Diamondbacks 2012 RCBL Champs
2012 Season
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Stuarts Draft's year: Diamondbacks are the RCBL's champions
By: Doug Layman | For The News Virginian
Published: August 17, 2012

After eight years, the monkey is finally off the back of the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks.

Ryan Cooper scattered seven hits in a nine-inning complete game and collected three hits of his own Thursday night to lead the squad to its first Rockingham County Baseball League championship in a 5-2 win over the Bridgewater Reds.

The series most valuable player finished with two doubles and an RBI single and scored twice before finally getting out on a long fly in the eighth in his final plate appearance. On the mound, he struck out three and walked two.

“It’s indescribable,” Cooper said after the contest at Ray Heatwole Field. “I’ve been second every single time I’ve played in the postseason.”

Cooper played for Elkton from 2003 to 2007, participating in three championship series with the Blue Sox, and he has been with Stuarts Draft for the past five years. But in each of those seasons he ended up with a runner-up trophy.

The Diamondbacks took advantage of some timely hitting and a couple of early errors to plate two first-inning runs.

Corbin Lucas laced a single to center to start the game, and Cooper smacked a one-out double to left field. Consecutive errors by Reds second baseman Ryan McAlister allowed the two early runs.

Bridgewater got one of those back in the bottom of the frame when Chad Rhodes’ two-out double brought home Josh Wright.

Cooper clubbed his second double of the night with two out in the top of the third, and he scored on a flair to left by Brooks Cullen to make it 3-1.

But Bridgewater’s Kevin Bocock was given a one-out walk in the bottom of the frame, and Wright came through with a two-out RBI double to cut the Diamondback’s lead to 3-2.

After Jay Thompson drove a fast ball to the fence in left for a one-out double in the top of the fifth, Cooper knocked a run-scoring single to right to plate Thompson and make it 4-2 in favor of the Diamondbacks.

Cooper then tossed six shutdown innings to take the win, and Stuarts Draft’s Jonathan Sandridge added a run in the ninth when he scampered home on a wild pitch by Josh McDevitt.

“This was amazing,” Cooper said. “At this point of my career, this is all I have left. Some of these younger kids still have college careers, so I’ve taken all this very seriously.”

Minutes after the contest, the 27-year-old was named the tournament’s MVP.

“[Brandon] Clark broke my bat last night. So I had to use a smaller bat and crowd the plate,” he said of his 3-for-4 performance at the plate.

Stuarts Draft skipper Tinker Kiser was glad that his squad picked this season to go all the way.

“This is eight years now that we’ve been a step away — sometimes an out away — and now to finally get it in a year that we really didn’t have high expectations feels really good,” he said.

“We played almost flawless defense during the postseason, getting only three errors in 12 games.”

Stuarts Draft takes 3-2 series lead
Diamondbacks pound Reds, 7-2
By: By Jeanne Spath | For The News Virginian
Published: August 16, 2012
Stuarts Draft, Va. --

Brooks Cullen was looking at a no-hitter Wednesday going into the fifth inning of the fifth game in the Rockingham County Baseball League Championship series for the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks, but gave up a single then counted on his fielders to back him up to get out of the inning.

The Diamondbacks held the Bridgewater Reds to only two runs on four hits at the Diamond Club for a 7-2 win, giving them a 3-2 series lead.

Brandon Clark scored the first run of the night for the Diamondbacks in the second inning on a double hit deep in left field by Jonathan Sandridge.

The third inning brought lead-off hitter Corbin Lucas up to bat with a single to left field followed by a single in the same spot by third baseman Jay Thompson to put runners on first and second. Both Lucas and Thompson advanced on a balk called on Bridgewater pitcher Nick Corbin, setting them into scoring position as first baseman Ryan Cooper came up to bat.

Cooper was out on a fielder’s choice, but got the RBI as Lucas crossed the plate. Wes Dimmit singled to bring Thompson in for the 3-0 lead in the third.

Damon Frazier earned a walk to get on base in the fifth while Elliot Erkel hit a single. Lucass nailed a stand-up double to center field to score Frazier. Thompson followed with a single, then a Reds’ error allowed Erkel and Lucas to score.

Thompson came home on a single by Cooper to put the Diamondbacks ahead 7-0, facing Collin Mitchell on the mound.

