Diamondbacks 2013 RCBL Champs
2013 Season
Click to view
Seating at Diamond Club
Mike Burtner8:37am May 25
Former Major League pitcher Tom Acker was on hand at the Diamond Club for the first pitch ceremony last night. Acker played with the Cincinnati Reds from 1956 to 1959 where he was a teammate of Hall of Famer Frank Robinson. Acker had a 2.37 ERA in 83 innings in 1956 and racked up 10 wins in the 1957. Acker now resides in Stuarts Draft.

2013 Regular Season & Tournament Champions
Congratulations to Derek Shifflett - Tournament MVP

Diamondbacks Place 7 on RCBL All Star Team
Dylan Horne   Wes Dimmit  Ryan Cooper   Jay Thompson
Josh Wenger  Elliott Erkel   Derek Shifflett

Back to back titles for Diamondbacks
Posted on August 13, 2013
   by Brian M Carlton News Virginian

For the second straight year, the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks wear the crowns of the Rockingham County Baseball League. The Diamondbacks beat Clover Hill 7-to-5 in the fifth game of the championship series, after a late inning rally.

Draft took the lead early, as Ryan Cooper brought home Derek Shifflett with an RBI single. Clover Hill answered back in the top of the third inning, as Shane Banks hit a bloop single to right field. The two teams would go back and forth all night.

Draft had entered the game with several injured players. Closer Josh Wenger went out early in the championship series with an injury to his right arm. Shifflett also was questionable for Tuesday’s game, thanks to an injury suffered Sunday night. Other players took up the challenge however and stepped up.

One of those was Brandon Clark, who put Draft back in front thanks to a 2-RBI home run in the bottom of the 3rd inning. Clover Hill responded thanks to a fielder’s choice in the 5th inning, tying things up at 3-to-3. The very next inning, Clover Hill took their first lead of the game, thanks to a 2-RBI home run by Jason Beale.

That’s how the score would stay until the bottom of the 7th inning. Draft started things off with back to back singles from Ryan Coale and Shifflett, before Clark also got on base. With bases loaded and two outs, Donovan Huffer stepped up and drove the ball behind the Bucks’ outfield, bringing all three runs home and giving Draft a 6-to-5 lead.

Wes Dimitt would seal the deal one inning later, making it 7-to-5 with a solo home run.

Draft may have to win without ace
Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 7:00 am
by Roger C Gonzalez News Virginian

To say the 2013 baseball season for area teams has been extraordinary successful wouldn’t be doing it justice.

Sit back and digest this: Three area squads have taken top honors this season with Wilson Memorial and Riverheads earning state titles in baseball, while the Waynesboro Generals were crowned Valley Baseball League champs in the summer.

Tonight, another team has an opportunity to convert the trio of champions into a quartet.

The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks host Clover Hill in game five of the Rockingham County Baseball League championship. The game is set for 7:30 p.m. and will take place at the Diamond Club in Draft.

The Diamondbacks are looking to earn consecutive RCBL titles and should do just that thanks to their pitching dominance at home and their game four loss, which brought some positives. But there is one huge question mark entering the game.

Will Shifflett be able to pitch?

Derek Shifflett, the star hurler and a graduate of Fort Defiance, hurt his thumb on his throwing hand while batting in Sunday night’s game. Coach Tinker Kiser said on Monday that the thumb was really swollen and wasn't sure if his ace would pitch tonight. If he is healthy, he will start.

Shifflett is 10-0 with a 1.16 ERA entering tonight.

“I got jammed up on a pitch,” Shifflett said on Monday afternoon. “When it came and hit the inside of the bat, [the pain] came through my thumb. I don’t think the ball hit my hand. It swelled up immediately. I couldn't bend it.”

Shifflett went back into the field and couldn't throw the ball. He decided to take himself out of the game.

“It is still pretty swollen,” he said. “I can bend it, unlike [Sunday].”

But, as to whether he plays tonight remains to be seen. Shifflett said it will be a game time decision. When he tried to throw the ball on Sunday, it sent pain straight through his arm and as of Monday afternoon, he had just been resting and icing it.

“We are going to hope for it,” Shifflett said about playing.

Add the loss of closer Josh Wenger, and the team is facing a tough task to win. But, with the support of the home fans, the team is still confident.

“We are not concerned,” he said. “It is definitely a slap on the wrist. Josh is one of the best ball players I ever played with. Playing without him is definitely going to be different, but we are confident.”

Kiser said if Shifflett isn't on the mound, the ball will be in the hands of Ryan Fitzgerald, who has just over 14 innings pitched this season with a 2.45 ERA.

A loss that could help?

Despite losing game four on Sunday and the injuries, the confidence is there. As crazy as it may sound, some good came out of Sunday’s loss.

Game four was not pretty for the D’backs as they were once down 12-1. With morale low on the bench and a game five looking inevitable, Kiser had a thought.

“I think it is part of what we talked about on the bench” he said. “We are down, but lets work on our hitting and build on our hitting for the next game.”

As a result, the team registered a nine-run inning to pull within two runs. That now lets the team know that at any point, they can produce an offensive explosion and get back or get ahead.

Shifflett said it just boosted the team’s confidence.

“Our team is stacked with hitters,” he said. “They have always been reliable. When you put them together, it can lead to [a] huge inning.”


Clover Hill has been the king of the league for the majority of the past decade, but a new era has been established in Draft. A win tonight means there is a new face of the RCBL, the face of a venomous creature.

A lot will rely on whether Shifflett is good to go. Don’t forget that he is also a star batter with a .333 batting average.

But, he said that he couldn't put a percentage on his health entering the contest, which is a cause for concern. If Shifflett was feeling prepared and seemed likely to pitch, he probably would have said it.

If he does play and is healthy, it’s safe to say that the team’s chance of winning a championship trophy is high.

If he is out, it will be a whole other ball game.

Will the championship trophy rest in Augusta County for another year?

The outcome, the happiness one team experiences and the sadness the other will endure, could all come down to one finger.

D’backs one win away from glory
Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013 7:30 am
BY ROGER GONZALEZ  - News Virginian

STUARTS DRAFT -- A four-hit gem by Chris Henkel has the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks just one game away from repeating as Rockingham County Baseball League champions.

