Two Diamondback Players Receive League Honors.
Ryan Cooper - Most Valuable PlayerJay Thompson - Rookie of the Year
D’Backs, Bucks meet in Game 7
By Robert Sisk
Published: August 21, 2009
It’s the game Rockingham County Baseball League fans have dreamed about — and the one that the teams dread. Tonight, the Clover Hill Bucks and Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks will meet at Buck Bowman Park in Game 7 of the RCBL Championship series.
“I was just thinking today, it has been the most stressful series I ever remember from a coaching standpoint,” said Bucks manager Mike Martin. “There is so much tension with it being so close every game, I feel emotionally shot afterwards.”
Four of the six games have been decided by one run, including Draft’s 5-4 come-from-behind 12-inning victory in Game 4. The Diamondbacks had a chance to clinch the series on Thursday, rallying to take the lead in the eighth but this time the Bucks came out on top to knot the series 3-3.
After taking a 3-1 lead in the series, Draft lost the next two games and will have to finish at Clover Hill’s historic and awkward field.
“The short backstop could impact us or them in a negative way,” Kiser said. “There are some real short areas, the left field line is real short. It’s a smaller park then ours and they are considered bigger hitters … but far as the fans and home field advantage, I don’t see that as a factor.”
One problem the Diamondbacks faced in Games 5 and 6 was the loss of shortstop and RCBL rookie of the year Jay Thompson. Thompson had to return to classes at Lenoir Community College this week in North Carolina and was unable to play, putting a hole in Draft’s solid infield. Thompson will be making the trip back to the Valley today and Kiser plans to have him and his bat back in the lineup. Thompson recorded 30 hits during the regular season with seven doubles.
“If Jay returns, and he will as long as traffic is OK, I will have all four infielders in their normal spots,” Kiser said. “The first three games they never made an error. They’ve been extremely effective, hopefully they do that one more game this year.”
The Bucks are also missing some names from the roster due to school obligations, notably four-game winner James Lucas who attends Clemson University in South Carolina.
“Still talking with a couple,” Martin said. “I know some would like to be there but just can’t.”
On Thursday, the Diamondbacks threw their ace Ryan Cooper trying to end the series at six and also pitched Jake Rule, Draft’s Game 1 winner, in relief. Kiser said that he plans to pitch Bandon Zollman tonight and Rule could also see action in the later innings. Zollman will have had four days rest since his last outing.
The Bucks are planning to throw John Sinclair and have a variety of options in relief. Several of the Bucks’ relief pitchers have yet to see action in the series. Sinclair had a 2.29 ERA during the regular season.
Martin and Kiser both said that this year’s championship series has been good for the RCBL and is generating a lot of interest from fans. In past seasons, the Bucks have been the dominant force in the league winning five out of the last six championships.
“This was the series people were dreaming about,” Kiser said. “We wanted it done in four, but the fans wanted this.”
“What we have been hearing in the county league meetings is some talk about there not being enough parity in the league and its not good when one team is dominate,” Martin said. “I would beg to differ. We see it all during the regular season, everyone has been measuring up against us and it has raised everyone’s game.”
Draft is mostly a young team. The franchise has only been in existence for about a decade. Five years ago the team was located in Fishersville and known as the Rangers before moving to its current home in Draft. In 2001 Fishersville won the league championship. The Bucks first season was in 1954.
“We got so close we could taste it,” Kiser said. “It was a disappointing afternoon [Thursday]. This will be an intense game.”
The first pitch in tonight’s game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
By Robert Sisk
Published: August 20, 2009
STUARTS DRAFT —
The Clover Hill Bucks just didn’t want the season to end. The Bucks trailed the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks 5-4 in the top of the ninth during Game 6 of the RCBL Championship series on Wednesday night in Stuarts Draft. Clover Hill scored two runs to take a 6-5 lead and, thanks to Drew Easter’s laser arm, held on to it to force a Game 7 on Friday night back at Buck Bowman Park. “Great ball game, a great battle but someone had to lose,” said Draft manager Tinker Kiser. In the bottom of the ninth, the Bucks had just finished rallying to take a 6-5 lead when Draft’s Jason Butterworth beat out an infield single and stole second. With two outs on the board, Ryan Cooper laced a deep single to left and Butterworth got the green light at third. Easter fielded the ball cleanly, and in one motion sent his throw back to Bucks catcher Dustin Bowman — Butterworth was dead in the water. “Honestly, fielding it, I was like ‘just don’t miss it,’ ” Easter said. The Clover Hill bench cleared to greet Easter as he trotted from left field and manager Mike Martin just tried to catch his breath. “I knew it would get there in time if it was on line,” Martin said. “It’s hard to keep from hyperventilating after a play like that to end the game.” In the first inning, Clover Hill took a two-run lead after Easter singled and Christian Simmer hit a booming home run. The Bucks built up the lead after Draft starter Cooper threw only three pitches. Draft later knotted the game at two with a two-run shot of its own. Zach Goodyear hit a dinger to bring in Ben Wise. The Bucks hit yet another two-run home run in the top of the sixth to gain back the lead, this time coming off of Chris Cofer’s bat. After Cooper scored in the bottom of the inning off of a Wes Dimitt double, Brandon Clark hit the game’s fourth two-run home run to give the D’backs a 5-4 lead. “It was just a dead battle,” Martin said. “It’s nice to win one of these one-run games against these guys.” In the top of the ninth, the Bucks took the lead for good, after Easter hit a double and scored when Simmers reached on an error. Simmers scored the eventual game winner on a Shane Banks single.
D’backs fall in Game 5
By Robert Sisk
Published: August 19, 2009
CLOVER HILL – The Clover Hill Bucks kept their championship hopes alive on Tuesday night against the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks.
The Bucks put together a five-run fourth inning and held off a late Diamondbacks’ rally to pick up an 8-4 win in Game 5 of the RCBL championship series. Draft leads the series 3-2 and will have another chance to win its first title in franchise history tonight at the Diamond Club in Stuarts Draft.
