By Bill Meade
MONTEZUMA, August 7 — The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks were eagerly looking forward to having another shot at dethroning Rockingham County Baseball League perennial power Clover Hill.
On Tuesday night, they did their part, eliminating homestanding Montezuma 4-0 with an impressive pitching performance from Chris Henkel and reliever Jay Thompson. But, just several miles away, the Bridgewater Reds did the deed for the D’backs, knocking out the five-time defending champions in a decisive game five in Clover Hill.
The two results set up a best of seven series for the 2012 RCBL championship between Stuarts Draft, the four-time bridesmaid to Clover Hill for the past four seasons and fourth-seeded Bridgewater.Game one of the championship series begins Thursday at the Diamond Club in the Draft.
Two home runs provided all the offense of the night Tuesday, as the D’backs Wes Dimitt and Brandon Clark hit two-run shots over the fence in the fourth and eighth innings respectively.Other than the two homers, Montezuma starter Alex Foltz matched Henkel for effectiveness.
Dimitt, a Stuarts Draft High School grad went deep off Foltz in the fourth after another ex-Cougar, Ryan Cooper, singled and moved to second on an outfield error.Baserunners for the Braves were at a premium as a stellar defense behind Henkel kept Montezuma off the scoreboard.
In the top of the eighth, Dimitt drilled a base hit down the third base line before Clark jacked Foltz’ pitch over the right-center field fence, giving the Draft a four-run cushion.Thompson relieved Henkel in the bottom of the eighth and surrendered one single before closing the door. He came back to strike out the side in the bottom of the ninth after issuing one base on balls.Henkel only allowed two hits in his seven innings of work.
“Clover Hill and us is a good rivalry,” Dimitt said. It would be nice to beat them, but we’ll take whoever.” Dimitt had three hits for the D-backs, who won the Montezuma series three games to one.”This was a good series, we pitched about perfect tonight,” said D’backs skipper Orvin Kiser.Stuarts Draft pitching shut out the Braves in back-to-back games.
The team celebrates after Dimitt’s homerun.