Craig Martin, catcher for the Reds got on base on an error and scored on a single by left-fielder Travis Ashby in the seventh, but Cullen sat batters down striking out two of his six strike-outs to get out of the inning.

In the eighth Reds short-stop Josh Wright hammered a homerun over the 350-foot fence to put close the gap 7-2.

The ninth inning brought closer Brandon Zollman in on the mound for the Diamondbacks.

Game 6 gets under way today at Bridgewater with the Diamondbacks hoping to bring home the championship.

Draft routs Bridgewater 9-2 to take 2-0 series lead
By: By Doug Layman | For The News Virginian
Published: August 11, 2012

Bridgewater, Va. --
Stuarts Draft backed up the five-hit pitching of Ryan Cooper with 15 hits of their own to down the Bridgewater Reds 9-2 in Game 2 of the Rockingham County Baseball League Championship series at Ray Heatwole Field Friday night.

Cooper’s curve ball was sharp and his arm motion caused 16 ground ball outs to keep the Bridgewater bats at bay.

The Stuarts Draft native got through eight innings and walked one and hit a batter to improve to 3-0 in the playoffs and to give the Diamondbacks a 2-0 series lead.,

“I was really begging to go in for that last inning,” Cooper said. “But coach [Tinker Kiser] knows what’s best.”

Cooper said he changed the grip on his curve ball and it has a much sharper break than it did early in the season.

“It really has a sharp break now,” Cooper said. “And with my three-quarter arm motion, I’m getting a lot of ground balls.”

The Diamondbacks struck first with a lone run in the top of the third inning. Damon Frazier continued his hot hitting with a double off the top of the wall in left field. Trevor Lam followed with a flare to centerthat  moved Frazier to third. After Brandon Zollman struck out, Corbin Lucas drilled an RBI single to center.

Bridgewater got its first hit in the bottom of the fourth when Josh Wright singled and took second when center fielder Zollman bobbled the ball. But he was stranded at second when Chad Rhodes grounded out and Tyler Hoffman struck out.

Cooper helped his own cause with a solo home run to right field in the top of the sixth.

Bridgewater fell apart in the seventh when the Reds committed three errors.  Ryan Coale led off with a double and Frazier grounded out to short. Coale took off on the throw and was safe on third when he kicked the ball out of the glove of Daniel Heatwole.

Lam then grounded to third but Heatwole could not make a play. Zollman and Lucas both bunted their way on to load the bases and Thompson grounded into what looked like a double play.  Lam scored on the play as the throw to first sailed wide. Zollman came home on the error to make it 5-0.

Bridgewater finally cracked the scoreboard with two runs in the bottom of the frame. Consecutive hits by Craig Martin, Bay Liskey and Travis Ashby accounted for one run and a Josh Mitchell ground-out plated the other.

The Diamondbacks put the game away in the top of the ninth when they finally chased Reds starter Collin Mitchell. Three infield hits set up a two-run single by Cooper. After a walk to Dimitt, Clark hit a sacrifice fly to center to plate Thompson and Cooper scored on an error to give Stuarts Draft a 9-2 lead.

The Stuarts Draft infield had plenty of chances and made several outstanding plays to keep the Reds off base.  Thompson at third, Coale at second, Dimitt at first and Frazier at short were all solid behind Cooper.

“It was an awesome game,” Kiser said. “Our defense has been playing really well lately.”

Thompson led the Diamondbacks with three hits while Corbin, Cooper, Clark, Lam and Zollman collected two each. No Red had more than one hit.

Collin Mitchell took the loss, giving up all 15 hits. He left in the ninth and was charged with all nine runs.

The series will continue on Sunday with Game 3 being played at the Diamond Club.

Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks bash Bridgewater, 9-7

By: Doug Layman | For The News Virginian
Published: August 10, 2012

The long ball was the theme of the night as the Diamondbacks cracked four home runs to outlast Bridgewater 9-7 in Game 1 of the Rockingham County Baseball League championship series at the Diamond Club on Thursday.

Stuarts Draft built a 6-0 lead and had to withstand a furious rally by the Reds before claiming the series opener.

Bridgewater “kept climbing back,” Diamondbacks coach Tinker Kiser said. “Twice [during the regular season] we had big leads only to lose to them, and I told [the squad] that Bridgewater was not going to quit.”

