ELKTON - Elkton’s Kris Lalk has been a dominant pitcher all season long for the Blue Sox and currently leads the RCBL in strikeouts. Sunday night’s performance was on a different level, though, as Lalk struck out 16 batters on the way to earning a 6-1 win over New Market. The Shockers visited Elkton in a battle for first place in the Eastern Division at Stonewall Memorial Park. The 6’7” Lalk took the mound to face one of the hottest offenses in the league and quickly set the tone for Sunday’s game. “I was just going to work,” Lalk said about his performance. “Just trying to hit my spots and they were aggressive swingers so that kind of helped me out. I liked the umpiring. They called the outside corners so I kept hitting it.” Lalk struck out two batters in the top of the first before striking out the side in the second and third innings. He struck out at least two batters in six of his eight innings on Sunday night. The Colorado native allowed just one run on six hits and set a new season-high for strikeouts in a single game. Lalk now has 65 strikeouts on the season, 25 more than the next-leading pitcher in the league. The first-year pitcher earned his first win of the season as the Blue Sox were able to back their starter with six runs. Elkton scored one run each in the fourth and sixth innings before putting the game away with a four-run eighth inning. Catcher Cameron Stanley started the scoring with a solo home run to right-centerfield in the bottom of the fourth to put Elkton on top 1-0. Stanley finished the night 1-for-3 with two RBIs as he drove in Lee Carneal on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth. JJ Loker drove in three runs to start Elkton’s eighth-inning rally, bringing home Chris Smith, Lee Carneal and Connor Lilley with an RBI double. Loker came around to score on a passed ball later in the inning. With the win, Elkton improves to 7-9 and is tied with Grottoes for first place in the Eastern Division. New Market falls to 7-10, half a game behind the Cardinals and Blue Sox. Elkton has now won four of its last six games and two in a row. The Blue Sox have surged recently after a rough start to the season, but Lalk says they have their work cut out for them if they want to keep the momentum going. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Lalk said. “We’ve still got a lot of games coming up and if we have a chance we’re going to have to really bear down and get the offense because pitching is going to be tough down the stretch.” The Blue Sox’ next matchup comes Tuesday night as they travel to Bridgewater. It will be the first matchup between the teams, who have been rained out twice this season. Tuesday’s game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.
In other RCBL news:
Grottoes 11, Bridgewater 10
GROTTOES - The Cardinals picked up a win over the Bridgewater Reds to stay on top of the Eastern Division standings.
Bridgewater led 10-4 late in the game, but a three-run eighth and a four-run ninth gave Grottoes the win.
Ty Lam pitched the final 3.1 innings, giving up two runs on three hits. Keegan Woolford finished the night 4-for-5 with four runs scored and two RBIs. Woolford hit his league-leading sixth home run of the season in the sixth inning.
Grottoes improves to 8-10 on the season and will be back in action Tuesday night at Broadway.