“Our mindset is we need to win one more,” said Bucks manager Mike Martin. “Every night from here on it has to be win one more.[We are] not looking forward to the second game, we just have to do what it takes and try to win tomorrow night.”
Draft manager Tinker Kiser chose to rest his ace Ryan Cooper on Tuesday at Buck
Bowman Park, instead throwing several arms that have seen little action this year.
“We were a little hurt on pitching tonight and we threw some guys that didn’t have a lot of innings this year, but I thought we did a pretty good job of hanging in there,” Kiser said.
Tim Brust started things off on the mound for the Diamondbacks, allowing three hits and one run in the first three innings of play.
In the bottom of the third, play was suspended for 30 minutes because of lightning in the area. In the top of the fourth play was suspended for 10 minutes after a fan was struck by a foul ball.
Brust’s night came to an abrupt end in the fourth when the Bucks scored five runs to take a 6-1 lead.
The game had been tied 1-1 before the Bucks’ bats woke.
In the visitors’ side of the fourth Cooper scored the Diamondbacks’ first run.
In the eighth, the Diamondbacks scored two runs to cut their deficit to four when Brandon Clark and Cooper both hit solo home runs.
The Bucks extended their lead to 8-3 in the bottom of the inning, but the Diamondbacks began to rally in the ninth.
Wes Harlow reached on an error and advanced on a Zach Goodyear walk. Lance Bragg scored Harlow with a single to make the score 8-4.
Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks lead Clover Hill 2-0 in championship series
Al Samuels • Sports Writer • August 14, 2009
STUARTS DRAFT — Jason Butterworth’s walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth Thursday night gave the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks a 2-1 win over three-time defending Rockingham County Baseball League champion Clover Hill, and also gave the Diamondbacks a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven championship series.
The blast ended a tremendous pitching duel between old Valley District rivals James Lucas of the Bucks and Ryan Cooper of the Diamondbacks. Lucas starred at Waynesboro in high school while Cooper helped get the Stuarts Draft Cougars to the state Group AA finals in 2004.
Cooper picked up the win with a complete-game nine-inning effort. He allowed one run on five hits while striking out 12 and walking one. Lucas, the hard-luck loser, allowed two runs on five hits in eight-plus innings. He struck out seven and walked two.
“I was looking for a fastball and that’s what I got,” Butterworth said. “It felt good but it got so high so quick coming off the bat I didn’t know whether it would go out or not. It was great when I saw him leap and it disappeared over the fence.”
“Pitching has really been the key,” added Diamondback manager Tinker Kiser. ”To hold these guys to two runs in two games is just tremendous. But they are a great team and we know we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
The game was scoreless until the Bucks batted in the fifth. Then catcher Dustin Bowman took a 2-0 pitch from Cooper deep over the center field fence for a solo homer to lead off the inning and give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
The D’backs scratched out a run in the seventh to tie the game. Cooper was safe on an infield single and Wes Dimitt walked to lead off the inning. Cooper was caught off second on a missed bunt attempt, but the throw to second sailed into center and Cooper ended up on third. Third baseman Wes Harlow then grounded into a 6-4-3 double play with Cooper racing home with the tying run to make it 1-1 after seven.
The Bucks had had a golden chance in the top of the seventh when former Stuarts Draft star Shane Banks walked and Aaron Lough bunted for a hit to put runners on first and second with no outs. But Cooper settled down and got Bowman to ground into a double play and retired the last batter on a comebacker to get out of the jam.
Cooper retired the last nine batters before Butterworth came up in the ninth and ended the game.
“I just tried to mix my pitches up and keep them off balance,” commented Cooper. “The last time I was against them I threw too many pitches at the same speed and they jumped on them. You got to really concentrate out there against that lineup because anybody in it can hurt you.”
The effort by Cooper follows a 2-1 win by his former teammate on the 2004 Cougars club, Jake Rule, who shut down the Bucks in Game 1.
Game 3 will be Saturday night in Clover Hill at 7:30 p.m.
CLOVER HILL 000 010 000 — 1 5 1.
STUARTS DRAFT 000 000 101 2 5 0.
Lucas and D. Bowman. Cooper and Kiser.
W — Cooper. L — Lucas. HR — D. Bowman (CH) 5th, none on; Butterworth (SD) 9th, none on.
By Robert Sisk
Published: August 13, 2009
STUARTS DRAFT — One pitch, one swing was all the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks needed to take a 2-0 lead in the Rockingham County Baseball League Championship series over the Clover Hill Bucks.
Jason Butterworth swung at the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the ninth, believing that it would be the best pitch he saw from Bucks pitcher James Lucas. His hunch was right and sent the fastball over the left-field fence giving the Diamondbacks a 2-1 win.
“The first pitch is usually the best pitch you are going to see,” Butterworth said. “I love swinging at the first pitch. I was looking for a first-pitch fastball and he got it up and in and I got a good swing on it. That’s a heck of a ballteam to come out with a 2-0 lead is huge, that’s huge.”
The game-winner was only Butterworth’s second home run in his RCBL career. He hit his first during the semifinal series against Elkton.
“He’s been hitting the ball with a lot of pop during batting practice and I’m like, ‘how’s that little man doing that,’ ” said Stuarts Draft manager Tinker Kiser. “I thought he got too much air on it but when it landed, that was the greatest feeling in the world.”
Before his last-inning triumph, Butterworth had been struggling at the plate, going 0-for-3.
“I will say that I let myself get down at the beginning of the game and I was telling myself in the field, ‘this is going to come down to a big at bat,’ ” he said.
Butterworth’s heroics complemented a strong outing by the Diamondbacks starter Ryan Cooper. Cooper went the distance and said he had more in his arm if needed. He struck out 11 batters while allowing five hits.
“That is the most daunting team you can pitch against and you have to be very, very, very careful,” Cooper said. “The last time I pitched them, I didn’t change speeds enough, so tonight my fastball wasn’t the same speed twice.”
