoes they drop to 9-8 on the season. Tucker Garrison (3-3) takes the loss for Grottoes. Garrison faced 41 hitters, gave up 14 hits, struck out 8 and gave up 8 runs only 4 were earned in 8.0 IP. The Grottoes bats were very uncharacteristically silenced as they only had 3 hits all night and 8 baserunners in total. The Cardinals will look to turn things around quickly as they travel to Bridgewater on Sunday July 18 at 6:30PM for a date with the Reds (4-12).
For Montezuma their defense and pitching were phenomenal and were the keys to their success on the night. Lance Tate (4-0) got the win tying him with Kirk Messick for the most in the RCBL. Tate, Williams and Hackenburg combined for a shutout, 3 hits, 4 walks and 10 Ks. The Braves (10-7) will have a quick turn around as they host Clover Hill (10-6) on Saturday July 17 at 7:30PM in the second match up of the year between the closely located rivals.
By Dean Barker
In a rematch of last year’s RCBL Championship Series, the New Market Shockers rallied with five runs in the sixth to knock off the defending champion Broadway Bruins 5-4. With their seventh win in a row, the Shockers move to 12-4 and are 2.5 games ahead in first. With their fourth consecutive loss, the Bruins fell to 8-8 and are now in sixth place.
Michael Prosper picked up the win to move to 2-0, allowing just one run and striking out five in three innings. CJ Morton picked up his third save with two strikeouts in the ninth inning. Kaden Spaid gave up three earned runs on four hits with three strikeouts in five innings.
Isaac VanMeter took the loss to move to 0-2, giving up five earned runs on seven hits with three strikeouts in six innings. Jett Shue gave up no earned runs with five strikeouts and just one hit in three innings to get the no-decision.
Justin Lohr led off the game with a standup triple, and Trent Abernathy would drive him in with a sacrifice fly to put Broadway up 1-0. Jordan Yankey would reach third in the second, but the Bruins stranded him.
Trevor Thomas would lead off the top of the fourth with a single. Henry Delavergne tried to pick him off from center field, but was just too late. Catcher Dawson Russel tried to pick him off on a pop out for our number two, but just missed. Spaid would throw away trying to pick him off, moving him to first, and Yankey would walk. Peyton Davis came through with a two run RBI triple to left to extend the lead to 3-0. Davis was thrown out at third by Russel.
Michael Prosperi took over for Spaid in the top of the sixth, and sat the Bruins down 1-2-3.
After five innings of shutout, two-hit baseball from VanMeter, the Shockers finally broke through in the sixth. Russel was hit to lead off, and Delavergne bunted his way on. Nick Goode would drive in one with an RBI double to left. Frankie Ritter bunted to VanMeter, who would throw past the first baseman Lohr to allow another run to score. Pearce Bucher followed up with a two run single to put New Market up 4-3. VanMeter would be replaced by Jett Shue, who, with the bases loaded, threw a wild pitch to allow Bucher to come home. That would be all, as Shue would strike out the next three to end the inning with the score 5-3.
Broadway would plate one run in the eighth, as Lohr would score from third as a throw to catch Abernathy at second went wild. With runners on the corners and two outs, Prosperi would strike out Yankey to escape the threat. In the ninth, Morton would strike out two and retire another to pick up the save.
The Bruins left five on base and one error which did not result in a run. The Shockers stranded six and had two errors, one which led to a run in the eighth.
Davis went 1-4 with two RBIs for the Bruins. Abernathy went 1-3 with one RBI on a sacrifice fly. Lohr went 1-3 with two runs scored. Trevor Thomas went 1-4 with a run. Ben Reid was 1-4. Broadway had eight hits on the night.
Bucher went 1-4 with two RBIs and one run scored. Goode was 2-4 with a run and an RBI. Ritter went 1-3 with a run scored. Delavergne was 1-4 with a run scored. Russel scored one run. The Shockers had eight hits.
Bucher said he had been looking for a big opportunity in the sixth inning when he ripped the go-ahead double.
“Two guys in scoring position, I’d been wanting that all night,” Bucher said. “It finally came up on me, so I was just motivated to stay short, do what I can to make those two runs score, get one base and then do something else, get a couple more runs.”
The Shockers will host the Elkton Blue Sox on Saturday, July 17 at 7:30 pm. The Bruins will host the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks at the same date and time. The Bruins and Shockers will meet one last time in the regular season on Sunday, July 18 in Broadway at 6:30 pm.
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