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By Dean Barker
The New Market Shockers had no trouble claiming game one of the 2021 RCBL Finals, blowing out the visiting Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks 15-1 on Friday, August 6. With the win, the Shockers improved to 21-6 (6-0 in the playoffs), and took a 1-0 lead in the series. The Diamondbacks fell to 19-10.
Kirk Messick picked up the win for New Market to improve to 8-0, giving up just one run and five hits in nine innings. Trever Mitchell took his first loss of the year, giving up eight runs on five hits and two walks in two thirds of an inning to fall to 3-1.
After a 1-2-3 first inning from Messick, Frankie Ritter singled to left with one out in the bottom half, and stole second and third on back to back pitches. Pearce Bucher walked, and Luke Estep drove one over the center field wall to put the Shockers up 3-0. Following a walk to Matt House and a single from Luke Keister, Kaden Spaid and Dawson Russell each had an RBI single. Ethan Laird grounded into a fielder’s choice at second, but ran out the throw to first. With runners on the corners, Henry Delavergne was hit to load the bases. At this point, Mitchell was pulled for Jeremy Jenkins. Ritter drove in two more with a single to right field, and took second on a wild pitch. Bucher plated two with a double off the center field wall. Estep struck out looking to end the inning with a 9-0 New Market lead.
Keister hit a solo shot to left with one out in the bottom of the second to push the lead to 10-0.
Messick had a perfect game until Calen Owens singled up the middle with two outs in the third. It would come to naught, as Zach Roberts flew out to center field to end the inning.
Ritter led off the third with an infield single to shortstop Doug Pollock. Estep brought him in with a triple to center field, and House plated Estep with a single off Pollock’s glove. Russell brought in House with a single to right, and Laird doubled to left to bring in another run. Delavergne flew out to right to end the inning with the 14-0 lead.
With two runners in scoring position in the fifth, Delavergne grounded out to Pollock to bring in one more run and make it 15-0 New Market.
With two outs in the top of the sixth, Stuarts Draft got on the board with a solo homer to center field from Jack Pausic, but that would be all for the Diamondbacks.
New Market stranded twelve, and had two errors with no unearned runs. Stuarts Draft left six runners on base, had no errors and gave up no unearned runs.
Every Shockers batter in the starting lineup had at least one hit and one RBI. Estep went 3-6 with four RBIs and two runs scored. Ritter was 3-6 with two RBIs and three runs scored. Bucher went 3-5 with two RBIs and a run scored. Russell went 2-2 with two RBIs. The Shockers had a total of eighteen hits.
Will Hass went 2-4, Pausic went 1-4 with an RBI and a run scored, Roberts went 1-4, and Owens was 1-3, totaling five Diamondback hits.
The Shockers have had ten games this season with eleven or more runs, and are undefeated in those games. Messick said huge offensive nights like Friday make his job easy on the mound.
“Don’t take away from our pitching staff, I mean they’ve done a really good job this season, too,” Messick said. “But uh, when you put up eleven runs, it’s kind of hard to lose a game.”
While the Shockers beat down on the Diamondbacks in game one, Messick isn’t expecting the D-Backs, who won the regular season series with New Market, to simply hand them the rest of the series.
“I think, just like any team, they had a bad night,” Messick said. “Obviously, we all know they’re a lot better than they were tonight, and we’re not taking anything away from them with the beating we gave them tonight because, like I said, they just had a bad night, and we just had a really good night.”
The Diamondbacks will hope to even the series on Saturday, August 7 when they host the Shockers for game two at 7:30 pm at the Diamond Club. New Market and Stuarts Draft will switch home field advantage each game. After games two, four and six (if necessary), there will be one day off before returning to action. All games will be at 7:30 pm except for a potential game seven, which would be at 6:30 pm in New Market.
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