News articles that follow are from https://www.rcblbaseball.com/articles
Coach of the Year - Les Sandridge, Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks
Les Sandridge led the Diamondbacks in a solid 2021 regular season. Stuarts Draft led the league in runs (204), hits (232), home runs (29), RBIs (177), and total bases (383). The Diamondbacks were tied for the best fielding percentage at .965. Sandridge managed to get five of his players in the RCBL All-Star Game, and one of his players (Zach Roberts) was named league MVP. After being 5-5 midway through the season, the Diamondbacks went on a 9-2 run and won their last six games to clinch the #3 spot in the playoffs.
Most Valuable Player - Zach Roberts, Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks
Zach Roberts was heads above the rest, leading the league in batting average at .457, and in hits with 37. At second base, he had 28 assists to lead the league, and was third in putouts with 15, helping to lead the Diamondbacks to a third place finish. Roberts hit two home runs, one for two runs and the other a grand slam, against the Elkton Blue Sox on June 18. Roberts was leadoff batter for the East in the RCBL All-Star Game. A 2019 graduate of Eastern Mennonite University, Roberts has not played in the RCBL since the 2018 season.
Bush Walks It Off for Draft
By Leyton Pullin
The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks opened up their second round series with the Broadway Bruins in an excitement filled game that ended up in their favor 7-6 in 10 innings and ended on a Grayson Bush walk off single.
Broadway broke the scoring open right out of the gate as Justin Lohr led the game off with a single and later scored as Caleb Taylor singled to put the Bruins on top 1-0 before the D-Backs got to the plate.
Stuarts Draft bounced back in the bottom half of the 1st as Zach Roberts led of with a double. Will Hass came to the plate next and lifted a ball to left center field that Trent Abernathy tracked to the wall but could not leap high enough as it got out of the park for a 2-run home run and put Stuarts Draft in front 2-1.
Stuarts Draft added 3 more in the 2nd inning as Grayson Bush, Calen Owens and Jack Pausic all had RBI base knocks to stretch the lead to 5-1.
The Bruins started to crawl back in the top of the 3rd inning as Trevor Vernon plunked Justin Lohr to start the inning. Trevor Thomas followed later in the inning and singled to put corners on the bases with one out. Next to the plate was Taylor who delivered again with a RBI double to score Lohr. Devon Neal came up next and grounded out to Roberts but still allowed Thomas to score and make it a 5-3 game.
Vernon cruised through the top of the 5th striking out the first two hitter he faced in the inning. That was when the trouble would start for Vernon as the next three batters reached and loaded the bases with two outs. Ben Hutcheson came up next and worked a full count walk to force Taylor across for the first run of the inning. Ben Reid came up next and also walked allowing Neal to score and tie the game at 5-5. That would signal the end of Vernon’s night as Liam Kehoe would come in to record the final out of the inning.
Stuarts Draft would break the tie in the bottom of the 7th as Broadway went to the bullpen and Trent Abernathy went to the hill. Hass would work a walk with one out in the inning. After a Pausic fly out for the second out Cody Bartley came to the plate and ripped a ball to the opposite field that slowly made its way to the wall allowing for Hass to round third and head for the plate and just beat out the throw from Lohr in right field to put the D-Backs on top 6-5.
The Bruins tried to respond in the top of the 8th as they loaded the base up with two outs all on walks. The Bruins would leave the bases jammed however as Jayden Nixon flew out to right field to end the inning.
Stuarts Draft went to Chandis Goff in the 9th to try and close it out, however Broadway had other ideas. Hutcheson came to the plate to lead off the inning and drove a liner right back where it came from for a single. Reid came up next and chopped one up the middle that got away from Roberts at second to put two on. Isaac Vandemeter would line out to Pausic for the first out in the inning. Next up came Lohr who drew a four pitch walk to load the bases for Abernathy. That would signal the end for Goff and Cody Bartley would get the call to try and close the came out for the D-Backs. Bartley would strike out Abernathy after a lengthy at bat and bring Trevor Thomas to the plate. The second pitch to Thomas bounced away from WIlcher behind the plate allowing Hutcheson to come home and score unearned to tie the game at 6-6.