Henkel pitched a complete game, allowing one run to go with six strikeouts as Stuarts Draft downed Clover Hill 2-1 in game three of the championship series Saturday night.

The hosts got on the board in the bottom of the second inning as Derek Shifflett hit a two-out RBI single that went off the shortstop's glove to score Ryan Coale for the 1-0 lead.

The Bucks would swiftly respond in the top of the third inning as Ian Eberly jacked a homerun to right off Henkel to level the score.

The D’backs were able to regain the advantage in the bottom of the inning as a single by Brandon Clark brought Wes Dimmit home.

The stellar pitching continued until the end of the game, where Henkel showed his stamina, closing the door for the four-hit victory.

Stuarts Draft had 13 hits in the game and left 11 runners on base.

The visiting pitcher, Joseph Lucas, went five innings, giving up both runs but was boosted by his relief men who kept the team in the game.

Clark went 2-for-3 with an RBI on the night. Coale went 3-for-4 with a run scored.

Game four is at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Clover Hill. If a fifth game is needed, it will be on Tuesday at Draft at 7:30 p.m.

Diamondbacks struggle in game two
Posted on August 8, 2013
   by Brian M Carlton News Virginian

The weather just wouldn’t play along for Stuarts Draft on Thursday. Rain showers plagued both teams in the early innings, leading to a 25 minute rain delay at one point. By the end of the game, Clover Hill took a 7-5 win in game two of the Rockingham County Baseball League Championship Series.

Ryan Cooper started things off in the first inning with a solo home run, giving Draft the early lead. That wouldn’t last, as the Bucks responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning. Soon after, the teams stepped away in a rain delay, as the field became so wet that Diamondbacks starter Dylan Horne had a hard time maintaining his footing.

The score would remain tied until the top of the 4th inning, when Donovan Huffer drilled a double into the gap, scoring three runs for Draft, to take a 4-1 lead. Clover Hill responded in the bottom of the inning, however, ending Horne’s night early as they scored 6 runs off Horne and his replacement, TJ Frazier, to go up 7-4. Four of those runs came off a grand slam by Shane Banks.

Jay Thompson brought Draft closer in the top of the 5th inning, delivering a solo shot home run to make it 7-5. But that’s where the score would stay.

Starts Draft will have to play the rest of the season without their starting shortstop, as Josh Wenger is out for the year. Wenger was pulled from Wednesday night’s game after injuring his right arm on a throw. That right arm injury was severe enough for the team to shut him down.

Game three in the best-of-five series takes place Saturday night at the Diamond Club in Stuarts Draft.  The first pitch is set for 7:30 p.m.

Diamondbacks take game one
Posted on August 7, 2013
   by Roger C Gonzalez News Virginian

The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks are just two wins away from repeating as Rockingham County Baseball League champions.

In game one of their best-of-five championship series against Clover Hill Wednesday night, the D'backs rode another strong start from Derek Shifflett in a 5-1 victory. The star hurler tossed a complete game, giving up just four hits and one run to go with six strikeouts. At the plate, he went 2-for-4 with
a run and two RBI.

"The team had a good outing," Shifflett said after the game. "It went pretty much as planned. We know we are a good baseball team, and we always hit the ball. We went out there with confidence."

The Diamondbacks opened up the scoring in a two-run third inning, where Shifflett recorded an RBI single with two men on before Jay Thompson hit a sac fly to score the second. Three more runs came in the seventh, as Donovan Huffer singled to lead off before being brought home by a Shifflett double. Thompson also doubled to score Shifflett just prior to being singled in by Ryan Cooper.

Huffer went 2-for-4 on the night. Coming off a game where he hit for the first cycle in Diamondbacks history, Thompson went 1-for-3 with one run and two RBI.

The only score for Clover Hill came in the fifth inning, when Shifflett gave up a solo home run to Jason Beale. Stuarts Draft recorded eight hits on the night.

Game two is tonight at Clover Hill at 7:30 p.m.

"It's always great to win the first one," Shifflett said. "It makes every game after that that much easier.”

NOTE: Shortstop Josh Wenger injured his arm while attempting to turn a double play. The team is hopeful he can play tonight but is prepared to play without him.

Diamondbacks sweep semi-finals
Posted: Sunday, August 4, 2013 10:36 pm
by Brian M Carlton News Virginian

And then there were two. For the second straight year, the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks will play for the Rockingham County League championship, after beating the Montezuma Braves 11-1 Sunday to sweep their semi-final series.

Every member of the team had their moment to shine, but Jay Thompson took the opportunity to get into the record books. Thompson hit for the cycle, with a single, double, triple and finishing it off with a two run homer in the 8th inning. According to team officials, Thompson’s cycle was the first one in Diamondbacks history.

“Everybody kept reminding me in that inning, that I needed it for the cycle,” Thompson said of the home run. “I was definitely trying to hit it out. I got a good pitch.”

Overall, Thompson was 4-for-5 on the night, with 6 RBIs. He also scored two of the team’s runs. Wes Dimitt and Elliot Erkel also had big nights at the plate for Stuarts Draft. Dimitt went 2-for-4 on the night, with a solo home run in the 7th inning. Erkel also went 2-for-4 at the plate, following Dimitt’s home run with one of his own, a two-run shot that also brought home Brandon Clark.

On the mound, Diamondbacks starter Chris Henkel was in control all night. He went 7 innings, giving up no runs off 3 hits, while striking out 9. Dylan Horne relieved Henkel in the 8th inning, walking Josh Martin and then throwing a wild pitch that helped Martin score Montezuma’s only run of the night. He settled down to finish out the inning, before turning things over to TJ Frazier for the 9th inning. Frazier set the Braves players down in order to close things out.

“We’re feeling pretty good right now,” Thompson said. “Now it’s time to defend our title. We know whoever’s coming out of the other series is gonna put up a battle.”

It’s unclear when that championship series will actually start, as the other semi-final is still going on between Clover Hill and Luray. Both teams had Sunday night off, with Clover Hill holding a 2-0 series lead. If Clover Hill wins tonight, then the Bucks and Diamondbacks will play on Wednesday at the Diamond Club. If Luray wins, then it would be Thursday before the series starts.  