Donovan Huffer hit a solo shot in the second inning to put the hosts on the board, and after a Corbin Lucas RBI single in the third, Brandon Clark followed with a leadoff blast in the fourth.

Not to be outdone, Wes Dimitt clubbed a 300-foot shot just over the fence in right after Jay Thompson and Ryan Cooper reached on errors in the fifth. That made it a 6-0 advantage.

The Reds finally cracked the scoreboard in the top of the sixth to break a 25-inning Diamondbacks scoreless streak dating back to the previous series, against Montezuma.

Stuarts Draft starter Drew Dobbins worked out of trouble in innings three and four when Bridgewater left five runners on base. But he couldn’t hold the potent Red’s offense for long.

Bridgewater’s Josh Wright led off the sixth with a double, and Tyler Hoffman singled to put runners at the corners. Designated hitter Craig Martin promptly followed with a two-run single down the line in right. Dobbins then struck out Bay Liskey and got Travis Ashby to ground out to end the threat.

Reds starter Nick Corbin held Stuarts Draft scoreless in the bottom of the frame, and Bridgewater welcomed D-backs reliever Huffer with a couple more runs in the seventh.

Ninth-place hitter Ryan McAlister drilled a single to right before Huffer walked leadoff batter Kevin Bocock. With two on, Daniel Heatwole smacked a two-run double to the fence in right-center field to make it 6-4.

Ryan Cooper made his only hit of the night stand when he singled with one out in the seventh and scored on a sacrifice fly by Clark.

But Bridgewater went on to knot the score in the top of the eighth. Huffer walked the bases loaded and was relieved by Thompson. The league’s most valuable player gave up a two-run single to Bocock and then issued a one-out walk to Wright.

After striking out Chad Rhodes, Thompson plunked Hoffman with the bases loaded to bring in McAlister for the tying run. But he got Martin to ground harmlessly to first to get out of the inning.

In the bottom of the eighth and with Corbin’s pitch count at more than 110, pinch hitter Elliott Erkel hit a hard one-out single to left. With the hit-and-run on, Erkel reached second on a Brandon Zollman groundout.

Then, with two outs, Lucas connected on Corbin’s 119th pitch of the night — a fastball over the heart of the plate — and blasted it out of the park. It was Lucas’ fourth home run of the season, and it gave the Diamondbacks the 9-7 win.

Lucas had struck out in his previous two plate appearances against Corbin, but he got a pitch he could hit in the eighth.

“I was absolutely livid about those two strikeouts,” Lucas said. “I was looking for another slider, but [Corbin] threw me a fastball, and I went with it.”

Thompson gave up a two-out double to McAlister in the top of the ninth but forced a grounder to Cooper to get the final out. It was Thompson’s first win of the year.

Kiser praised the hitting and alert base running of Erkel, who hasn’t seen many pitches this season. Prior to his first playoff at-bat, he was hitting just .125.

“Elliott got a big hit for us and then kept the inning alive with his base running,” Kiser said. “He probably had the base stolen, but, at any rate, it took away the double play.

“We seemed to get the big hits when we needed to tonight,” Kiser continued. “And Bridgewater left a lot of runners in scoring position. We were fortunate to get this one.”

For Dimitt, it was his fifth homer of the playoffs, while Clark banged his third.

Stuarts Draft leads the series 1-0. Game 2 will be Friday night in Bridgewater.

Diamondbacks quiet Montezuma with a shut out Saturday
By: News Virginian Staff | News Virginian
Published: August 05, 2012

Drew Dobbins tossed a five-hit shutout and the Diamondbacks got home runs from Wes Dimitt and Damon Frazier as Stuarts Draft knocked off Montezuma 8-0 in Game 3 of the semifinals of the Rockingham County Baseball League championship Saturday night.

Dobbins was crisp all night with a sharp curve ball and good control. He struck out five and didn't walk a batter.

The Braves' starter, Aaron Swope, was nearly equal to the task through the first four innings. But the Stuarts Draft bats came alive in the fifth.

The Diamondbacks were held to just two hits in the first four frames, but Ryan Coale opened the bottom of the fifth with an infield hit. He moved to second on a wild pitch that struck out Frazier and landed on third on a Ryan Fitzgerald grounder for the second out.