Cooper had plenty of competition from Bucks starter James Lucas. Lucas also went the distance and allowed only four hits, including Butterworth’s walkoff. Lucas struck out eight batters while walking two.
“Two team that are so offensively minded, it’s kind of odd to have a pitcher’s duel two games in a row,” Cooper said. “When you are pitching against guys like [Justin] Wood and Lucas you can’t expect to hit too much.
The only run the Bucks managed to get across the plate was after Dustin Bowman hit a solo shot in the fifth. Bowman has scored the Bucks’ only two runs of the series, both off of solo home runs.
After Bowman’s homer, the Bucks held a 1-0 lead until the bottom of the seventh. Cooper reached first on an error and scored on a Wes Harlow slow roller in the infield.
Now with a 2-0 lead in the series, Kiser said he still isn’t relaxed about Draft’s chances and hopes the Bucks’ bats remain silent.
“I don’t feel comfortable at all,” he said. “They can run off four-in-a-row like nothing. You know they are going to wake up, you just hope it’s after the series.
On Saturday, the Bucks will have a shot to avoid falling behind by three games when Draft travels to Clover Hill. The series will return to Draft on Sunday. Drew Dobbins is slated to start on the mound for the Diamondbacks.
Draft slips by Clover Hill, takes 1-game lead
By Robert Sisk
Published: August 12, 2009
CLOVER HILL — Stingy defense and a strong outing by Jake Rule gave the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks all the room they needed to take an early lead in the RCBL Championship Series.
Draft squeaked by Clover Hill 2-1 to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. The finals continue tonight at Stuarts Draft. Rule pitched four hitless innings and allowed only two hits during his eight-inning stint on the mound. In the seventh he gave up Clover Hill’s only run of the game when Dustin Bowman ripped a shot over the fence. “Going up against a team like this, you have to mix it up a lot, so I was trying to keep them off balance,” Rule said. The former U.Va. player said that his defense gave him the confidence to pitch during the close game. “This is the first game since I pitched in the ACC that I’ve gotten butterflies before the game,” Rule said. “I knew it was going to be a close game those guys are good and they play a high level of baseball.” Both teams made several stellar defensive plays. In the first Draft right fielder Ben Wise made a diving catch at the wall to rob Christian Simmers of a certain double. In the fifth, the Bucks completed a unusual 7-6-3-2 double play after Draft’s Wes Dimitt tried to stretch out a double, only to get caught in a run down while Ryan Cooper attempted to sneak home. Jay Thompson did score on the odd play, putting Draft up 1-0. “It was an awesome ball game between both teams there were probably 12 web gems,” said Draft manager Tinker Kiser. “Anyone who saw this game wouldn’t have seen a better Major League game anywhere.” The Diamondbacks produced plenty of offense on Wednesday night, but couldn’t get runners across the plate. Draft finished the game with 10 hits. In the seventh Brandon Clark sealed the game for Draft, hitting a booming home run to left field. Kiser said that he doesn’t think the rest of the games in the series will be as low scoring.
“I don’t think there will be a lot of 2-1 games, but I hope there is. I like that,” he said.
Tonight the Bucks, who have won five of the last six RCBL championships, will have a shot at knotting up the series at the Diamond Club in Stuarts Draft. Cooper is slated to get the start on the mound for the Diamondbacks for tonight’s game. James Lucas will handle the pitching responsibilities for the Bucks.
By The News Virginian Staff
Published: August 11, 2009
The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks took home two RCBL honors, and both went to former area prep standouts. Ryan Cooper, a Stuarts Draft graduate, took home the league’s Most Valuable Player honors and Jay Thompson, who helped lead Waynesboro to back-to-back Group AA Final Four appearances, was named the league’s top rookie. Cooper spent the season splitting time between the mound and first base and finished the season with a 6-1 record and a 1.58 ERA. He recorded two saves with opposing teams hitting .256 against him. Cooper also led the team at the plate by hitting five home runs (a team high), driving in 25 runs and slapping 11 doubles — both team highs as well. Cooper was second on the team with a .414 batting average. He trailed only Thompson, who hit .469 in his first season playing in the league. Thompson drove in 17 runs on the year, with seven doubles and two home runs. Montezuma’s Alex Foltz was the league’s Pitcher of the Year and New Market skipper Smokey Veney was named the Manager of the Year. The Diamondbacks are still alive in postseason play, holding a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five semifinal against Elkton. Clover Hill, which beat Draft by one game for the regular-season crown, has already clinched a spot in the RCBL Championship series. One Win Away Posted 2009-08-08
Cooper Shuts Down Sox
By Dustin Dopirak
ELKTON - With every pitch Ryan Cooper threw in the third inning of Friday's game came a tortured, excruciating grunt that made spectators wonder not if he'd torn a muscle in his pitching arm, but which one. One pitch, a wild one that skipped about three feet short of the plate, seemed particularly frightening.