The D-Backs would get two on base with back-to-back walks by Roberts and Hass before Abernathy recovered and struck out Pausic and got Bartley to ground into a fielders choice to send the game into the extra frame.
The Bruins were retired in order in the top half of the 10th. Stuarts Draft saw their first two hitters of the inning Bob Funk and Tyler Wilcher retired on strikes before Doug Pollack put a ball in play to the left side of the infield and beat out the throw to first to reach safely with an infield hit. Grayson Bush came to the plate next looking to extend or even end the game. Bush get behind in the count 0-2 to Abernathy and then the next pitch Pollack took off for second and stole the bag putting himself in scoring position. The next pitch Bush lined a ball to right field just over the head of the second baseman that would roll all the way to the wall allowing Pollack to score easily and walk it off for the D-Backs.
Cody Bartley picks up the win on the mound for Stuarts Draft in an outing that was not originally planned according to manager Les Sandridge. “We had to burn through some pitching tonight we had not planned on,” said Sandridge. Offensively for the D-Backs Will Hass and Grayson Bush each had 2 RBIs.
Trent Abernathy takes the loss for the Bruins after giving up 2 earned runs despite striking out 9 in four innings of work. AT the plate for the Bruins Caleb Taylor went 2 for 3 with 2 RBIs leading the offensive attack for Chip Abernathy and company.
Game 2 will take place on Sunday August 1 at 6:30 PM at Broadway High School as Stuarts Draft leads the series 1-0.
Pinch Hits Lift Draft over Grottoes
By Leyton Pullin
The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks picked up a win in the deciding game three of the first round series against the Grottoes Cardinals 6-4 off the bats of two big pinch hit base knocks from Lucas Adam and Tyler Wilcher.
Stuarts Draft got the scoring started right away in the bottom of the 1st as Zach Roberts worked a walk off of Jacob Dansey to open the inning. Terrell Thompson came to the plate next and broke himself out of a bit of a slump at the plate with a deep fly to left for a 2-run home run to put the D-backs on top 2-0.
Grottoes would not strike back until the 3rd inning as Noah Burtner broke up the no-hitter that Parker Heinemann had worked up until that point. Burtner would be put out in a fielder's choice to put Dalton Nicely aboard. Boogie Saunders came up next and showed off his speed working an infield single. Dylan Nicely came up later in the inning and struck a ball well for a 2 RBI single to score Dalton Nicely and Saunders to tie the game 2-2.
Right away in the bottom half of the 3rd Stuarts Draft responded with back-to-back walks to put Roberts and Thompson on the base paths with no outs. Jack Pausic came up later in the inning and flew out deep to Jacob Zoller in right field which allowed Roberts to tag and score to put the D-backs ahead 3-2.
Both pitching staffs shut down hitters from that point until the top of the 8th as the D-backs went to the bullpen for the first time all night to Chandis Goff. Goff retired the first two hitters he faced before Zoller worked a walk and Jacob Merica singled before David Wood also ended a cold streak as he doubled off of the wall bringing both runners into score putting the Cardinals ahead 4-3.
The D-Backs bounced right back as Lucas Adam pinch hit and ground rule doubled signaling the end of the night for Ty Lam who had not given up a hit in 3 innings of relief up to that point. Tyler Wilcher came up next and crushed a line drive off of the wall to drive in Adam and tie the game. Roberts came up later in the inning with two on and knocked both in with a 2 RBI double to right field to put the D-Backs in front 6-4 headed to the 9th.
Goff came back out in the 9th and retired the Cardinals in order to seal the victory and the series win for Stuarts Draft.
Goff also picks up the win for Les Sandridge and company as they move on to the second round for a match-up with the Broadway Bruins starting Saturday night at the Diamond Club at 7:30.
