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By Dean Barker
After losing three in a row, the New Market Shockers were able to bounce back with an 11-2 win at home over the first-place Montezuma Braves on Wednesday, June 30. The win avenged a 6-5 Braves walk off over the Shockers from June 23. The game was slated to start at 7:30 pm, but due to inclement weather, it was pushed back an hour. With the win, the Shockers improved to 6-4, while the Braves fell to 6-2 with just their second loss of the season.
Michael Prosperi picked up the win for the Shockers with six strikeouts in six innings, only allowing one run to move to 1-0. Elijah Dunlap took the loss to fall to 2-2, giving up eight runs in five and a third innings pitched on nine hits.
The Braves got two quick outs from New Market in the bottom of the third, but a double from Frankie Ritter and a single from Pearce Bucher would give the Shockers a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the fourth, Prosperi would strike out all but one Braves batter. That batter was Jacob Critzer, who would launch a two out solo shot to center field to tie the game at one.
The Shockers would take the lead back for good in the bottom of the fifth. Following a double from Henry Delavergne, Dunlap would throw the ball past first on a grounder from Matt House, allowing Delavergne to score, and House to reach second. Bucher’s sharp single would deflect off of Critzer at third to bring House home to make the score 3-1.
To start the bottom of the sixth, Luke Estep pushed a single past Dunlap, Ty Bennet was walked, and George Auel reached first on a bunt to load the bases. Delavergne came up to the plate and ripped a grand slam to left to put the Shockers up 7-1. While his at-bat produced four runs, Delavergne was actually just looking for a sacrifice fly to drive in Estep.
“I took a good swing to try to get a fly ball,” Delavergne told RCBL’s Dean Barker. “Once I hit it, I was pretty sure it was going to go out or hit the wall.”
Following Dunlap’s exit, Ritter and Bucher would double steal to put two runners in scoring position. A sacrifice fly from Josh Tayman would drive Ritter home, and then a single from Dawson Russel would score Bucher to make the score 9-1 New Market.
Montezuma would cut the deficit in the top of the seventh, as an RBI groundout from Logan Jones scored Critzer to make it 9-2. Kyle Armstrong would steal third, but would be stranded there to end the inning.
The Shockers would try to push the lead to ten in the eighth, which would’ve called the mercy rule into play. Pinch hitting for Russel, Joel Smith would drive in Bucher with an RBI single, and Luke Estep would then drive in Estep with a single. However, New Market would leave runners on the corners. Cade Templeton retired the Braves 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth, allowing one earned run and striking out three in the final three innings.
Delavergne led the Shockers, going 2-5 with four RBIs and two runs scored. Bucher was 3-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Luke Estep went 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Ritter was 2-5 with two runs scored.
Critzer went 1-4 with the Braves, with one RBI and scoring both of Montezuma’s runs. Jones was 0-3 with an RBI groundout. Michael Robertson went 2-4, but had no RBIs or runs scored.
The Shockers outhit the Braves 15-5, and were walked three times, while only one Brave was walked. New Market managed to get by despite leaving ten runners on base, compared to four from Montezuma. The Braves had three errors accounting for one unearned run, while the Shockers had two errors, neither of which allowed the Braves to score.
Delavergne believes that big offensive outbreaks like Wednesday will help the Shockers to return to where they were before the losing streak.
“The past couple of times, we just couldn’t get the offense rolling, so hopefully this is a start of something that we can do consistently, like we were in the beginning of the year,” Delavergne said. The Shockers have scored a total of 70 runs in games they’ve won this season.
The Shockers will have two nights off before traveling to Grottoes to face the Cardinals Saturday, July 3 at 7:30 pm. The Braves will hope to bounce back at home against the Clover Hill Bucks on Friday, July 2 at 7:30 pm.
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