But there was no injury, the Stuarts Draft right-hander said, just a complete lack of gas. "I was a little bit fatigued tonight," Cooper said. "When that happens, I just start throwing slower and slower. I gotta get a lot of strikeouts, but you just get a lot of groundouts and that's what works for you half the time." And did it ever work. Even with arm soreness taking significant miles per hour of his fastball, the former Stuarts Draft High School star and Ferrum College player came through with a performance befitting his status as the recently crowned Rockingham County Baseball League MVP. He held No. 5 seed Elkton to just three hits in eight shutout innings while striking out five batters and going 2-for-5 with a two-run home run at the plate to lead No. 2 seed Draft to a 11-0 win and a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five RCBL semifinal series. It has a chance to sweep at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Stuarts Draft. "He was in complete control," Draft manager Tinker Kiser said of Cooper. "He was in command of all of his pitches. He did everything he was supposed to do and then some." Cooper actually didn't agree that he was in complete command - "I didn't even think I was locating that well," he said - but once he decided to take something off his fastball and use as many breaking pitches as possible, he certainly seemed to be. The side-armer is renowned for having movement on everything he throws, including wicked sliders and curveballs. Even without as much heat as usual, Elkton couldn't do anything against him. Cooper walked just two batters in the game and all three hits he allowed were singles. One of those was an infield hit. Of the 24 outs he got, 15 came on groundballs, and only one of the four flyball outs Elkton had left the infield. "He just used offspeed," Elkton manager Dave Loker said. "He lobbed it in there and we couldn't hit it. I don't think we hit but two balls out of the infield. He probably didn't throw 60 miles an hour, but he kept us off-balance the whole night. Whatever he was doing, we couldn't hit it." The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, had no problem taking advantage of Elkton right-hander Mark Arrington's exhaustion. After pitching two complete games in three days to will the Blue Sox past New Market in the RCBL quarterfinals, he admirably came back again on three days rest to try to thrust the Sox back into this series, but he simply didn't have the arm strength to hold another team down. "I was out of gas by the time I got to the third," Arrington said. "They hit the ball well. I made a handful of mistakes and they made me pay for every one of them." The first mistakes came in the second inning. After first baseman Drew Dobbins led off the frame with a ground-rule double to deep left-center field, Dimitt clobbered an 0-1 hanging curveball over the left-field wall to make it 2-0. Cooper reached on a one-out single in the third, and Dobbins followed by pounding a double to deep center field to score him. Dobbins took third on the throw home, then scored shortly after on a wild pitch. In the seventh, Cooper provided the knockout blow, hitting a 1-0 high fastball over the left field wall for a two-run homer. Arrington stayed in through the ninth, but by that time, he was so exhausted he could barely throw home, and was resorting to knuckleballs and eephus-pitch like curves. He walked home one run with the bases loaded, then grooved a fastball to Draft center fielder Lance Bragg, who crushed it over the right-field fence for a grand slam, accounting for the final tally. Arrington finished with 150 pitches, which runs his six-day total to an absurd 391. "Mark was dead," Loker said. "I wanted to pull him out, but he wanted to finish the game. He deserves that much. If he wants to finish it, let him finish it."
Stuarts Draft 022 000 205 - 11 13 2
Elkton 000 000 000 - 0 3 1
Cooper, Stevens (9) and Dimitt; Arrington and Wade. W-Cooper. L-Arrington. HR-SD: Dimitt, Cooper.
By The News Virginian Staff
Published: August 8, 2009
In Elkton, the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks took a 2-0 lead in the RCBL semifinals on Friday night, defeating the Elk-ton Blue Sox 11-0. Ryan Cooper earned the win, pitching eight innings while striking out six. Cooper only gave up three hits in the effort. Drew Dobbins was 3-for-4 with two doubles and Lance Bragg hit a grand slam in the ninth to seal the game for Draft. The Diamondbacks will have a chance to wrap up the series on Sunday at home.
August 8, 2009
Diamondbacks storm to 2-0 series lead
ELKTON — Stuarts Draft took a commanding 2-0 lead in their best-of-five Rockingham County Baseball League semifinal series Friday night as the Diamondbacks hammered the Elkton Blue Sox 11-0.
The Diamondbacks have outscored their opponent 26-1 in the first two games after winning Game 1 15-0 on Thursday night. Ryan Cooper, the league’s MVP, pitched eight strong inning for the victory. He allowed only three hits, while striking out six and walking three. Randall Stevens pitched the final frame. Draft took a 2-0 lead in the second and never looked back. Drew Dobbins doubled and Wes Dimitt drilled a two-run homer. The Diamondbacks led 6-0 going to the ninth before tacking on five more runs, highlighted by Lance Bragg’s grand slam. Dobbins finished with three hits, including two doubles, and drove in one run. Dimitt finished with three RBIs, while Cooper added two hits and two RBIs. Jay Thompson, the league’s rookie of the year, also contributed two hits. The Diamondbacks can complete the sweep 7:30 p.m. Sunday at home.
STUARTS DRAFT 022 000 205 — 11 13 2
ELKTON 000 000 000 — 0 3 1
Cooper, Stevens (9) and Dimitt. Arrington and Wade.
W — Cooper. L — Arrington. HR — Dimitt (SD) 2nd, one on; Bragg (SD) 9th, three on.
D'backs post win
July 27, 2009
Newsleader Staff Report
STUARTS DRAFT — In a Rockingham County Baseball League game played Saturday night, Stuarts Draft defeated Montezuma 10-5.
Lightning and rain shortened the game to seven innings.
The Diamondbacks wrapped up the contest early, scoring seven runs in the first inning, then adding three more in the second. Stuarts Draft sent eight men to the plate in the first before an out was recorded. Wes Harlow, who led the Stuarts Draft attack by going 4-for-4 with two doubles and a home run, had a RBI double in the uprising. In the second, he plated all the runs with a three-run homer to left-center. Ryan Cooper picked up the win, to improve his record to 6-1 on the season.
MONTEZUMA 000 050 0 — 5 6 2 STUARTS DRAFT 730 000 x — 10 10 2
Stover, Herring (2) and Snow. Cooper, Stevens (6) and Kiser, Dimitt (6).
W — Cooper. L — Stover. HR — Harlow (SD) 2nd, two on.
D’backs blank New Market
By The News Virginian Staff
Published: July 22, 2009
The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks are two games away from forcing a one-game playoff for the regular season RCBL title after defeating New Market 7-0 on Tuesday night.
Ryan Cooper was 4-for-4 with a three-run home run in the win. Cooper also collected four RBI. Milo Johnson hit one over the fence as well for two more runs. Draft has two games left in the regular season and is currently tied for first with Clover Hill. If both teams win out, a one-game playoff will be played. The Diamondbacks will travel to New Market on Thursday and will host Montezuma on Saturday. The New Market game will be played at Broadway High School
2 homers lead to big Draft win
By Dana Jones Correspondent
Published: July 16, 2009
STUARTS DRAFT – An early first-inning home run didn’t help Bridgewater as Stuarts Draft took a 10-3 victory over the Reds on Wednesday with the help of two home runs of its own.