“Huge, it makes all the difference in the world. Otherwise we go into the next series down after having to burn through guys,” said Manager Les Sandridge on the long start he got out of Heinemann, who went 7 innings and only gave up 2 runs after primarily coming out of the bullpen all year long.
Sandridge also played a bit of a chess match in the 8th inning as he brought in Lucas Adam and Tyler Wilcher off the bench and both delivered key hits for the D-backs. “We weren’t hitting the ball like we would’ve liked to,” said Sandridge.
Once again the D-backs advance and will play the defending champions the Broadway Bruins in a five game series starting on Saturday July 31 at 7:30 in Stuarts Draft.
Diamondbacks Stay Alive
By Leyton Pullin
The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks picked up a 14-4 win over the Grottoes Cardinals on Wednesday July 28 in a win or go home game in order to force a decisive game 3.
Stuarts Draft got right to work in the top of the 1st inning as they took advantage of a shaky start of the outing from Tyler Pullin. Zach Roberts led the game off with a single right back up the middle off of the glove of Pullin on the very first pitch he saw. Draft the proceeded to load the bases on a hit by pitch and a walk to put Thompson and Hass aboard. Jack Pausic came to the plate next and wore a pitch from Pullin to allow Roberts to score and put eh D-Backs on the board 1-0.
Grottoes struck back quickly in the bottom half of the inning as Clayton Michael stayed hot with a single with one out. Dylan Nicely came to the plate next and delivered as he has all year with an RBI ground rule double to push Michael across to tie the game at 1-1.
Stuarts Draft added more runs in the top of the 2nd with a pair of sacrifice fly outs to Boogie Saunders in center field by Roberts and Hass to bring Grayson Bush and Calen Owens in to score and take the lead 3-1.
Grottoes bounced back in the bottom of the 3rd as Saunders wore a pitch from starting pitcher Doug Pollock to reach safely for the first time all night. Michael again delivered with an RBI triple in the deepest ball park in the RCBL to push Saunders across. Later in the inning Jacob Zoller joined the hit party with a RBI single of his own to score Saunders and tie the game at 3-3.
Both pitchers straightened up as both Pullin and Pollock tossed scoreless frames in the 4th inning. However, the same could not be said about the 5th as Stuarts Draft opened the game up with a 7 spot to take a 10-3 lead. Roberts and Hass added 2 more RBIs each in the inning.
Doug Pollock’s night would finally come to an end as a lightning delay paused the game for nearly 40 minutes and he was replaced by Luke Kehoe who finished the bottom of the 6th for the D-Backs.
Stuarts Draft added another run in the 7th as they loaded the bases on a walk, hit by pitch and a Thompson single before Jack Pausic walked with those bases loaded to score Lucas Adam and stretch the lead to 11-3.
The D-Backs added 3 more runs in the top of the 8th as they again loaded the bases before Adam hit a base clearing triple to knock in Tyler Wilcher, Bush and Owens to push the lead to 14-3 and put Grottoes back against the ball due to the run rule.
Grottoes started the bottom of the 8th with Clayton Michael reaching on a hit by pitch. Jacob Zoller attempted to keep the inning alive as he doubled to score Michael. The next two hitters Moyer and Lutz to close the game out due to the 10-run rule.
Stuarts Draft picks up the win 14-4. Doug Pollock gets the win after going 5.2 IP and allowed 3 earned runs off of 4 hits and 4 punchouts. Tyler Pullin took the loss for Grottoes after 4.0+ IP and allowing 5 earned runs. For Stuarts Draft Will Hass and Zach Roberts each picked up 3 RBI. Jack Pausic also added 2 RBI.
Manager Les Sandridge said the key to the win was the pitching. Doug Pollock did not surrender a walk in his start and Luke Kehoe only allowed one in his relief effort to keep the “freebies” off the bases.
Game 3 will take place at the Diamond Club in Stuarts Draft on Thursday July 29 at 7:30 PM in a win or go home scenario for both clubs. “We just need to be patient at the plate,” said Sandridge when talking about what would be the keys for the elimination game on Thursday.