Diamondbacks continue winning streak
Posted: Friday, August 2, 2013 11:19 pm
   by Brian M Carlton News Virginian

It took extra innings this time, but the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks continued their winning ways Friday night, beating the Montezuma Braves 10-7. Tied up at 7-7 going into the 10th inning, Draft quickly collected two outs to start things off. Then shortstop Derek Shifflet singled, followed by third baseman Jay Thompson.

With the two players on base, Ryan Cooper stepped up to the plate and hit into what appeared to be an inning ending groundout. However an error by the Montezuma shortstop put Cooper on first, as Shifflet raced home to take the 8-7 lead.

The next batter, Wes Dimitt, hit a double that drove in two more runs, putting Draft up 10-7 in what would be the final score of the game.

Josh Wenger gets the win for the Diamondbacks, after pitching a near perfect final two innings. Wenger struck out 3 and walked 1, while giving up no hits and no runs.

Dimitt finished 4-for-6 on the night, with 4 RBIs. He also scored twice. Thompson and Shifflet were both 2-for-5, while Wenger went 2-for-4 on the evening.

On the other side, Montezuma starter Beau Banglesdaf nearly pitched the entire 10 innings. He went 9 2/3 for the Braves, giving up all 10 runs off 14 hits.  The Braves brought in Jono Brooks for the final third of the 10th inning. Brooks was also 3-for-5 on the night at the plate, as he played shortstop before switching over to pitch the final part of the game.

Diamondbacks sweep Bruins, advance in playoff
Posted on July 30, 2013
by Brian M Carlton News Virginian

The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks brought out the brooms Tuesday night, beating Broadway 13-0 in a slaughter rule shortened game. With the win, Draft sweeps the Bruins 2-0 in their best of three series, advancing to the second round of the Rockingham County League playoffs.

Diamondback pitchers put on a clinic, combining to allow just one hit over seven innings on the night. Dylan Horne started for Stuarts Draft and picks up the win. Horne went 5 innings, striking out 4 while giving up 2 walks. Seth Berry came in to relieve Horne in the 6th inning and then Josh Wenger finished things out in the 7th inning.

At least seven of the Draft players drove in one run on the night, starting with Trevor Lam’s two-run single in the 2nd inning. Lam finished 2-for-4 on the night, with 3 RBIs. Wes Dimitt went 2-for-4 as well, with an RBI, while Jay Thompson was 3-for-5 with 2 RBIs on the night. The team exploded for five runs in the 6th inning to put the game out of reach and the slaughter rule in play. Under league rules, if a team is winning by 10 or more after 7 innings, then the game is declared over.

Now the Diamondbacks have at least one day to rest, while they learn who the opponent will be in the next round. Clover Hill and the New Market Shockers were scheduled to play tonight, but couldn’t due to a scheduling mistake. New Market also has a team in the Valley League, the Rebels, who were hosting the Staunton Braves Tuesday night. Since the New Market teams share a facility, the Rockingham League game was postponed until tonight. 

Diamondbacks offense explodes against Broadway
Posted on July 30, 2013
by Brian M Carlton News Virginian

The game was even for the first three innings at the Diamond Club Monday night. Then the offense ignited for the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks, as the team scored 9 runs in 2 innings and beat the Broadway Bruins 11-4.

Each team scored in the 3rd inning on Monday. Broadway first baseman Brenden Howell singled in a run for the Bruins and then Draft responded when Ryan Coale scored off an error by pitcher Jake Cline. After loading the bases in the top of the 4th inning, Bruins center fielder Ashby Moomaw doubled, driving in three runs. That would be the last time a Bruins player crossed home plate all night.

Draft starter Chris Henkel was pulled after four innings of work. He gave up 4 runs on 8 hits on the night, striking out 4.

Draft opened up the bottom of the 4th inning with three straight singles. The third, by Josh Wenger, drove in the first of four runs in the inning for the Diamondbacks. That would signal the end of the night for Cline, who was pulled after 5 innings of work Monday night. He would take the loss.

The team added five more runs in the 6th inning, thanks in part to a two-run homer by Wes Dimitt, who was 1-for-3 on the night. The home run was his tenth of the season.

Donovan Huffer came on in relief for Draft, pitching two innings of shutout ball to get the win on the night. A combination of Seth Berry, Jay Thompson and Josh Wenger closed out the game for Draft, who lead the best of three series 1-0.

Thompson also had a good night at the plate, going 3-for-5. Wenger, who also played shortstop on the night for Draft, went 3-for-4 with 1 RBI and scored 3 of the team’s 11 runs. Ryan Coale also had a good night, going 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs.

Have Diamondbacks reached summit?
Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 6:30 am
   by Roger C Gonzalez News Virginian

For many, it’s a question not even worth asking. For some, coming to a decision requires plenty of thinking.

The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks are the kings of the Rockingham County Baseball League regular season after a 15-4 win over the Luray Cavemen Saturday night.

Boasting a 24-4 record before Monday night’s playoff opener against Broadway, the team just couldn’t be stopped all summer long. With eight wins in the last 10 games, the D’backs boast players in the top three of nearly every positive statistical category, including three of the top four winning pitchers. 

Saturday marked the first time in its history that Draft has earned top honors in the regular season.

But by the time the playoffs have concluded, do the Diamondbacks need to be holding the tournament title to validate their greatness?

In my opinion, yes, otherwise it will be a failed season.

Some members of the champions feel that their stellar campaign shows they are the best and is more impressive than winning the tournament. That’s true in my book. Draft has been the best team over a long regular season, staying either in first place or in a tie most of the season. In the short span of the playoffs, a team can get hot and bring home the prize. But walking off the field in the final game as league champions surpasses all else, regardless of how one rates the importance.

Draft has been quite stunning to watch this season, making opponents look inept en route to a great year. Pitching has been out of this world and the bats have been lively. But, with all of the wins piled up, losing in the playoffs, regardless of the stage, would be a massive, disastrous failure. I don’t think any team is content with just winning the regular season. Playoffs equal pressure, and this team showed that it had what it took to win last year. They have to do it again now.

