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By Tyler Carney
The Bridgewater Reds took care of business avenging their only loss of the season 7-4 over the Clover Hill Bucks. An exciting game was the battle for outright first in the league with both teams sitting at 5-1 coming into the game. Great pitching and hitting on both sides kept the game extremely competitive throughout.
After a scoreless first two innings where both starting pitchers would nearly go 6 up 6 down, the top of the 3rd came up. Bridgewater would score 5 runs and all nine batters would hit. The first would be an RBI single from Brett Tharpe bringing in Jordon Yankey who reached on a walk and stole 2nd and beat the throw home. Noah Cornwell would bring Tharpe in on a long RBI single and he too would eventually cross the plate on a Corbin Lucas RBI single. Grey Sherfey would also hit an RBI single bringing in Chris Huffman who singled earlier in the inning. Corbin Lucas would steal home from 3rd after a Sherfey steal attempt would cause the Bucks to try and throw him out at second allowing the Reds to do the double steal move.
The Bucks were not going away quietly as their bottom of the 3rd would see them jump right back into the game with 3 runs. After a two out walk to Lucas Bauer and some aggressive base running Kevin Navedo would drive Josh Eberly in on an RBI single. Navedo would then get to third off a steal and a wild pitch and a wild pitch/passed ball saw Bauer would score. The odd inning would end after one more RBI single from Luke Shifflett the Reds would get out of the inning after that.
The Bucks would bring it within one in the bottom of the 5th on an unearned run from Josh Eberly off another passed ball capping off another weird inning where four Bucks would strike out but Eberly would beat the throw off the dropped 3rd strike and eventually score. However the Bucks would not get another run across.
The Reds would score another unearned run in the 7th as Brett Tharpe scored on an error by the second baseman. They’d cap their day in the 8th on a sacrifice fly from Yankey that would score Liam Simpson from 3rd.
As for pitching Chris Huffman would start for the Reds and dazzled with 16 total strikeouts including the strikeout where the runner reached. Huffman would throw 115 pitches, 82 being strikes and go a full 7 innings and was replaced by Derek Shifflett. Shifflet wouldn’t allow a run in his two innings of work only facing 8 batters as he went through the Bucks quickly to secure the win. Huffman and Shifflett have become a dominant one two punch for the Reds and that’ll be key in their title defense.
“It definitely helps having Derek and Corbin guys that know lineups around me,” said Huffman when asked if he did anything differently before his 16 strikeout performance, “ I just feel that if I’m having control over all four of my pitches I’m gonna have a good night.”
For the Bucks Payson King would pull the start and did not give up any runs but had a quick day that looked as if it was a planned quick day as he was relieved by Sam Imeson in the top of the 3rd after one out. Imeson would have a rough start giving up 5 runs but settled in really nicely after that controlling his stuff well. Tyler Conley would replace Imeson in the 8th after two outs but the bases were loaded and his fresh arm would see them out of the jam. Conley would then finish the game.
“We just gotta take care of the little things going forward,” said Huffman, Shifflett followed with “ We gotta ride the wave, keep the momentum high and we got a good pitching staff to do it.”
The Reds now 6-1 will look to ride that wave Friday on the road against a talented Grottoes Cardinals team who is 3-2 and likely to be 4-2 going into Friday as they take on the struggling Blue Sox Wednesday night.
The Bucks now 5-2 will look to bounce back also on Friday on the road against a Stuarts Draft team that had been struggling but looked good in their last game mercy ruling Elkton in 7 innings moving them to 2-5 on the young season.
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