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By Dean Barker
The #3 RCBL Shockers (26-12) took advantage of miscues from the #1 Bridgewater Reds (28-9) to gain a 7-4 win in game three of the RCBL Championship on Friday, August 11. With the win, the Shockers take a 2-1 series lead.
“We knew he (Joe Christopher) was going to be in the zone, I thought we did a good job going up early, attacking,” Shockers head coach Nolan Potts said. “I thought the approach was good all night.”
Matt House (8-2) got the win, pitching innings and giving up runs on hits with walks and strikeouts.
(The key was) just relying on my defense while pitching,” House said.
Mason Lynn pitched four and a third innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits with two walks and a strikeout.
“My approach was just to throw strikes, if they hit it, I know I have a good defense behind me,” Lynn said.
Joe Christopher (6-1) took his first loss of the season, throwing five innings and giving up five runs (three earned) on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Eric Yankey pitched two innings, giving up two earned runs on two hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Nick Griffin pitched two scoreless innings with two hits, no walks and a strikeout.
Frankie Ritter put the Shockers on the board first with a solo shot to left in the first inning, giving them a 1-0 lead.
“It’s the approach we have, we want to be tough outs, we’ll do anything to get on,” Ritter said. “Luckily tonight, they botched a few plays for us.”
Corbin Lucas led off the bottom of the second with a double to center, and Derek Shifflett moved him over with a bunt single. Caden Swartley’s sacrifice fly to deep right tied the score at 1-1.
An error from Chris Huffman allowed Ritter to reach to lead off the third. Ritter would take second and third on a balk and wild pitch, and scored on a Luke Keister single. Pearce Bucher’s double plated Keister, and a sacrifice fly from Harrison Madagan brought Bucher home to make it 4-1 Shockers.
A two out single and stolen base from Ritter was followed by a throwing error on Keister’s grounder, allowing the fifth run to score for the Shockers in the fourth.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, a sharp liner to third from Huffman brought home the second run for the Reds, at which point Lynn was pulled for House.
A two out single from Keister brought home Ritter to extend the lead to 6-2 in the sixth.
Swartley ripped a single to center in the bottom half to cut the lead to 6-3. The Reds loaded the bases with one out, but House retired the next two to escape.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the seventh, a wild pitch allowed Madagan to come home and push the lead to 7-3. The Reds left the bases loaded in the bottom half.
With two on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Swartley singled to left to cut the lead to 7-4. Grey Sherfey singled to load the bases for Jordan Yankey, but Yankey flew out to right to end the game.
The Shockers had seven runs on eleven hits with errors and ten runners left on base. Keister was 2-4 with a walk and two RBIs. Ritter was 2-4 with a walk, and RBI and four runs scored. Bucher was 2-5 with an RBI. Madagan was 1-3 with a walk and an RBI. House was 2-3 with two walks. Nick Arnold and Dawson Russell were both 1-5.
The Reds had four runs on fourteen hits with three errors and fourteen base runners stranded. Derek Shifflett went 4-4 with a walk. Swartley was 2-4 with three RBIs. Lucas went 3-5. Sherfey and Huffman were 2-5. Liam Simpson went 1-5.
Game four will be Saturday, August 12 at 7:30 pm at Spotswood High School.
“You make baseball very complicated sometimes; you throw strikes, make plays and hit the baseball, you’re gonna have a shot to win,” Potts said. “We have to do that, we have to come out with a sense of urgency like we did tonight, if we put them in a 3-1 hole, it makes it very difficult for them to beat us three times.”
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