Let’s be real, though. Sports are about winning, whether it be a division, conference, league, whatever. But the glory, finishing the playoffs as champions, is what every player dreams of. Do you think any guy on this squad is going to be content to go out of the playoffs knowing they won just the regular season title?

We’ve seen it many times in sports where some team steals the show during the regular season and bombs come the postseason. It happens on all levels.

Look at Major League Baseball. The 2001 Seattle Mariners won a league-record 116 games and lost in the American League Championship Series.

In the NFL, the New England Patriots lost Super Bowl XLII five years back to the New York Giants after going undefeated in the regular season.

The 2007 Dallas Mavericks of the NBA won a league-best 67 games and were ousted in the first round by the 8th seed Golden State Warriors.

All three of those seasons, upon looking at how they ended, are considered utter failures. Do you consider them successful years when looking at the grand scheme of things?

Nobody remembers what they accomplished during the regular season, just how they failed when it came to crunch time.

Last year, Draft didn’t win the regular season crown but conquered the postseason title with a magical run. When fans look back on last season, the D’backs are considered champions.

Do they have what it takes to do it again? Of course, and I think they will. But it wouldn’t be shocking if they didn’t win.

If a team like Clover Hill steps up and wins it or someone else gets hot, the Diamondbacks’ once stellar season just won’t be the same.

Heck, it might not even be remembered.

Roger Gonzalez is a reporter with The News Virginian. He may be reached at rgonzalez@newsvirginian.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RGonzalezTNV

D'backs clinch regular season
Staff Report News Leader
LURAY — The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks won the 2013 Rockingham County Baseball League regular season pennant Saturday night by defeating the Luray Cavemen 15-4.

The Diamondsbacks finished the regular season with a 24-4 record. This was Draft’s first pennant to go along with their first RCBL championship in 2012.

Wes Dimitt got things rolling in the first inning when he smacked his league-leading ninth home run. It was a two-run shot to straight away center.

Elliot Erkel lead the hitting parade, going 3-for-5 with two runs scored and four RBIs. Ryan Cooper was close behind with three hits, two runs and three RBIs.

Ryan Fitzgerald hurled five innings to pick up his first win of the season.

He allowed four runs, only one earned, and six hits while striking out five.

Dylan Horne pitched the sixth inning and Erkel closed out the game in the seventh. The game ended after seven innings with the 10-run slaughter rule.

Stuarts Draft hosts the last-place Broadway Bruins (6-22) 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Diamond Club to start the playoffs.

The first round is a best-of-three series.

Diamondbacks clinch regular season pennant
By Brian Carlton bcarlton@newsvirginian.com

The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks can check off one of their goals for this season, as the team clinched the regular season pennant Saturday night in their 15-4 win over the Luray Cavemen. This marks the first time in team history that Draft has clinched the regular season title.

“It means a lot,” Diamondbacks right fielder Ryan Cooper said. “If nothing else, I think that truly defines who the best team is, not just who got hot at the tournament. It also sets us up perfectly for the playoffs.”

Draft came out swinging, collecting 7 hits and 8 runs in the first two innings of Saturday’s game. A single by Draft left fielder Elliot Erkel brought home the game’s first run, as Derek Shifflett scored. Two batters latter, Wes Dimitt connected for a two run homer to put the Diamondbacks up 3-0.

A single by Cooper and a walk by Josh Wenger jump started a five run 3rd inning for Draft, as Luray starter Bryan Sours lost control. After walking Wenger, Sours struck out Ryan Fitzgerald, but the pitch got away from Luray catcher Hunter Sandridge and not only did Fitzgerald reach first base, but Cooper scored. Sours then walked Draft catcher Trever Lam, bringing in another run in the inning. Ryan Coale singled soon after, bringing home the fifth and final run of the inning for Draft.

Luray tried to respond in the bottom of the inning, scoring three runs off Fitzgerald, but they couldn’t keep pace with the Diamondbacks.

Draft added four more runs in the 4th inning, ending the night for Sours. He gave up 11 hits and 12 runs on the night, while walking 6 and striking out 3. Things didn’t go any better for Cavemen reliever Luke Shiflett. He gave up 3 runs in the 5th inning, with Josh Wenger hitting a solo home run, Cooper driving in another run with a single and then Shiflett walked in one more.

Luray recovered one of those runs in the bottom of the 5th, as Tanner Dofflemyer hit a solo home run, but that would be the last run of the night for the Cavemen, as the league’s slaughter rule ended things early.

Fitzgerald picked up the win, allowing 7 hits and 4 runs over 5 innings of work. He struck out 5 and walked one.  Dylan Horne came in for the 6th and Erkel closed things out in the 7th.

Both Erkel and Cooper collected three hits on the night. Erkel went 3 for 4, with 4 RBIs while Cooper went 3 for 5, driving in 3 RBIs. All but one of the Diamondbacks players picked up a hit on the night, as Draft collected 15 hits while only giving up 7 to Cavemen players.

With the win, Draft finishes the regular season at 23-3, clinching home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Cooper added that the team was looking forward to playing at home.

“We have an amazing atmosphere at home,” Cooper said. “I think the Diamond Club is just unlike any other place and we have some great fans.”

Diamondbacks beat Broadway 6-2
By Brian Carlton bcarlton@newsvirginian.com

With two games left in the regular season, the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks have a chance at clinching the pennant. Draft beat the Broadway Bruins on Wednesday night, 6-2, thanks in part to another strong pitching effort from starter Derek Shifflett.

Shifflett went 7 innings to pick up the win, to improve to 8-0 on the year. He gave up 2 runs off 5 hits, walking 2 and striking out 7.

Seth Barry and Jay Thompson combined to close things out for the Diamondbacks, who added two runs in the 9th to break open what was once a close game. Ryan Cooper went 3 for 5 on the night, driving in 1 RBI, while Wes Dimitt was 2 for 5 and scored two runs. Elliot Erkel and Dyland Horne both added 2 hits in the winning effort.

All total, the Diamondbacks combined for 15 hits on the night, while holding Broadway to just 5.