But Corbin Lucas drilled a hard single to right to plate Coale to give the hosts the 1-0 lead. Jay Thompson followed with a slow grounder that Braves' third baseman Josh Martin threw to second too late to get Coale. Ryan Cooper them smacked a double to the center field fence to score two more.

Stuarts Draft added a tally in the sixth when Frazier's double off the top center field fence brought in Coale who was hit with a Swope pitch.

Swope -- who finished with 15 strikeouts on the night -- continued his hard luck as Lucas led off the seventh by reaching on an error. After Lucas stole second, Cooper knocked him home with an RBI single.  Dimitt followed with his fourth homer of the season to make it 7-0.

After his fence-topping double in the sixth, Frazier made no doubt with his first home run of the year to lead off the eighth. The shot came off reliever Charles Goff.

Dobbins ran his record to 5-3 and dropped his earned run average to 4.03.

Cooper and Frazier led the way with two hits each. Adam Brunk and Martin had two hits apiece for Montezuma.

Game 4 will be played in Montezuma on Monday.

Diamondback All Stars
Wes Dimmit at catcher, Ryan Cooper at first, infielder Jay Thompson, outfielders Corbin Lucas and Brooks Cullen, and pitchers Chris Henkel and Drew Dobbins.

Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks win an odd one
Ejection in 7th inning leaves opponent with too few players

Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks
By: BY JEANNE SPATH | The News Virginian
Published: July 29, 2012

The first game of a best-of-three playoff series ended abruptly in the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday with the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks up 8-1 over the Elkton Blue Sox.

The Blue Sox’s Chad Byers disagreed with the base umpire when he was called out running to first and was ejected from the game. That came after several calls were questioned by Elkton’s manager Sam LeBeau.

The ejection left the Blue Sox with only eight players on the field.

“I checked the rulebook and couldn’t find anything about playing with eight players in the playoffs,” Diamondbacks manager Tinker Kiser said, “but they said they wouldn’t play with only eight.”

The Diamondbacks took the early lead in the game with Jay Thompson hitting a
stand-up double and scoring on a Blue Sox error. Ryan Cooper singled to left field and scored, followed by a single by Brandon Clark who scored on a single by Damon Frazier.

Ryan Fitzgerald hit a single to left field and stole home to put the Diamondbacks up 4-0 in the first inning.

Elkton’s J.J. Loker scored Elkton’s only run of the night with a homer over the 320-foot fence in right field in the fourth inning.

Lead-off hitter Lucas started off the fifth inning with a single, followed by Thompson’s second stand-up double of the night that scored Lucas.

Thompson crossed the plate with a stolen base that brought first baseman Wes Dimmit up to bat.

Dimmit hit the ball over the 330-foot fence in left field for a home run.

Ryan Coale singled in the sixth and scored on a triple by Lucas. The triple resulted in Lucas sliding in under Elkton third baseman Joe Tratraska’s glove, which led to LeBeau’s argument with the umpire.

Cooper took the win on the mound for the Diamondbacks, giving up only three hits and striking out nine batters.

The Diamondbacks, who finished the regular season in second place, will travel tonight to Elkton for Game 2.

Stuarts Draft withstands rain, wins, 8-2
By: Doug Layman | For The News Virginian
Published: July 15, 2012

Donovan Huffer tossed 5.1 scoreless innings in his first start, and Wes Dimmit hit a three-run homer to lift Stuarts Draft to an 8-2 rain-soaked win over Montezuma in Rockingham County Baseball League action at the Diamond Club on Saturday night.

Huffer (Buffalo Gap/Concord College) was a last-minute replacement for the Diamondbacks as Manager Tinker Kiser tried to save some arms on his overworked staff. He changed his mind during the 30-minute rain delay.

"We were planning on starting [Ryan] Coop[er], but changed it to Donovan, and he did a great job," Kiser said.

Cooper (Stuarts Draft/Ferrum) did pitch 1.2 innings of relief, but will still be available early next week as the Diamondbacks play important back-to-back games with Bridgewater.

The Braves (10-9) stranded 13 runners in the game as Donovan and his two relievers pitched out of several jams.

The contest started with a sense of urgency as a steady rain fell throughout the game and both pitchers wasted little time between innings and between pitches.

"Everybody was panicking in case it was a five-inning game," Kiser said. "We were forcing some action."

The first inning was a good example of that as Jay Thompson (Waynesboro/Bridgewater College) was thrown out at second trying to stretch a single into a double. It allowed Braves starter Johnny Walker a six-pitch inning.