The Reds got on the board early in the first with a home run from pitcher Tyler McFarland, but the Diamondbacks answered in their following at bat with two runs, one off a sacrifice hit from Jay Thompson scoring Brandon Zollman and the other from a Drew Dobbins RBI single to left field, bringing home Ryan Cooper.
The score stayed at 2-1 until the fourth inning where a wild throw from home to second base put the D’backs’ Rajah Jenkins back at home. A two-run RBI single up the middle from Thompson then put the score at 5-1 for Draft. “It was real important that we break back,” said Stuarts Draft coach Tinker Kiser. “The two runs in the bottom of the first were real big.” The Reds came out in the fifth inning to put two more tallies on the board off of a two-run RBI from Scott Hearn, putting the score at 5-3 with the D’backs barely hanging on to the lead.
“I would of liked to score some more runs early on,” Kiser said. “If they [Bridgewater] would of played ball behind McFarland’s pitching, we might not of gotten many runs at all.”
By the seventh-inning stretch, Draft was finally able to run away with the game. Thompson’s lead-off home run over the left field was all the D’backs needed to put a skip in their step.
Cooper came up after Thompson to gain a base hit off of a hard shot to left field. A throwing error followed by a walk then loaded the bases and sent Wes Harlow to the plate, who was quickly hit by a pitch—scoring Cooper. A wild pitch on Wes Dimitt’s at bat sent Jason Butterworth home, putting the score at 8-3.
Once the D’backs were on top, the Reds couldn’t climb out from under their hold.
Draft came out in the eighth inning to lead off with yet another home run, this one coming from Ben Wise. Butterworth then dug in and shot one out to right field, scoring the final run of the game.
“Those home runs were bonus runs for us,” Kiser said. “They [Thompson and Wise] both hit the ball real hard, they’re fun to watch.” Draft travels to Montezuma on Saturday, while Bridgewater faces Broadway on Sunday.
RCBL: Diamondbacks roll over Bridgewater Reds
Staff Report • July 16, 2009
STUARTS DRAFT — Stuarts Draft continued its roll through the Rockingham County Baseball League as the Diamondbacks routed the Bridgewater Reds 10-3 on Wednesday night at the Diamond Club.
Brandon Zollman pitched the first five innings for the victory. The Reds managed only five hits off two Stuarts Draft pitchers. Jay Thompson had two hits, including a solo homer, and drove in four runs. Zollman added three hits. Ben Wise also belted a solo homer. The Diamondbacks had 12 hits as a team. Stuarts Draft (20-3) have only five games left in the regular season. The Diamondbacks travel Saturday to Montezuma before returning home Sunday to host Clover Hill.
BRIDGEWATER 100 020 000 — 3 5 4
STUARTS DRAFT 200 300 32x — 10 12 1
McFarland, Hearn (6), Chernay (7) and Zirkle. Zollman, Kruithof (6) and Kiser, Dimitt (7).
W — Zollman. L — McFarland. HR — McFarland (B) 1st, none on; Thompson (SD) 7th, none on; Wise (SD) 8th, none on.
RCBL: Diamondbacks post another double-digit victory
Staff Report • July 15, 2009
SHENANDOAH — The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks gradually pulled away to post a 12-2 win over Shenandoah on Tuesday night in Rockingham County Baseball League action.
Randall Stevens went the distance for the win on a seven-hitter. He struck out eight and walked two batters, while improving to 3-1 on the season. Heading into the fifth inning, Stuarts Draft held a 3-1 lead. The Diamondbacks then solidified their margin in that inning on a two-run homer to left by Wes Harlow. Draft continued to pull away from there, scoring one more in the seventh, two in the eighth and four in the ninth with a bases-loaded triple by Jason Butterworth the key blow. For the game, Drew Dobbins was 3-for-4 with four RBIs and Tripp Kiser 3-for-5 with two RBIs. The Diamondbacks host Bridgewater tonight.
STUARTS DRAFT 021 020 124 — 12 13 1
SHENANDOAH 010 010 000 — 2 7 2
Stevens and Kiser. Hilbert, Samson (7) and Sheler.
W — Stevens. L —Hilbert. HR — Secrist (S) 2nd, none on; Harlow (SD) 5th, one on.
Cooper pitches 8 strong innings, adds a home run
By Josh Laprevotte / Correspondent
Published: July 13, 2009
STUARTS DRAFT — The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks took advantage of four fifth-inning errors and used a strong effort on the mound from Ryan Cooper to blow away the Elkton Blue Sox 11-1 on Sunday night.
The Diamondbacks broke the scoreless game in the bottom of the third. After a leadoff double by Drew Dobbins, a walk to Wes Harlow put runners on first and second with one down in the inning. Brandon Zollman ripped a single to load the bases. With one out, Ben Wise hit a deep sacrifice fly to left field, plating Dobbins from third for the game’s first run. Harlow was picked off second base to end the attack. Jay Thompson lead off the fourth with a single but was later stranded on a fielder’s choice. A broken bat double by Wes Dimitt scored Ryan Cooper from second and moved Jason Butterworth from first to third, but both Dimitt and Cooper were left stranded with the Diamondbacks up 2-0. The Diamondbacks finally broke away from their counterparts in the fifth inning on some bad defense by the Blue Sox. Three consecutive errors in the inning scored three runs and an RBI single by Dobbins plated Butterworth for the fourth run of the inning. The six-run lead was all Cooper needed. Cooper was lights out for Draft pitching seven shutout innings before giving up a run in the eighth. The Diamondbacks put the game to rest in the eighth inning. With a six-run lead Thompson hit a three-run homer over the left-field fence to give Draft a nine-run lead. Cooper followed with a home run making the game 11-1.
Red-hot Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks crush Bridgewater Reds
News Leader Staff Report • July 12, 2009
BRIDGEWATER — Stuarts Draft’s Drew Dobbins and Brandon Zollman hooked up for a four-hitter Saturday night as the heavy-hitting Diamondbacks buried the Bridgewater Reds 11-0 in a Rockingham County Baseball League game called after eight innings by the mercy rule.
