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By Mitchell Broughton and Josiah Schulz
When the first pitch at JMU’s Eagle Field was thrown yesterday, the Broadway Bruins held sole possession of first place in the County League with an 8-3 record. However, following the last out, the Bruins fell out of first to a tie for second after a 10-4 loss to the Bridgewater Reds.
Bridgewater drew the highest card in the duel between JMU pitchers. Right hander Lliam Grubbs secured his first win of the season after seven dominant innings. Grubbs struckout six while only giving up three hits and just one run to the Bruins.
“It took me a while to get my groove going tonight, playing against great hitters, especially my teammates from JMU [Broadway’s Reifsnider, DeLauter, and Jones],” Grubbs said. “After I got situated, I was getting ground balls, got great plays for my defense to make which they did, so all around just a great defensive outing as a team tonight.”
On the other side, Chase DeLauter struggled to get in a rhythm for Broadway. Only pitching three innings he gave up three hits, walked five, and allowed four runs. Though, at the plate he led the Bruins with three hits including a double and a two-run home run — bringing his 2020 total to five, leading the County League this season.
His reliever, another JMU duke, Liam McDonnell made more progress for the Bruins. The left hander went five innings, striking out seven while allowing just four hits and one walk. Catering to the comedic relief of the crowd on hand at Eagle Field, McDonell also reached base on a walk in his first appearance at the plate since he was in the tenth grade.
Bridgewater’s offense started out strong but finished the game stronger. Right fielder Corbin Lucas led the way for the Reds per usual. Lucas hit two RBI-doubles, one in part of Bridgewater’s four-run third inning and the other as a part of their five-run ninth inning rally that secured the win. Lucas told Josiah Schulz after the game about his team finally getting all the parts to work together:
“We were just more confident in ourselves tonight,” Lucas explained. “I believe if we continue to clean up our defense, if our pitchers continue to play as great as they have been doing, I feel like we will be competitive in every single ball game coming up.”
Grey Sherfey also had a double in the top of the fourth and scored two batters later. And veteran player and JMU alum Derek Shifflett put on a show at his alma mater. The shortstop not only made many impressive plays in the field, but went 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and used his speed to score from first base off an error in the outfield in the top of the ninth. Shifflett also closed out the game on the mound for the Reds in the bottom of the ninth, striking out two to solidify the win for the visiting team. The Reds now have some quality wins this season to try to even out some of the bad games they’ve lost. Tonight, it was apparent that Bridgewater was finally getting all their gears to turn at once. Manager Robert Sherfey spoke with Schulz after the game and had nothing but praise for his ballplayers.
“The guys are finally starting to play as a team now. Like I had said before, it takes time. Everyone was on tonight. Pitching, offense, and defense did their job to get the win. We stayed with it and never gave up,” Sherfey said. “You're going to have good days and bad days. But right now, the way I see this team going and the direction they’re leaning towards, we’re going to be a great team. It’s coming.”
Bridgewater improves to 7-6 on the season and will travel to Montezuma on Friday to take on the Braves. Broadway falls to 8-4, but will look to improve that record tomorrow when they face Stuarts Draft at the Diamond Club.
FINAL: Bridgewater 10 Broadway 4. Winning pitcher: Lliam Grubbs (1-0). Losing pitcher: Chase DeLauter (1-1).
Around the County League: It took extra innings, but Clover Hill managed to sneak out of Grottoes with an 8-5 win over the Cardinals. The Bucks scored three in the top of the eleventh, starting with a ground rule double by Bryce Suters.
Four home runs for Elkton helped the Blue Sox grab a 9-1 victory over Montezuma. Lee Carneal, Jose Rocha and Will Decker all went yard for Elkton.
Nick Goode scores in the top of the eighth off an error by the Stuarts Draft catcher to take the lead and grab a 9-8 win for New Market over the Diamondbacks. Goode finished the game with two hits and an RBI to go along with the winning run scored. Draft’s Will Hass went 4-for-5 on the night with a home run.
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