After the Braves stranded two runners in scoring position in the top of the second, Stuarts Draft (14-7)  opened the scoring in the bottom of the frame.

Brandon Clark (Waynesboro/Eastern Mennonite) led off with a single, but was erased at second on a fielder's choice off the bat of Jonathan Sandridge (Stuarts Draft/Glenville State). Trevor Lam (FortDefiance) then coaxed a walk from Walker, and Dimmit (Stuarts Draft/Bluefield College) launched a shot that just cleared the fence in the 300-foot left field corner. It was his first homer of the season.

"We were doing everything we could [after the homer] to get five innings in and make it a game," Kiser said. "But we were also able to relax after that and just play ball."

Montezuma again left two runners on in the third as Stuarts Draft added another run with a Thompson double and an RBI single by Huffer.

Huffer then provided the hosts with a 1-2-3 shut-down inning as he retired the Braves in order in the top of the fourth. But he got in trouble in the fifth, allowing runners with a hit, an error and a walk. But Huffer got Tyler Milstead to fly out to end the threat. 

The Diamondbacks added an unearned run in the fifth on another Donovan RBI single and finally put the game away with three runs in the sixth.

Corbin Lucas (Fort Defiance/Shenandoah University) drilled the first pitch he saw from Walker down the right field line for a bases-clearing double to chase Walker.

Montezuma scored single runs in the seventh and ninth innings.

Huffer (1-0) picked up the win, but got help from Cooper (1.2 innings, two hits) and Seth Berry (Wilson Memorial/Tusculum College), who threw the final two innings. He gave up one run and two walks but allowed no hits.

Walker took the loss, giving up all eight runs on 10 hits. He issued two walks and did not strike out a batter.

Stuarts Draft had 11 hits with Lucas, Thompson, Huffer and Dimmit smacking two each.

The Diamondbacks will hit the road to Bridgewater on Tuesday and return home Wednesday to face those same Reds in the final week of the regular season.

The loss moves Montezuma into a tie with Bridgewater for third place in the RCBL, three games back of Stuarts Draft.

D'backs shock the Shockers, 7-3
By: News Virginian Staff | News Virginian
Published: July 14, 2012
On Friday night, the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks broke out the bats and went to work on the way to a win over the visiting New Market Shockers, 7-3.

Chris Henkel pulled off the win, pitching 6 innings, allowing 3 runs, 7 hits and striking out 3. Brandon Zollman finished the night, also striking out 3.

The Diamondbacks will play host to Montezuma tonight in an important league game.

Clover Hill quiets Stuarts Draft's bats in 5-1 win
By: Doug Layman | For The News Virginian
Published: June 28, 2012
Clover Hill quietly showed Stuarts Draft why it has a hold on the top spot in the Rockingham County Baseball League on Wednesday.
And for the second time in two tries, the Bucks silenced the Diamondback bats in a 5-1 RCBL win at the Diamond Club to stop the hosts' 10-game winning streak.
Former Stuarts Draft Cougar Shane Banks led the Bucks with four hits and two RBI -- including his solo home run in the third -- while teammate Devon Snow also added four hits, scored two runs and knocked in another.
Clover Hill hurler Cory Armentrout was equally effective, going eight strong innings while allowing just six hits and three walks. Jimmy Hamilton pitched the ninth and allowed one hit.
The Bucks (13-2) jumped on Draft starter Chris Henkel for single runs in each of the first three innings to grab the early lead. Clover Hill was able to get the lead-off runner aboard in four of the first five innings.
Snow led off the game with a hard liner to center and he scored on a Banks two-out double. Diamondback's right fielder Corbin Lucas nearly made the sensational catch but the ball bounced out when the crashed into the fence.
Then, in the second, designated hitter Josh Eberly was hit by a 1-2 Henkel pitch. A sacrifice and two infield hits later, he found the plate for a 2-0 lead.
Banks opened the third frame with a homer to left, this time making sure that Lucas had no chance to make the catch.
Henkel settled down and allowed two harmless singles over the next three innings to keep the Bucks in check.
The Diamondbacks (10-4) scored their lone run in the sixth to make it 3-1.  Catcher Wes Dimmit coaxed a one-out walk and he moved to second on a Armentrout wild pitch.  An out later, Brandon Clark drilled a hard grounder to center. Dimmit -- who was moving on contact -- scored ahead of Andrew Weaver's throw.
"We got that one run and I thought we might have a chance [to come back] but we couldn't do it," Stuarts Draft Manager Tinker Kiser said.
Clover Hill added a couple of insurance runs in the eighth off reliever Brooks Cullen. Ian Eberly reached on a one-out bunt and Snow followed with a hard hit to center that made it all the way to the fence. Eberly scored on the hit and error and Snow went all the way to third. He would score on a wild pitch to cap the scoring at 5-1.
Brandon Zollman was the bright spot in the lineup for the Diamondbacks, going 3-for-4 at the plate out of the ninth spot in the order. He also stole a base in the third inning.
Clark also singled in the fourth and finished with two hits on the night. The duo finished with five of Stuarts Draft's seven hits.
The Diamondbacks left 10 runners on base and squandered several chances to score.
"We had runners in scoring position, but we couldn't get them in," Kiser said. "[Armentrout] threw a good game against us."
Kiser sang the praises of Henkel, who tossed seven innings, gave up 11 hits, but walked just one Buck.
"[Chris] pitched well," he said. "Any time you can hold Clover Hill to three runs in seven innings, you've done a good job."

