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By Leyton Pullin
The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks defeated the Clover Hill Bucks on Thursday July 22 5-2 off of a terrific performance from their pitching staff.
The Bucks got to work early in the top of the 1st as Josh Eberly led the game off with a double. Kevin Navedo followed him with a one out walk before Drew Easter came to the plate. Easter then laid down a beautiful bunt that allowed everyone to reach safely including allowing Eberly to score to put the Bucks up 1-0.
Kevin Chandler got the start for the Bucks as they called on the manager who retired the first seven hitters he faced before Grayson Bush singled in the bottom of the 3rd. Bush took off for second and stole it successfully before Calen Owens flew out for the second out. Zach Roberts came to the plate next and came in clutch as he has all year for the D-Backs as he hit a ground rule double that allowed for Bush to score and tie the game 1-1.
Trebor Vernon, the starter for Stuarts Draft, had settled down after the first not allowing a run until he got to the 6th inning. Drew Easter singled for the Bucks with one down in the inning. The Bucks then proceeded to load the bases as Cody Swisher was hit by a pitch and John Siciliano walked. Bryce Suters was up next and was retired on strikes. Just when Vernon looked to be in a better situation Cole Jenkins came to the plate and singled. All runners advanced station to station allowing for Easter to score and put the Bucks back on top 2-1.
The D-Backs went back to work in the bottom of the 6th and put their first runner aboard with an assist from Jenkins at third base who was not able to make a play on a ground ball allowing Chaz Harvey to reach. Harvey’s curtesy runner came in and was aggressive on the base paths and stole second base. Bob funk then delivered that same at bat with a RBI double to left field to score Harvey and tie the game up at 2-2.
The Bucks then had a chance in the 7th as Kevin Kirk doubled but was left stranded after a pitching change as the D-Backs went to Parker Heineman in relief of Vernon.
Stuarts Draft then went to work in the bottom half of the inning as the D-Backs loaded the bases up with no outs on three straight singles including two bunts that were not executed well by the Bucks as no one was covering first base on both. Cody Bartley came to the plate next and made great contact driving a ball to deep left field for a base hit down the line. Bush and Owens came into score putting the D-Backs out in front for the first time all night. They added one more as Funk added another RBI this time in the form of a single bringing Roberts to score.
Draft had another opportunity in the 8th as they loaded the bases with no outs but left all the runners out there in the same place after a fly out to second and Terrell Thompson grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Chandis Goff came into the game to try and close it out for the D-Backs and did although he did give up a rare walk to Eberly although he was stranded when the final out was recorded.
For Clover Hill they drop to 12-7 with two games left on the schedule. Blake Sipe (0-1) takes the loss for the Bucks in his first outing of the season. Sipe gave up 4 runs, 3 earned, in 4.0 IP. Drew Easter was the only Clover Hill player to record multiple hits on the game as he went 2 for 4 with two singles and a lone RBI. The Bucks will host Montezuma (11-8) next time out on Saturday July 24 in the RCBL Game of the Week on WSVA at 7:30PM.
For the D-Backs they pick up a hard-earned win behind three great performances on the mound by Trevor Vernon, Parker Heinemann, and Chandis Goff. “The pitching was really good tonight,” said manager Les Sandridge. “We didn’t know what we were going to get out of Vernon. He through hard and well at Broadway so we weren’t sure what we were going to get tonight,” Sandridge continued. Vernon went 6.1 innings only giving up 2 runs off of 5 hits and struck out 4 in one of his best outings of the year.
The Draft bats also came in clutch as they have most of the year as Bob Funk and Cody Bartley both had 2 RBIs for the D-Backs. Zach Roberts also added a RBI ground rule double.
The D-Backs (13-7) they are now in a position where they could possibly force a play off game for the RCBL pennant with New Market if the Shockers were to lose on Friday to the Cardinals and then lose on Saturday to the D-Backs. That will be the next matchup for Stuarts Draft on Saturday July 24 as they will travel to Rebel Field to take on the Shockers at 7:30 PM.
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