The last two games of the regular season will determine the pennant winner. In order to secure the pennant, Draft has to win both of its last two games; on the road against Bridgewater tonight and then at Luray tomorrow. If Draft wins both, no matter what the Clover Hills Bucks do, they'll secure the regular season pennant.

Diamondbacks outhit New Mark
Posted on July 24, 2013
   by Brian M Carlton News Virginian

Eight innings is all it took Tuesday night for Stuarts Draft to walk off the field with a win. Playing on the road against the New Market Shockers, the Diamondbacks won 13-3, with the slaughter rule being enforced.

Under Rockingham County League rules, if a team is leading by 10 or more after 7 innings, the game is over. That was the case Tuesday night, as the Diamondbacks jumped ahead early and didn’t look back.

Designated hitter Wes Dimitt played a big part in making things happen. Dimitt went 2 for 6, driving in 3 RBIs on the night and scoring two more runs. He also hit a solo home run in the top of the 3rd inning.

Right fielder Brandon Clark added to the scoring, as he went 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs. Dylan Horne added another RBI, as he went 2 for 4. Horne also started for the Diamondbacks, going 6 innings and giving up 2 runs off 4 hits. He struck out 4 and walked 5 on the night for the win. T.J. Frazier came in to pitch the final two innings for Draft, giving up 1 run.

With the win, Draft improves to 21-4 on the season, with three games left. In order to win the regular season pennant, the team has to win all three, starting with their game tonight at Broadway.

Diamondbacks fall to Clover Hill
Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 7:00 am
Staff reports News Virginian

The Clover Hill Bucks scored 3 unearned runs in the 6th inning Sunday night and that turned out to be enough for the 4-3 win over Stuarts Draft.

Draft struck first, thanks to a sacrifice fly by Dylan Horne in the second inning. Clover Hill came back to tie it in their next at bat, with a single in the top of the third. Diamondbacks starter Ryan Fitzgerald would keep it that way through 4 2/3 innings. Donovan Huffer came on to relieve Fitzgerald in the 5th inning, facing bases loaded with two outs. Huffer struck out the first batter he faced to keep the score tied.

Then in the bottom of the inning, Draft took advantage of two errors to add two more runs and go up 3-1. The Diamondbacks pulled off a double steal as Ryan Cooper took second base and Ryan Coale stole home. Cooper then came in to score when the Clover Hill catcher threw the ball into left field.

The Bucks then scored 3 unearned runs in the 6th inning and take the lead for the first time all night. Neither team scored in the last three innings Sunday night.

Jason Beale tossed 5 innings for the Bucks allowing only 1 hit and 3 runs, with only 1 earned. He picked up the win for Clover Hill, with Jason Kuhn throwing the last 3 innings for the save. With the loss, Draft falls to 20-4 on the year, while Clover Hill stands at 19-5. Both teams have 4 more games to play to finish out the regular season.

For Draft, all four of those come on the road. They travel to New Market today, Broadway on Wednesday, Bridgewater on Friday and finish up with Luray on Saturday.

Diamondbacks pick up win against Elkton
Posted on July 21, 2013
   by Brian M Carlton News Virginian

One day later, the runs were still coming in for the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks, as they beat Elkton 7-6 Saturday night.

Draft scored in all but four innings of the game, jumping out to a 2-0 lead before the Blue Sox stepped up to bat. Derek Shifflett scored the game’s first run off a single by Ryan Coale and then starting pitcher Ryan Cooper helped his cause with a single that brought Coale across the plate.

A double by Ryan Fitzgerald and another single by Coale in the second added two more runs for Draft, who collected 14 hits as a team on the night.

Coale was 2 for 5 with 2 RBIs on the night, while Derek Shiflett, Ryan Fitzgerald and Dylan Horne all went 2 for 4. Shiflett also added his second stolen base of the year. Brandon Clark meanwhile went 1 for 5 on the night, but that one was a solo shot home run in the 5th that added to Draft’s lead. 

On the mound, Cooper went 7 innings to get the win, giving up 6 runs on 11 hits, while striking out 5. Josh Wenger came in for the final 2 innings to close things out and he gets the save. Elkton starter Mack Ruppard gets the loss, after giving up 7 runs in 6 innings of work.

With the win, Draft improves to 20-3 on the season and prepares for a game that could possibly give them the regular season title. Tonight the Diamondbacks will host Clover Hill at the Diamond Club, with the first pitch set for 7:30 p.m. At 17-5 and just over two games back, the Bucks are the only contenders within range of Draft’s record.

Diamondbacks split pair of games

Posted on July 19, 2013
by Brian M Carlton News Virginian

The Diamondbacks had no problems Friday against Montezuma, as Draft beat the Braves 7-0 at the Diamond Club.

Derek Shifflett picked up the win Friday night, after a six inning shutout performance. Shifflett gave up 4 hits on the night and walked 2, while striking out 8. He helped his own cause at the plate as well, going 3 for 4 with a run and an RBI. Ryan Cooper also had a good night at the plate, going 2 for 3 with 2 RBIs.

Rough night for Diamondbacks

For the first time in more than two weeks, the Stuarts Draft pitching staff gave up more runs than their offense could generate. The Diamondbacks lost Thursday night to Broadway 5-3, dropping to 17-3 on the season.

The Bruins took advantage of six walks by Draft starter Taylor Knicely, who was pitching in his second game for the team. Knicely gave up two runs in the first inning and was pulled soon after.

The story was a bit different for his replacement, reliever Seth Berry, who went the distance for Draft, giving up 3 runs in that 8 inning span, with only one earned.

In the second inning, back to back fielding errors for Draft led to Broadway taking a 4-0 lead.

That earned run came in the fourth when Bridgewater College and ODAC Player of the Year Nick Fulk lead off with a triple, scoring on a single by Ashby Moomaw.

Overall, Berry gave up 6 hits, struck out 5 and walked one on the night.

The Diamondbacks had chances to get back into the game, but couldn’t quite do it, as they left the bases loaded in both the fourth and eighth innings. All total, Draft stranded 12 runners on base.

For Broadway, Bridgewater College rising senior Tyler Conley tossed a complete game to pick up the win. Conley threw 157 pitches and only allowed 2 earned runs.