Stuarts Draft, now 2 1/2 games back, will travel to Elkton on Friday. The RCBL All-Star Game will be held on Saturday at Clover Hill. Representing the Diamondbacks will be Dimmit at catcher, Ryan Cooper at first, infielder Jay Thompson, outfielders Lucas and Cullen, and pitchers Henkel and Drew Dobbins.

Diamondbacks hold on to defeat the Elkton Blue Sox, 4-1
By: Doug Layman | For The News Virginian
Published: June 23, 2012

Ryan Cooper pitched seven solid innings and Seth Berry scored a run and knocked in two more as the Diamondbacks outlasted the Elkton Blue Sox, 4-1, in Rockingham County Baseball League action at the Diamond Club on Friday night.

Cooper allowed a hit in six of his seven innings -- including a home run to the Blue Sox left fielder Chad Byers -- but struck out 10 batters and gave up no walks.

Stuarts Draft manager Tinker Kiser was pleased with the effort that Cooper and reliever Drew Dobbins gave his squad.

"Coop[er] did a great job for us," said after the game. "And Drew came in and shut [Elkton] down."

Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks gave Cooper plenty of support offensively as the team amassed 10 hits. Jay Thompson, Berry and Ryan Coale had two hits apiece for Stuarts Draft (9-3).

Draft started quickly out of the gate as Player-of-the-Week Corbin Lucas opened the game with a hit just past third. Brandon Zollman's ground-out to first base sent Lucas to second and Thompson brought him home with a line drive to center.

The Diamondbacks added another run in the second inning with some help from the Blue Socks battery.

Berry opened the frame with a single to center and moved to second on a passed ball and moved to third on a wild pitch. Coale drove in the run with a two-out line drive down the third base line to give the hosts a 2-0 lead.

Thompson's second hit opened the third inning for Stuarts Draft and Cooper followed with a double. Berry lined the very next pitch to center to plate both runners and suddenly, the Diamondbacks had a comfortable 4-0 lead.

That's when Cooper gave up the shot by Byers -- his first of the year -- over the left-center field fence. Byers was the only Blue Sox player to get past second base until pinch runner Ryan Cale was stranded at third in the top of the seventh.

Dobbins came in to pitch the final two innings to pick up his first save, giving up just one hit and striking out two.

"Dob[bins] is a lot more comfortable in the starter's role, but he got it done tonight," Kiser said.

Kiser also praised the hitting of his team.

"We got some timely hits tonight. Coop, Seth [Berry] -- they gave us some good hits and Coale's two-out hit in the second was big."

Stuarts Draft will travel to Bridgewater on Tuesday while Elkton will play at Broadway on Saturday.

Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks bring the bats to Broadway Bruins matchup
Credit: Rosanne Weber/The News Virginian
By: Doug Layman | For The News Virginian
Published: June 19, 2012

Chris Henkel tossed 8 2/3 innings of shut-out ball and Ryan Cooper had three hits -- including a two-run homer -- and three RBI as the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks outplayed the Broadway Bruins 4-2 in Rockingham County Baseball League action at the Diamond Club Field on Monday.