Dobbins worked seven innings, allowing three hits, while striking out five and walking two. Zollman gave up a hit and walk in the final frame, but struck out the side. Rajah Jenkins led the offense with three hits, two RBIs and two runs scored. Jason Butterworth had two hits and two runs, while Wes Harlow added a pair of hits. The Diamondbacks had 13 hits as a team. Stuarts Draft (17-3) is back home tonight for a game against the Elkton Blue Sox.
STUARTS DRAFT 007 000 04 — 11 13 0
BRIDGEWATER 000 000 00 — 0 4 3
Dobbins, Zollman (8) and Dimitt. Chernay, Croy (5), Shifflett (8) and Shull, Zirkle (6).
W — Dobbns. L — Chernay. HR — none.
D’backs pick up 16th win of the year
By Dana Jones / Correspondent
Published: July 10, 2009
STUARTS DRAFT - A slow start for the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks turned into a hard finish thanks to a hard hit from Rajah Jenkins in the eighth inning to take a 13-3 win over Shenandoah on Thursday.
Despite the slow start in the first four innings, the D’backs managed a 6-0 lead, until the Indians’ Wes Sheler drove shot over the right-field fence for a two-run home run. The D’backs effort went downhill from there with a couple of mental mistakes on defense, coming from the infield. “Shenandoah’s pitcher made good pitches when he needed to,” said Stuarts Draft coach Tinker Kiser. “We had him in trouble all night, but couldn’t get a hit when we needed it.” An RBI from Randy Groves in the sixth scored Nathan Black, putting the score at 6-3. “We had a couple of errors made by the same player,” Kiser said. “When it finds you once, it’ll find you twice.” The D’backs came out in the eighth inning to put the game away for good. Jenkins led off with a single to left field, Ben Wise then got on base off of an Indian throwing error and a walk by Jay Thompson loaded the bases. Ryan Cooper then dug in and shot one out to left, bringing home Jenkins and Wise. A hard hit up the middle from Brandon Clark put Thompson in scoring position, but Lance Bragg’s hit to the Indians’ first baseman had Thompson out at home. “We hit some balls hard right at them,” Kiser said. “They came up with some good defense when they needed it.” With the bases loaded, Jason Butterworth stepped up to the plate and hit a hard liner to the outfield and cleared the bases, mainly due to the numerous throwing errors from Shenandoah. A walk from Ryan McClamroch had runners at the corners and Wes Harlow’s high flyer over the Indians’ left fielder’s head scored Butterworth. After the entire D’back line-up batted around, Jenkins came up to the plate for the second time in the eighth inning and hit a hard grounder, splitting the outfield, and scoring McClamroch to end the game with a slaughter rule. “This is just a lot of hard work that has paid off,” Jenkins said. “I’ve been struggling with hitting and I’m just trying to make a big finish with this league. The main thing is for me to try and get on base, with my speed.”
RCBL: Diamondbacks crush Broadway Bruins
News Leader Staff Report • July 8, 2009
BROADWAY — Stuarts Draft pounded out 13 hits Tuesday night as the Diamondbacks routed the Broadway Bruins 9-1 in Rockingham County Baseball League play.
A trio of Stuarts Draft pitchers held the Bruins to only five hits. Jake Rule notched the victory by pitching the first six innings. Offensively, Ryan Cooper and Wes Harlow led the assault with three hits apiece. Drew Dobbins had two hits, including a double and a two-run homer in the ninth inning. Jason Butterworth drove in three runs. The Diamondbacks (15-3) are back home Thursday for a visit from the Shenandoah Indians.
STUARTS DRAFT 000 030 402 — 9 13 1
BROADWAY 000 001 000 — 1 5 2
Rule, Cooper (7), Harlow (9) and Kiser. Hendrickson, Hodges (6), Orndorff (8), Miller (9) and Barnes.
W — Rule. L — Hendrickson. HR — Dobbins (SD) 9th, one on.
RCBL: Diamondbacks crush Elkton Blue Sox
Staff Report • July 3, 2009
STUARTS DRAFT — Stuarts Draft pounded out 18 hits Thursday night as the Diamondbacks crushed the Elkton Blue Sox 15-0 in a Rockingham County Baseball League game called in the seventh inning by the mercy rule.
The Diamondbacks scored six runs in the second inning and five more in the third to quickly turn the game into a rout. Josh Ellwood led the hitting parade with a 3-for-5 effort, including a solo and two-run homers. He drove in three runs and scored three times. Brandon Clark had two hits, including a solo blast, and four RBIs, while Jason Butterworth had four hits, three RBIs and three runs. Brandon Zollman added three hits, three runs scored and one RBI. Zollman also notched the victory on the mound with four innings of work. He allowed only one hit, while striking out seven and walking one. The Blue Sox managed only four hits off a trio of Diamondback hurlers.
The Diamondbacks (14-3) don’t play again until Tuesday with a road game at Broadway.
ELKTON 000 000 0 — 0 4 0
STUARTS DRAFT 065 112 x — 15 18 1
RCBL: D'backs drub Shockers
Staff Report • July 2, 2009
D'backs drub Shockers
NEW MARKET — Stuarts Draft defeated the New Market Shockers 11-4 on Tuesday night in a Rockingham County Baseball League contest.
Drew Dobbins hurled the victory to improve to 4-0 on the season. In six innings, he gave up three runs on five hits. For Stuarts Draft, Jay Thompson was 2-for-4, both singles, while Wes Harlow was 2-for-5 including a triple. Jason Butterworth was 2-for-3 with two runs batted in. Meanwhile Dobbins aided his own cause with a hit and three RBIs. All told, the Diamondbacks banged out 12 hits in improving to 13-3 on the season. Stuarts Draft blew the game open with two runs in the first inning, and six more in the third.