The loss broke an 11 game winning streak by the Diamondbacks.

On Saturday,  they go on the road against Elkton and Clover Hill comes to Stuarts Draft Sunday for a game that may very well determine the regular season pennant winner of the Rockingham County League and top seed in the playoffs.

Diamondbacks shut down Clover Hill
Posted on July 16, 2013
by Brian M Carlton News Virginian

For the first time this week, a Stuarts Draft game went the full nine innings Tuesday night. That didn’t change the end result however, as the Diamondbacks beat Clover Hill 7-3 at Buck Bowman Park.

Stuarts Draft native Chris Henkel picked up the win, after pitching 7 innings on the night. Henkel gave up one unearned run off 5 hits, while striking out 6. In the fourth inning, Henkel loaded the bases before striking out the side and getting out of the jam.

“I kept telling myself, just make it enough,” Henkel said. “We played really good team ball. My teammates got me out of some rough situations.”

In the seventh inning, Henkel again found himself with runners on base and he shut down the Bucks rally once again.

“Any time we win against Clover Hill, it’s a good day,” Henkel said.

Josh Wenger came in to relieve Henkel in the eighth inning and he would go the rest of the way, giving up two runs, one earned.

The offense came alive for Draft as well, with several players collecting at least three hits on the night. Ryan Cooper and Wes Dimmitt both went 3 for 5 for the Diamondbacks, with Jay Thompson also collecting three hits on the night. Ryan Coale went 2 for 4, adding a pair of RBIs.

With the win, Draft improves to 18-2 on the season, now two and a half games ahead of Clover Hill for first place in the Rockingham County League. They go on the road Thursday to face Broadway, before coming home to the Diamond Club Friday night against Montezuma.

Diamondbacks beat Blue Socks
Posted on July 9, 2013
   by Brian M Carlton News Virginian

For a total of 49 innings, Stuarts Draft pitchers were seemingly unhittable. During that streak, which ran from the end of June into July, Draft pitchers only gave up one unearned run. The scoreless streak may have ended Tuesday night, but the winning continued, as Draft beat the Elkton Blue Sox 4-2.

Chris Henkel got the win for Draft, throwing six innings of shutout ball. Henkel gave up five hits on the night, while striking out 4 and walking 4. The streak was broken in the next inning however, as Dylan Horne failed to get an out. Horne walked four batters, giving up two runs to Elkton, before being relieved. Jay Thompson came in to close things down for Draft, pitching two scoreless innings for the save.

On the offensive side of the ball, Donovan Huffer went 2 for 4, with an RBI on the night. Ryan Coale also picked up an RBI, going 1 for 3.

With the win, Draft improves to 16-2 on the season, still in command of first place in the Rockingham County League.

Diamondbacks' domination continues
Posted on July 6, 2013
   by Roger C Gonzalez News Virginian

Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks manager Tinker Kiser said he was pleased with the team’s 13-2 start heading into Saturday night’s Rockingham County Baseball League home contest with the Bridgewater Reds. The team had won seven straight games, with the last two being no-hitters.

“Well, early it’s been pitching and defense,” he said of the keys thus far. “We weren't hitting the ball well early. We are starting to come around with our bats. It takes a month or so for them to be dialed in.”

Everyone was dialed in Saturday night against Bridgewater.

After Chris Henkel and Derek Shifflett pitched a no-hitter in the squads’ last two outings, Stuarts Draft took control of this one early. Draft scored four runs in the second as Ryan Cooper stole the show on the mound in a 6-0 victory. Cooper was stellar, going eight innings and striking out 11. He gave up just four hits and walked none.

“I felt really good,” Cooper said. “The key was keeping the ball down. I feel like I was locating better than I had.”

In the second, Ryan Coale plated Dylan Horne, who led off with a single, before an RBI double by Cooper scored Josh Wenger to put the hosts up 2-0. Elliot Erkel then recorded an RBI single later in the inning before Brandon Clark earned an RBI on a fielder’s choice to double the score. The squad registered four runs off of five hits in the frame.

The Diamondbacks tacked on a run in the fourth and another in the seventh to complete the dominant victory. 

The Reds recorded their first hit in the fifth inning via Tristan Bailey. It was the first hit surrendered by the Diamondbacks in 18.2 innings.

“I felt like the black sheep giving up the first one,” Cooper said while laughing. “It was definitely a lot of pressure having to follow [the no-hitters].”

Cooper finished 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. Shifflett went 2-for-3. Coale was 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Stuarts Draft improved to 14-2 with the win and remains in first place in the league. The D’backs travel to Luray tonight at 6 p.m.

Diamondbacks shut out Cavemen
Posted on July 3, 2013
  by Brian M Carlton News Virginian

A walk was the only thing standing between the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks and perfection Wednesday night. Diamondbacks starting pitcher Derek Shifflett tossed a 7 inning no-hitter and the team’s bats came to life in an 11-0 win over the Luray Cavemen.

The game ended early due to the slaughter rule, which orders things shut down if a team is leading by 10 runs or more after the seventh inning. Draft didn’t leave any question how this game would end, scoring early and often against the Cavemen, with four different players hitting home runs on the night.

Donovan Huffer started things off in the second inning with a two run shot. He finished 3 for 4 on the night. Ryan Cooper followed that up in the third inning with a two run homer of his own. Draft would score again in the fourth inning, thanks to home runs from Josh Wenger and Brandon Clark. Wenger hit a two run shot and then Clark followed with a three run blast. Clark would finish a perfect 3 for 3 on the game.

With the win, Draft improves to 13-2 on the season, still holding on to first place. Saturday the Bridgewater Reds will come to the Diamond Club for a 7:30 pm game. Then Draft goes on the road Sunday to play these same Luray Cavemen at Bulldog Field.  

Diamondbacks win streak continues
Posted: Sunday, June 30, 2013 5:15 pm
From staff reports News Virginian
For the second straight game, Stuarts Draft pitching shut down the Montezuma Braves. On Friday night, the Diamondbacks also turned in a solid performance at the plate to solidify their place on top of the Rockingham County league standings.