Dofflemeyer Shuts Down D-Backs Offense
By Leyton Pullin
The Grottoes Cardinals picked up a win in game one of their first round series against the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks 5-4 off the back of starter Adam Dofflemeyer who tossed 8 innings and only allowed 2 runs for the Cardinals.
Grottoes got on the board first in the top of the 3rd inning as David Wood reached on an error by the short stop Grayson Bush that bounced over the head of Jack Pausic at first base. Dalton Nicely came to the plate next and also reached on an error to put two on and no outs. Clayton Michael added a single later in the inning to jam the bases full of Cardinals. Dylan Nicely came to the plate next and delivered as he did all regular season long with a RBI single to score Wood and put the Cardinals in front 1-0.
The Cardinals added another run in the 6th as Dylan Nicely singled to lead the inning off. Jacob Merica came to the plate later in the inning and singled driving Nicely in to score after some assistance from a wild pith earlier in the at bat. Grottoes stretched their lead to 2-0.
In the top of the 8th Stuarts Draft would go to the bullpen and go to their set up man Parker Heinemann. Michael opened the inning up with a double to the right field wall. Dylan Nicely came up next and reached as his ground ball was mishandled at third base. Jacob Zoller came up next and singled to right center which allowed Michael to score easily but as the D-Backs made the throw home catcher Chaz Harvey collided with the home plate umpire allowing for the ball to get away and roll to the back stop. Dylan Nicely then took advantage of the miscue and came home to score as well on the play to stretch the Grottoes lead to 4-0.
Stuarts Draft responded in the bottom half of the inning as Cody Bartley hit a 2 Run home run to cut the lead in half to 4-2.
Grottoes came to the plate in the 9th leading by a pair and face Chandis Goff as Stuarts Draft went to the bullpen. Goff retired the first two hitters he faced before walking Boogie Saunders. Michael came up next and delivered some extra insurance as he doubled yet again this time scoring Saunders and extending the Cardinals lead to 5-2.
Grottoes went to Michael in the bottom of the 9th trying to close the game out however it turned out to not be that simple. Tyler Wilcher worked a full count before ripping a double down the left field line to lead off the inning. Bush came up next and was retired on strikes to put one down. Calen Owens followed and laid down a bunt that was fielded by Nicely just in front of the mound but no play could be made allowing runners to reach the corners with only one out. Zach Roberts came up next and delivered with a RBI single to score Wilcher and put the tying run at the plate. Terrell Thompson came up next and drew a walk but as he watched the fourth ball it got away from Nicely allowing Owens to sneak home and score to put the tying run now only 90 feet away at third as Roberts also moved up on the play. Jack Pausic came up next and hit a ground ball to third base with the infield in for Grottoes. Dalton Nicely fielded it and made the heads up play to throw it to home to try and catch the lead runner Roberts. Roberts got caught in a run down and was tagged out by Nicely halfway down the baseline for the second out. Cody Bartley cam to the plate next looking to duplicate what he had done earlier in the night. Michael called for time on the mound and discussed strategy with Nicely as to how to attack Bartley. Nicely said he also gave the young pitcher a few words of encouragement, “ We weren’t going to change anything, he was going to stick with his stuff,” said Nicely. A few pitches later Bartley hit a well struck ball to left field however Merica slid over to make the catch and solidify the game one win for the Cardinals.
Grottoes picks up the win off of a superb outing from Adam Dofflemeyer who threw 8 innings and struck out 8 while only giving up 2 runs. “We had been building for that all year. He’s a reliver in college and hopefully will be a starter next year,” said Manager Tim Nicely. Dofflemeyer picks up the win and Clayton Michael picks up the save but provided some offense as well for the Cardinals as he went 3 for 5 at the plate with an RBI. Dylan Nicely also added a 2 for 5 night with an RBI and 2 runs scored for the Cardinals.
Game 2 will take place on Wednesday July 28 at Shifflett Field in Grottoes at 7:30 PM as the Cardinals look to complete the series sweep with a win and advance to the second round.