STUARTS DRAFT 206 002 010 — 11 12 1 NEW MARKET 001 011 010 — 4 6 2
Dobbins, Harlow (7), Gilbert (8). Wise (9) and Kiser.
RCBL: Dimitt’s homer all D’Backs need in win
By The News Virginian Staff Published: June 25, 2009
In Shenandoah, Tim Brust pitched all seven innings, struck out seven and held the Indians to three hits, and Wes Dimitt provided all the firepower the Diamondbacks would need with a two-run homer as Stuarts Draft picked up its 11th victory of the season, beating Shenandoah 10-0 on Wednesday in Rockingham County Baseball League action.
Jay Thompson went 3 for 3 with four runs scored, Ben Wise added two RBI and Ryan Cooper went 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI. The Diamondbacks are back in action tonight, heading up to Bridgewater to take on the Reds.
RCBL: Thompson keys D’backs’ win
By The News Virginian Staff Published: June 22, 2009 In Stuarts Draft, Waynesboro graduate Drew Dobbins struck out three and threw six-hit ball over seven innings, and fellow former Little Giant Jay Thompson gave him all the runs he would need with a two-out, two-run double as the Diamondbacks beat Broadway, 4-1, on Sunday to pick up their 10th win of the Rockingham County Baseball League season. Brandon Zollman added a 2-for-3 night with two doubles, a run scored and an RBI and Randall Stevens picked up the two-inning save — his second on the year. The D’backs head up to Shenandoah on Wednesday.
RCBL: Thompson’s 2 RBI lift Draft
By Derek McCormick Correspondent Published: June 19, 2009
STUARTS DRAFT – The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks held on to their place at the top of the Rockingham County Baseball League by beating the Shenandoah Indians by a score of 4-2.
The Diamondbacks started the game off strong as lead-off batter Brandon Zollman, who was 2-for-4 on the night, singled and then made it to second when the Indians’ catcher dropped a pitch. Zollman scored off a hit by the shortstop Jay Thompson. Another error by the Indian defense brought Thompson across the plate to give the D’backs an early 2-0 lead. The Indians knotted the game up in the second when a wild pitch by Zollman advanced runners Chris Hilbert and John Morris. Both later scored on a Raymond Smith single. The Diamondback pitchers did their part Thursday night, striking out 13 players over the course of the game. Together with a tough infield the Indians were held to only five hits. A dropped ball by the second baseman put Adam Gilbert on first. Gilbert was put on second after a sacrifice bunt and was sent home by a Zollman for the eventual game-winning run. Zollman, who struck out seven Indians, scored again in the fifth when Thompson hit his second RBI of the night. Indian pitcher David Comer pitched the entire game, striking out five and walking none. The Diamondback are currently in a chase with Montezuma for sole ownership of the RCBL’s top spot. The two teams will meet on Saturday at Montezuma. The Braves defeated the D’backs in their first meeting 6-5 on May 31.
Drew Dobbins sparks Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks
Staff Report • June 15, 2009
ELKTON — Stuarts Draft’s Drew Dobbins broke a 3-all deadlock with a solo homer in the eighth inning Sunday night as the Diamondbacks overcame the Elkton Blue Sox in Rockingham County Baseball League action.
Dobbins also stroked a insurance run-scoring double in the ninth. He finished 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and the game-changing home run. Ryan Cooper, who notched the win with two innings of relief, had four hits, including two doubles, one RBI and one run scored. Brandon Zollman added three hits, with one double, one RBI and one run scored. Draft pounded out 18 hits on the night. A trio of Diamondback pitchers limited the Blue Sox to four hits. The Diamondbacks (7-2) have a home-and-home series with Shenandoah on Wednesday and Thursday. They are on the road Wednesday and have a makeup game at the Diamond Club on Thursday against the Indians.
STUARTS DRAFT 001 011 011 — 5 18 3
ELKTON 010 000 200 — 3 4 1
Brust, Elwood (7), Cooper (8) and Kiser. Arrington, Honaker (8) and Stokely.
W — Cooper. L — Arrington. HR — Dobbins (SD) 8th, none on.
RCBL: Draft 2-hits Broadway
By The News Virginian Staff
Published: June 10, 2009
In Broadway, the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks held on to their lead in the Rockingham County Baseball League standings on Tuesday, defeating Broadway 2-0. Drew Dobbins (2-0) pitched seven innings and allowed Broadway’s only two hits of the game. Dobbins also struck out four batters. Zachary Goodyear was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Ryan Cooper drove in the other Draft run with a double. The Diamondbacks (6-2) will return to the Diamond Club in Stuarts Draft on Saturday, hosting last-place Bridgewater.
Staff Report • June 7, 2009
Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks pound Bridgewater Reds
Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks shut down New Market
STUARTS DRAFT — Stuarts Draft's Ryan Cooper and Drew Dobbins combined for a three-hit shutout Saturday night as the Diamondbacks blanked the New Market Shockers 5-0 in Rockingham County Baseball League play at the Diamond Club.
Cooper worked the first seven innings, allowing New Market only three hits. He struck out 10 and walked none. The Diamondbacks scored all the runs they needed with a pair in the third inning. They capped the scoring with a three-spot in the seventh. Ben Wise paced the offense with two hits and two RBIs, while Jay Thompson added two hits and one RBI. Wes Harlow also had two hits as the Diamondbacks had 11 for the game. Jason Butterworth stroked a run-scoring triple. Stuarts Draft (5-2) hits the road Tuesday at Broadway. NEW MARKET 000 000 000 — 0 3 1 STUARTS DRAFT 002 000 30x — 5 11 1
Messick, Vallen (7) and Foley. Cooper, Dobbins (8) and Butterworth.
W — Cooper. L — Messick. HR — none.
Staff Report • May 31, 2009
Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks remain unbeaten
ELKTON — Stuarts Draft's Trip Kiser belted a three-run homer and Drew Dobbins pitched six strong innings Saturday night as the Diamondbacks remained unbeaten with a 6-0 victory over the Elkton Blue Sox in Rockingham County Baseball League play.