Draft pitchers Chris Henkel and Seth Berry combined for a 7 inning no hitter, with Henkel pitcking up the win in a 11-0 victory. Henkel went the first six innings without surrendering a hit, then Berry pitched the seventh to close things down.  The game ended after seven innings due to the “slaughter” rule, which states that if a team is ahead by 10 runs or more after seven innings, the game will end.

Wes Dimitt hit two home runs to increase his total to seven at the season’s half way point. Josh Wenger went 3 for 5 and scored four runs, while Elliot Erkel went 3 for 3. Draft pounded out 15 hits for the night as the Braves committed 5 errors.

With the victory, Draft improves to 12-2 and are tied with Clover Hill for first place. Clover Hill comes to the Diamond Club Tuesday for the show down for the best record in the County League.

After hosting the Clover Hill Bucks Tuesday, the Luray Cavemen come to Stuarts Draft Wednesday night. The Luray game is Military Appreciation Night. All military and veterans will be admitted free to enjoy the contest.

The D-Backs play their home games at the Stuarts Draft Diamond Club Baseball Facility behind the Stuarts Draft Fire Department. Games start at 7:30

Diamondbacks make it four in a row
Posted: Monday, June 24, 2013 10:28 pm
Staff reports News Virginian
Stuarts Draft made it three in a row Monday night, as they beat the New Market Shockers 3-0 at the Diamond Club. In a rain-shortened game, the Diamondbacks picked up all the runs they would need in the first inning, as Wes Dimitt hit his fifth home run of the year.

It’s been a good season for Dimitt so far. Those five home runs put him first in the Rockingham County League, while his 17 RBIs also rank him as one of the top three.

Derek Shifflett went five innings for the Diamondbacks, giving up just one hit on the night.

With the win, Draft improves to 10-2 on the season, tied with the Clover Hill Bucks for first place in the league. The Diamondbacks go on the road to Montezuma tonight, with another game against the Braves on Friday. Then on Tuesday, July 2, Clover Hill comes to the Diamond Club, in a game for first place.

Diamondbacks down Reds, 13-5
by Brian Carlton News Virginian
It took less than 24 hours for the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks to recover from Thursday's loss against
Clover Hill.
Behind a surging offense that collected 16 hits on the night, the Diamondbacks beat the Bridgewater Reds 13-5 at Ray Heatwole Field.
Wes Dimitt led the way for Draft, going 3-for-4 on the night with 3 RBIs. He helped spark the Draft offense in the 5th inning, driving in three with a home run.
Josh Wenger's bat also ignited, as he went 3-for-6 with 2 RBIs. Jay Thompson also came up big, going 4 for 6 on the night.
The same couldn't be said for Diamondbacks starter Chris Henkel, who struggled and was pulled
after four innings of work. On the night, Henkel, gave up four runs, three earned, while walking four
and striking out four.
Dylan Horne also continued his rehab, pitching two innings in relief for the Diamondbacks. Horne had surgery a year ago.
Draft was on  the road Saturday night to play Elkton. They'll be back at home Monday night, to face New Market at the Diamond Club.

Diamondbacks fall in 8-7 heartbreaker
Posted on June 20, 2013
  by Brian M Carlton News Virginian

It came down to the final outs for the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks and unfortunately, the team fell just short Thursday night. Clover Hill beat Draft 8-7, to take one team out of the tie for first place in the Rockingham County League.

Jason Beale was the story of the night for the Bucks, hitting two home runs and driving in four RBIs. He went 3-4 on the night.

The two teams battled back and forth all night, with Clover Hill taking the early 2-0 lead on Beale’s first home run. Then Draft responded, tying it up in the fifth. Hitting definitely wasn’t a problem for the Diamondbacks, as several players put up good numbers. Wes Dimitt went 2-4, Ryan Cooper went 3-5 and Elliot Erkel went 2-4. Diamondbacks starter Ryan Cooper went five innings, with Donovan Huffer coming in relief.

Huffer went three innings, giving up the winning run in the 8th inning. Andrew Armstrong came in during the 8th for the Bucks and pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

With the loss, the Diamondbacks fell to 6-2 on the season. They’ll go on the road to take on the Bridgewater Reds tonight at Ray Heatwole Field.

New players strengthen Diamondbacks

Posted on June 21, 2013
   by Roger C Gonzalez News Virginian

It’s been a fantastic start to the 2013 Rockingham County Baseball League season for the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks. After dropping the first contest, Draft won six in a row and before Thursday night’s game, sat at 6-1 in the standings, good enough for first place.

As is usual with the summer league teams, not all of the players arrive by the start of the season, finishing up their college season or other responsibilities. Draft recently added two new players who have already made a massive impact and could push the team over the edge in search of a championship.

Josh Wenger, an infielder from Buffalo Gap High School and Concord University, and Derek Shifflett, a pitcher from Verona who went to Fort Defiance, both made their 2013 debuts recently.

Wenger has come in and been very effective. In 12 at bats, he has an on-base percentage of .500, with three hits and three walks to go with four runs, three RBI and a double. He also has been a relief pitcher, pitching one scoreless inning.

“Josh, he just bring a lot of experience, a lot of leadership,” coach Tinker Kiser said. “He brings a quiet confidence. He is just a really good, solid baseball player. I didn’t realize he was going to be as good of a pitcher.

“He has a good eye and is going to try and wait a get the pitch that he wants. That’s a virtue in itself. I’ve got a lot of young guys and they can learn from veterans like Josh.”

Shifflett has jumped out to a 2-0 record on the mound, posting a 2.07 ERA after 21.2 innings pitched, while striking out 13. In his two starts, a 6-3 win over the Blue Sox on June 4 and a 5-2 win over the Shockers on June 14, he pitched into the eighth inning.

Wenger, who took last summer off and played for the Staunton Braves in the Valley League the year before, graduated this past spring. He has had a blast so far with the squad and just hopes to keep things rolling.

“I’ve had a great experience,” he said. “A lot of guys are from the area, and I played with them or against them. I’ve had some issues with injuries at Concord and never really got back in the swing of things. I’m starting to feel a lot more healthy. It’s getting better.”

So are the Diamondbacks.