Diamondbacks Dismantle Shockers in Regular Season Finale
By Dean Barker
In the final game of the 2021 RCBL Regular Season, the second-place Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks overcame two three-run deficits to beat the regular season champion New Market Shockers 14-6 on Saturday, July 24 at Rebel Field.
The Diamondbacks, who were 5-5 halfway through the season, won their last six games (and nine of their last eleven) to finish the regular season 14-7. With a Clover Hill loss at Elkton tonight, the Diamondbacks will be the #2 seed in the playoffs and face the #7 Bridgewater Reds. If the Bucks win, Stuarts would be #3 and would face the #6 Grottoes Cardinals. The Shockers finish at 15-6, and will be the #1 seed in the playoffs as they host the #8 Elkton Blue Sox.
Despite the significant change in record, Diamondbacks head coach Leslie Sandridge said there wasn’t much difference between how his team played in the first and second half.
“You just keep playing hard, and chips fall where they may,” Sandridge said. “Don’t leave anything on the field, and that’s what these guys do, they just play hard all the time.”
Trever Mitchell got the win to complete the regular season 3-0, giving up one run in three innings and striking out four. He relieved Liam Kehoe, who gave up four runs in two innings. Matt House took the loss to fall to 1-3, giving up eight runs (six earned) in four innings.
Henry Delavergne led off the bottom of the first with a solo homer to right field to give the Shockers a 1-0 lead. Frankie Ritter would follow up with a single past the third baseman Jeff Randozzo, and Pearce Bucher was walked. They would pull off a double steal, and Ritter would manage to come home as the ball got away to push the lead to 2-0. With Bucher on third and Ty Bennett reaching on a walk, House would ground into a 6-4 fielder’s choice, but would reach first to allow Bucher to score the Shockers’ third run.
With the bases loaded and one out in the top of the third, Terrell Thompson would rip a line drive to right field to bring home two runs and cut the Shocker lead to 3-2. That would be all, as House would retire the next two batters to escape the jam. Bucher would answer in the bottom half with a leadoff no-doubter to left field, and Bennett would replicate two batters later to push the deficit back to three at 5-2.
The Diamondbacks would strike back, as a two out, two run double from Calen Owens dropped just in front of Ritter in center. Zach Roberts was hit, and Thompson would bunt to reach first and load the bases. Jack Pausic would launch a three run triple off the left field wall to give Stuarts Draft their first lead of the night, and Cody Bartley would drive him in with a single to make it 8-5 Diamondbacks. Delavergne and Ritter would reach second and third in the bottom half, but would not score.
With the bases loaded in the seventh, Tyler Wilcher was hit to bring home one run. Grayson Bush followed up with a two run single to right field, and while Bush was stealing second, Wilcher came home to score. Pausic would drive in another run with an RBI single to shortstop, but Thompson was caught at third, ending the inning with the D-Backs up 13-5. Wilcher would rip an RBI single to right field in the eighth to make the score 14-5. Delavergne drove in one with a sacrifice grounder in the eighth, but that would be it for New Market, as Stuarts Draft would win 14-6.
The Diamondbacks left six runners on, and had an error that didn’t lead to any runs. The Shockers stranded ten, and made four errors which led to three runs.
Pausic was 1-4 with three RBIs and a run scored. Owens went 2-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Wilcher was 1-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored. Bush was 1-5 with two RBIs and a run scored. Bartley went 2-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Thompson went 1-3 with an RBI and a run scored. The Diamondbacks totaled twelve hits.
Delavergne went 2-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Bennett was 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Bucher went 1-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. House went 1-4 with an RBI. Ritter was 2-5 with a run scored. The Shockers put eleven hits together.
While the Diamondbacks have been playing their best baseball as of late, Sandridge is still very cautious as they get ready for the playoffs.
“It’s gonna be tough, all teams are gonna be tough in the playoffs, especially in a three game series,” Sandridge said. “Everybody’s got pitching for three games, so every game’s gonna be tough in the playoffs.”