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By Olivia Carson
Last night New Market secured the regular season series against the Bridgewater Reds with an 11 - 0 sweep. New Market also picked up their fifth straight win keeping themselves at 1st place with an 11 - 4 record while Bridgewater remains in 7th (4 - 11).
The Reds had a promising start to the game last night as Derek Shifflett led with a double, followed by a single from Brett Tharp. However, the Shockers defense responded quickly by turning a double play and continuing to end the 1st inning with no runs on the board.
The Shockers got their offense going in the 2nd as George Auel singled. Matt House followed with a single that moved Auel to third base. With a runner in scoring position, Kaden Spaid stepped up to bat and reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Auel. Shockers pitcher Kirk Messick was able to hold the Reds in the bottom half of the inning and picked up 2 strikeouts in the half.
New Market kept things moving with a leadoff single in the 3rd by Henry Delavergne. After advancing to second on a fielder’s choice, Delavergne continued his trip around the bases, stealing 3rd and then scoring on a sacrifice fly by Frankie Ritter.
After Auel’s second hit of the game and a drawn walk by Kaden Spaid, the Reds Pitcher, Shifflett was able to pitch his way out of the 4th inning with no damage. However, after the strong defensive stance by the Reds, their offense still remained quiet throughout the half.
The 5th inning is where the Shockers dominated the game, starting with a walk from Delavergne and Luke Keister reached 1st base on a fielder’s choice to follow. The next few batters in the lineup, Ritter and Pearce Bucher, stepped up to put runners in scoring positions as they both singled to load the bases for Luke Estep. With a 0 - 1 count, Estep took Shifflett deep with a grand slam to extend the lead to 6 - 0. Keeping the spark going, the Shockers scrapped another run before ending the half on a single by Spaid, scoring Auel. Once again, the Reds could not string anything together to respond to New Market’s long inning.
The 6th inning hit off with the Shockers drawing 3 back-to-back walks by Keister, Ritter and Bucher. With bases loaded, Auel came through again with a sacrifice fly to score Keister.
In the bottom of the inning, the Reds began to threaten as they collected a few hits. Jonathan Sexton began with a single and Jerrod Meadows walked. Shifflett was able to get a hit to move Sexton to third but Meadows was thrown out at second by the Shockers right-fielder. Tharp responded with a walk, loading the bases; however, Bridgewater still could not find a way to manufacture runs.
The Shockers comfortable lead was extended yet again in the 7th beginning with a Delavergne single. Keister then stepped up and delivered with a double, scoring Delavergne. Later, with 2 runners on, Bucher confidently scored both on a single, adding to their lead of 11 - 0. Bridgewater could not respond to the deficit and had their 5th three-up-three-down inning of the game.
Winning pitcher, Messick, finished the game with 5 strikeouts, 2 walks and only gave up 4 hits through 7 innings. When asked what has been a key to the Shockers success so far, Messick; who is also New Markets assistant coach, could not pinpoint one reason.
“I don’t think one thing is standing out more than anything really. I think our pitching has been on, our hitting has been on and our defense...has actually been really good,” says Messick. “If there’s one thing we need to work on it’s our baserunning. We’ve had games where our base running costs us runs in close games. Finishing out the season and heading into playoffs, all runs are crucial so we need to fix those mistakes.”
The impressive 12 hit game from New Market was led by Auel (3), Bucher (2) and Delavergne (2). The key point in the game was Luke Estep’s grand slam in the 5th. The Shockers who are sitting at the top of the rankings in the RCBL, are currently on a 6-game win streak and will play the Broadway Bruins on Thursday July 15.
Bridgewater’s 4 hit game came from Shifflett (2), Sexton and Tharp. The Reds will play again on Friday July 16 against the Clover Hill Bucks at home again.
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