Dobbins scattered five hits while striking out two and walking one. A trio of Diamondback hurlers allowed only two hits over the final three innings.
The Diamondbacks got all the runs they needed with a four-run outburst in the first inning, highlighted by Kiser's three-run blast.
Wes Dimitt added two hits and two RBIs for the winners.
Stuarts Draft (4-0) is home tonight at the Diamond Club for a game against the Montezuma Braves.
STUARTS DRAFT 400 010 100 — 6 7 0
ELKTON 000 000 000 — 0 7 0
Dobbins, Ellwood (7), Zollman (8), Cooper (9) and Dimitt. Kuehle, Dean (7), Honaker (8), Craun (9) and Banglesdorf.
Staff Report • May 25, 2009
STUARTS DRAFT — Stuarts Draft pounded out 13 hits Sunday night as the Diamondbacks routed the Bridgewater Reds 12-3 in Rockingham County Baseball League play.
The Reds took a 1-0 lead in the first inning off Stuarts Draft starter Tim Brust, who picked up the win by going five innings. However, the Diamondbacks took the lead for good with a four-run fourth, highlighted by a three-run homer by Zach Goodyear.
The Diamondbacks added four more runs in the seventh and eighth innings to blow the game open.
Goodyear paced the winners with three hits and four RBIs. Brandon Zollman, who pitched the final four innings for the save, also had three hits along with two RBIs. Ryan Cooper had a pair of doubles and two RBIs.
Stuarts Draft (2-0) is home again Thursday at the Diamond Club for a game against Broadway.
BRIDGEWATER 100 010 100 — 3 9 5
STUARTS DRAFT 000 400 44x — 12 13 3
Frazier, Chernay (7), Krech (7), Hearn (8) and Martin. Brust, Zollman (6) and Dimitt.
W — Brust. L — Frazier. SV — Zollman. HR — Goodyear (SD) 4th, two on.
Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks win season opener
Staff Report • May 24, 2009
CLOVER HILL — The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks began their Rockingham County Baseball League season on the road Friday night with a 3-2 victory over the Clover Hill Bucks, last year's defending champion.
The Bucks defeated Stuarts Draft in the championship series last year.
Clover Hill took the lead in the first inning on a two-run single by Shane Banks.
Stuarts Draft countered with single runs in the fifth and sixth for a 2-all deadlock.
With two outs in the seventh, Jason Butterworth doubled to the fence in right-center and Ben Wise capped a 2-for-4 night at the plate by singling sharply to left-center, plating Butterworth with the game-winner.
The Diamondbacks have their home opener 7:30 p.m. tonight, hosting Bridgewater at the Diamond Club.
STUARTS DRAFT 000 011 100 — 3 7 0
CLOVER HILL 200 000 000 — 2 7 2
Dobbins, Stevens (4), Cooper (7) and Kiser. Wood, Rohrbaugh (7) and D.Bowman.
W — Stevens (1-0). L — Rohrbaugh (0-1). SV — Cooper (1). HR — none.
D'backs begin season with hopes of winning title
Stuarts Draft faces defending champions on Friday in season opener
By Shaun T. Cox/staff • firstname.lastname@example.org • May 21, 2009
STUARTS DRAFT — Friday marks the beginning of another Rockingham County Baseball League season for Stuarts Draft, last year's league runner-up to Clover Hill, who the Diamondbacks will meet on the road in the season opener.
The D'backs, who will host his year's all-star game, return almost the entire roster from last season's 25-3 squad, and added a couple of new local faces.
"I don't think we're going to lose a thing from last year," owner/manager Tinker Kiser said. "We have the same roster and we added Jake Rule, from Stuarts Draft High School who now plays for (the University of Virginia), and Justin Key, a Wilson Memorial graduate, and Adam Kruithof, from Western Albemarle. Pretty much everybody came back and we added four new players."
Kiser said he hopes the team will come together as well as it did last year.
"The guys last year really gelled as a unit, and they genuinely liked each other," he said. "That's the most critical thing. You have to have some talent, but if the guys enjoy playing together and play as a team, that's going to be critical to the kind of season we have."
The schedule includes between three and four games a week, with several pitchers getting a shot to start. The rotation will be in flux.
Drew Dobbins, Tim Brust, Ryan Cooper, Mike Moles and Brandon Zollman are projected as the top five starters.
"We'll probably use seven or eight starters this year, with five guys on the rotation," Kiser said. "The week they aren't starting, they'll be relievers. We used five last year, and we'll use five or six on a regular basis. And I've got some guys who have been relievers in college who said they would love to start a game or two."
In the infield, Milo Johnson and Jason Butterworth return up the middle at shortstop and second base, respectively. Wes Harlow and Zach Goodyear will primarily man the hot corner at third, and Ryan Cooper, Wes Bennett and Zachary Marion will platoon at first.
The lineup also will be influx during the early part of the season.
"It's rained so much we've had five or six practices rained out, and most of the guys are just now getting in from college," Kiser said of his early-season plug-and-play approach with the lineup. "We'll play a lot of players early, and the guys will separate themselves."
Zollman, last year's league MVP who batted better than .400, will key what's expected to be a potent offense at the top of the order.
"We had eight or nine guys who hit over .350 last year in a league with an average around .320, and we've got guys at every position that hit over .300 last year," Kiser said. "We've got some pretty big old boys, and if we can keep them healthy, we'll be in the top two or three teams in home runs and doubles."
Kiser said he also has the speed to do damage on the base paths.
"We've got some pretty good speed to work with," he said, "so we can manufacture some runs and play the small ball game."
Kiser said he expects the league to be more balanced from top to bottom this year.
"We thought we were the best team last year, we just didn't prove it," he said. "So we would like to get a shot at (the championship). But I'm not any where near thinking that it will just be us and Clover Hill.
"There are teams out there that have improved," he continued. "I think with the extra games (each week) and the improvements the other teams have made, I think it's quite probable that the No. 1 team will end up with 20 to 22 wins. I don't think anybody will run off 25 this year."