Henkel was sharp throughout, using curve to compliment his fastball. The two runs he gave up in the top of the ninth were unearned.

"Chris threw a heck of a ball game," Diamondback Manager Tinker Kiser said. "I probably should have brought in a closer to help him out, but we just don't have the [pitching] depth."

Henkel threw 111 pitches, gave up just five hits, two walks and struck out six. He didn't allow a runner past second base until the sixth inning.

Stuarts Draft (7-3) scratched out a couple of runs in the first inning when Corbin Lucas opened the game with a walk and Brooks Cullen followed with a single. After a walk to Jay Thompson, Cooper drove in Lucas  with a single. Cullen also scored on the play as the throw from left field bounced past the Bruins catcher.

Cooper drove in the final two runs in the bottom of the third inning with a deep homer to left. Thompson had set the table with a lead-off single.

"Ryan had a good night at the plate," Kiser said. "He was seeing the ball really well."

Cooper also had a deep fly ball to center in the fourth and added a two-out single in the seventh.

Broadway (5-4) made things interesting in the ninth.

After Henkel got Elisha Hill on a fly ball and struck out Walker Turner, Kyle Weston reached on an error. Terry Staton followed with a walk and both scored on a double by Chase Dobbs. But Henkel got out of the jam with a ground-out by Derek Cook.

Thompson joined Cooper with a good night at the plate with two hits and a run scored.

Dobbs paced the Bruins with two hits and two RBI in three plate appearances.

With the win, Stuarts Draft inched closer to league-leading Clover Hill at just a game back. The Diamondbacks will travel to Bridgewater Tuesday while Broadway will host Clover Hill on Thursday.

Stuarts Draft takes fifth in a row
The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks made it five victories in a row Wednesday night, besting the Montezuma Braves at home, 5-3, with Ryan Cooper picking up the win on the mound.

The Diamondbacks took it to a ninth inning nail-biter for the fans. The squad was up 5-2 going into the inning, then closing pitcher Brooks Cullen loaded the bases, and Nolan Shafer scored for the Braves’ third run of the night.

Stuarts Draft’s Jay Thompson, who was named the Rockingham County Baseball League Player of the Week, struggled to get on base for the D’backs. He hammered two outs to center and earned a base-on-balls before Montezuma pitcher Josh Burton struck him out swinging in the bottom of the sixth.

Thompson came into the game 10-for-14.

The Braves took an early lead beginning with a stand-up double by second baseman Adam Brunk. Brunk sailed past third to score on a single by first baseman Beau Banglesdorf, and catcher Ryan Smith scored on a single by designated hitter Aaron Swope to make it 2-0.

Cooper claimed the first of two RBI as his hit tipped Montezuma’s third baseman John Sicillano’s glove and fell to the ground, giving Corbin Lucas room to score.

Cullen then stole home to tie the score at 2, but Stuarts Draft ended the inning with the bases loaded.

The D’backs came back in the fourth with a pair of hits by Wes Dimmit and Trevor Lam. Dimmit scored on a single by Damon Frazier, and Lam crossed home on a hit deep into center field by Lucas to edge the D’backs ahead, 4-2.

After striking out four, Cooper turned the mound over to Cullen in the eighth. He finished off the Braves in the top of the inning, and then hit a double in the bottom of the eighth to score Lam.

The Diamondbacks faced three Braves pitchers Wednesday night. Starter Chandis Goff gave up four walks in five innings. Burton came in for two innings, giving up three walks while claiming a pair of strikeouts. And Johnny Walker closed it out for Montezuma.

The Diamondbacks travel to New Market on Friday.

RCBL: Diamondbacks blank Shockers

STUARTS DRAFT — Stuarts Draft’s Chris Henkel pitched a complete-game four-hitter Sunday night as the Diamondbacks blanked the New Market Shockers 2-0 in a Rockingham County Baseball League makeup game.
The Diamondbacks were playing their fourth game in four days, and they won all four.
Henkel struck out six and walked only one in the route-going performance.
Corbin Lucas gave Henkel all the offense he needed with a home run in the third inning.
Jay Thompson added a pair of hits to the Stuarts Draft attack.
The Diamondbacks are home again Wednesday for a visit from the Montezuma Braves.
News Leader
Written by
Staff Report
D'backs top Bruins

STUARTS DRAFT — Stuarts Draft secured its third win in three days Saturday as the Diamondbacks stopped the Bridgewater Reds 8-5 in Rockingham County Baseball League play.