“I think that every time we can add a quality player, it increases our chances,” Kiser said.

Diamondbacks walk off in extra innings

   The News Virginian Sports
Posted: Monday, June 17, 2013 7:15 am
Staff reports

The winning streak stands at seven straight for the Stuart’s Draft Diamondbacks. The team rallied from behind late Saturday night, going into the 11th inning before beating Montezuma 3-2.

The Braves scored first, with Kyle Armstrong driving a pitch down the third base line in the 2nd inning, bringing in Brian Crousham. That score would hold until the 7th inning, when Montezuma starter Alex Foltz faked a throw to third base. Umpires ruled that he committed a balk and sent Derek Shifflett home with the first run for the Diamondbacks.

Saturday marked the first start for new Diamondbacks pitcher Brooks Cullen, who went six innings, giving up one run on seven hits while striking out 7 Braves. Cullen threw 109 pitches on the day.

The game remained at 1-1 until the 10th inning. Crousham led off for Montezuma, reaching first on a walk, before scoring on Aaron Brunk’s double to left center field. Then in the bottom of the 10th, down 2-1, the Diamondbacks quickly recorded two outs. Wes Dimitt then reached first on a walk, before scoring on a single to right from Elliot Erkel.

After Donovan Huffer relieved Cullen in the 8th inning, he would be replaced in the top of the 11th by Josh Wenger. The Diamondbacks pitcher recorded three straight outs, striking out two to end the inning.

In the bottom of the 11th, Shiflett singled with one out. The next batter hit a line drive to the shortstop and it appeared he would double up Shifflett at first, but a bad throw caused Shifflett to end up on third. A wild pitch by Montezuma’s Beau Banglesdorf would end the game, as Shifflett races in from third.

Draft goes on the road for the next four games, starting Tuesday at Clover Hill. Their next home game is scheduled for Monday, June 24th when the D-Backs host the New Market Shockers

Late runs drive win for Stuart's Draft

Posted on June 12, 2013
   by Brian M Carlton News Virginian
For the first part of Friday’s game, Stuart’s Draft traded runs with the New Market Shockers. But as the late innings approached, Diamondbacks starter Derek Shifflett locked in, at one point sitting three batters in a row down with groundouts and strikeouts. The Draft offense also picked things up, driving in key runs when it counted, as the Diamondbacks won 5-2.

The Diamondbacks tied things up in the sixth inning, started off by centerfielder Elliot Erkel’s stand up double. He advanced on catcher Trevor Lam’s sacrifice, scoring on a groundout by second baseman Ryan Coale. Until then, New Market pitcher Colton Harlow had only given up five hits.

Lam would then break the 2-2 tie in the seventh inning, hitting a single into center field that scored outfielder Brandon Clark. Erkel would score from third on the next pitch, thanks to an error by Rockbridge.

But the story of the night had to be Shifflett, who went eight innings, coming out to start the ninth before being taken out. Shifflett gave up only seven hits on the night, with three walks and five strikeouts. From the fourth inning until the ninth, Shifflett didn’t allow a single hit. That streak was broken in the ninth, when New Market opened things up with a single.

Jay Thompson would come in to relieve Shifflett and pick up the save on the night. Designated hitter Wes Dimitt and Brandon Clark both went 3-5 for Stuart’s Draft, with Erkel also picking up two stolen bases on the night. Erkel would score three of the five runs on the night for the Diamondbacks as well.

With the win, Stuart’s Draft improves to 6-1 on the season. They’ll be at home tonight, playing host to the Montezuma Braves at the Diamond Club. The first pitch is set for 7:30 pm. 

Diamondbacks score often in blowout win
Posted on June 12, 2013
   by Brian M Carlton News Virginian

A hard fought game turned into a slugfest Wednesday night, as the Stuart’s Draft Diamondbacks beat the Broadway Bruins 10-4. Even with the offense, one of the more impressive performances of the night came from the Diamondbacks’ pitching staff, led by starter Chris Henkel. On the night Henkel went five innings, striking out seven and only giving up two hits. He picks up just his second win of the season.

A number of offensive stars shined for the Diamondbacks in the game, including first baseman Ryan Cooper, who went 3-5 with two RBIs and a solo home run in the second inning. Elliot Erkel, Ryan Coale, Jay Thompson and Donavan Huffer all had RBIs in the win.

With the win, Stuart’s Draft improves to 5-1 on the season and takes over sole possession of first place. Both Bridgewater and Clover Hill were off Wednesday night, so they fall half a game back in the standings. The Diamondbacks travel to New Market Friday night, weather permitting, where they’ll take on the 2-4 Shockers. Then it’s back home on Saturday, where Stuart’s Draft takes on Montezuma.

Diamondbacks Survive Late Rally
By Brian Carlton bcarlton@newsvirginian.com
STUARTS DRAFT -- After helping the team with his bat, Stuart’s Draft player Jay Thompson closed out the game with his glove. Thompson (Bridgewater College) collected the save, pitching an inning of scoreless relief as the Diamondbacks won 6-3 on Tuesday night.

Thompson singled in the first and fifth innings, with Dylan Horne (James Madison) and Josh Wenger (Concord University) providing more offense. Horne went 2-for-4 with a solo home run in the eighth inning, while Wenger went 2-for-3 with three RBIs on the night.

Diamondbacks starter Ryan Cooper had a shutout going through the first six innings, but struggled in the seventh. The first three batters for the Blue Sox got on base with a single, a double and a walk. Chad Byers then got the Blue Sox on the board, driving in two runs with a single.

Derek Shifflett would come on in relief of Cooper, before turning it over to Thompson for the final three outs.

Christian Oliver (Barton College) went eight innings for the Blue Sox, giving up eight hits and striking out six. Brett Johnson (James Madison) had a pair of hits for Elkton, which drops to 2-2 on the year.

With the win, the Diamondbacks improve to 4-1 on the season and climb into a tie for first place with the Bridgewater Reds, who lost to Clover Hill on Tuesday night. Stuart’s Draft will be at home again Friday night, when they play host to New Market. The first pitch is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Stuart’s Draft Diamond Club. 

Highlights in pictures 2013 Season
Click on picture to see enlarged view