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By Dean Barker
The RCBL Shockers walked off the Montezuma Braves in game one, and called the mercy rule into effect in game two to sweep a double header 6-3 and 10-0 on Saturday, July 1. With the wins, the Shockers improved to 12-4 and remained in first place in the RCBL, while the Braves fell to 6-10 and into seventh.
“They’ve come out the last two nights, and they’ve just played good baseball,” Shockers head coach Nolan Potts said. “We’ve played clean defense for the most part, pitchers threw strikes today, pitchers threw strikes last night, and that’s a formula. We’ll get enough offense… throughout the game, but if we play clean defense and throw strikes, we’re gonna give ourselves a chance every night.”
Kirk Messick got the win in both games to improve to 5-0, facing and retiring the final batter in the top of the seventh in game one, and pitching a complete five innings in game two, giving up no runs on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Messick drove eight hours from Myrtle Beach to pitch in these games.
“Just used what little energy I had left on the day,” Messick said. “It’s been a long day, just throwing strikes like Coach Potts said, all you’ve got to do is throw strikes, and that lets your defense back you up.”
Derek Ryan took the loss in game one to fall to 0-1, giving up three earned runs in an inning and a third on four hits with one walk and no strikeouts. Lance Tate pitched five and a third innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
With the bases loaded and one out in the top of the fourth, Dylan Rankin flew out to center to put the Braves up 1-0. Matt House would drive in Harrison Madagan the exact same way in the bottom half to tie the game.
An RBI single from JT Stevenson put Montezuma back up 2-1 in the fifth.
With two on in the bottom of the sixth, Connor Houser singled to right to score Madagan and tie the game at two apiece. JJ Loker singled to right to put the Shockers up 3-2.
Kyle Armstrong led off the seventh with a single, stole second, moved to third on a sac fly, and scored the tying run on a JT Stevenson single.
Luke Keister doubled with one out in the bottom of the seventh, and moved to third on a groundout from Dawson Russell. Madagan walked, and Nick Arnold walked it off with a home run to left field.
“I just kept it simple, just having a good approach at the plate, trying to get a good pitch to hit every time I’m up there, and I knew the guy throwing, so I was pretty locked in, knowing what was going to come,” Arnold said.
Alex Belako took the loss in game two to fall to 1-1, giving up five earned runs on two hits with seven walks and one strikeout in an inning and a third. Matthew Charles pitched two and a third innings, giving up three earned runs on three hits with a walk and a strikeout. Adam Dressler pitched a third of an inning and gave up two earned runs on one hit with a walk and no strikeouts.
Matt House came home on a wild pitch in the first to give the Shockers a 1-0 lead.
In the second, Keister drew a bases loaded walk to bring across the second run, and Russell would single to bring in the third. A single to right from Arnold would plate two more to make it 5-0 Shockers.
A wild pitch to Frankie Ritter would allow House and Loker to come home in the third and extend the lead to 7-0. Keister’s single to center allowed Bodie Pullen to score and make it 8-0 Shockers.
Keister’s grounder to third in the fifth resulted in a fielder’s choice throw into right field, bringing home the ninth run, and Pullen came home on a wild pitch to initiate the mercy rule and end the game at 10-0 Shockers.
For the Shockers, Arnold was 4-7 with five RBIs on the day. Keister was 1-3 with three RBIs in game two. Houser was 3-3 with an RBI in game one. House was 2-4 with an RBI on the day.
“Just trying to get in the box, look for pitches to drive and help my team win, man,” Keister said. “I got a few good situations with guys getting in scoring position before me, and got pitches I could drive and help my team win, score some runs.”
JT Stevenson was 2-4 with two RBIs in game one to lead the Braves. Gavin Rush was 2-5 on the day.
The Braves will be back in action when they host the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks on Monday, July 3 at 7:30 pm. The Shockers will travel to the Elkton Blue Sox on Monday, July 3 at 7:30 pm.
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