Drew Dobbins pitched seven-plus innings for the victory. He scattered five hits, allowed three earned runs and struck out nine.

Jay Thompson paced the offense with three hits and three runs scored. Ryan Cooper also had three hits with two RBIs and two runs, while Seth Berry added two hits and two RBIs.

The Diamondbacks play their fourth game in as many days tonight with a home makeup game against New Market.

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Staff Report

BROADWAY — For the second straight night, the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks knocked off the Broadway Bruins, this time 9-3 Friday in Rockingham County Baseball League play.
The Diamondbacks had routed Broadway 18-4 on Thursday in Stuarts Draft.
In the rematch, Jay Thompson had a perfect night at the plate, going 5-for-5, including a double and triple, and three RBIs. Wes Dimitt added a pair of hits.
Ryan Cooper got the victory on the mound, pitching three-hit ball over six innings. He struck out nine and allowed two unearned runs.
The Diamondbacks host Bridgewater tonight and are home again Sunday for a game against New Market.
News Leader
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Diamondbacks rout Bruins
STUARTS DRAFT — The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks pounded the Broadway Bruins 18-4 Thursday night in Rockingham County Baseball League play.

Brooks Cullen got the win on the mound and aided his cause at the plate with two hits and two RBIs.

Jay Thompson collected three hits and four RBIs, while Brandon Zollman added two hits and three RBIs.

The Diamondbacks are home tonight for a visit from the Bridgewater Reds.

— Staff Report

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Diamondbacks ready to make noise in RCBL
STUARTS DRAFT — The Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks have been on the cusp of winning the Rockingham County Baseball League championship for four years, but Clover Hill won’t get out of the way.

The Bucks have beaten the Diamondbacks four straight years for the title. In two of those four years, the two teams have tied for the regular season title and been forced into one-game playoffs.

The seven-team RCBL, which kicked off the 2012 season Friday and naturally pitted the Bucks and Diamondbacks locking up on opening night in Clover Hill, also features teams in Bridgewater, Broadway, Montezuma, Elkton and New Market. Teams play a 24-game schedule.

The Diamondbacks return the nucleus of last year’s team, with several younger players being added to the mix. The team sports two former league MVPs, two former rookies of the year and at least one returning pitcher of the year.

Brooks Cullen was the ace of the pitching staff last summer, hurling over 80 innings. He struck out 94 and had a 1.34 ERA. Other veteran pitchers on the staff in Ryan Cooper, Drew Dobbins, Brandon Zollman, Randall Stevens, Seth Berry and Donovan Huffer. Rookie hurlers include Ryan Fitzgerald, Damon Frazier, Chris Henkel and Elliot Erkel.

The Diamondbacks have a potent offense returning that outscored the opponent 251-164 last year that helped the team finish with a 23-15 record. Huffer led the RCBL with a .442 average. He also had 20 RBIs and six homers. Cooper’s 11 homers and 42 RBIs paced the league and Cullen hits .391 with 30 RBIs and five dingers.

Brandon Clark (.353/6/29), Jay Thompson (.331/6/32), Wes Dimitt (.354/3/11) all return to add punch. Draft had seven players hit over .300 last season.

Defensively, the Diamondbacks’ outfield features Cullen, Zollman and Clark. Veterans Terrell Thompson, Dobbins and rookies Jonathan Sandridge, Joey Varaksa and Erkel will also see time in the outfield.

The infield has Jay Thompson at third, Huffer at short and Cooper at first. Berry and second-year player Corbin Lucas will be challenged for playing time in the infield by rookies Trevor Lam and Frazier.

Dimitt and rookie Ryan Coale will catch.

The Diamondbacks have their 2012 home opener Tuesday against the New Market Shockers at the Diamond Club. All RCBL games start at 7:30 p.m.
Photo Gallery
Stuarts Draft Baptist Church - Performing National Anthem - Dub Beynon on Trumpet
Jody Marion awarded autographed baseball and bat for her service to the Diamond Club
Congratulations to Ryan Cooper  Championship Series MVP
Congratulations to Jay Thompson 2012 RCBL Most Valuable Player