Bridgewater College Baseball Players in the Rockingham County Baseball League

Ten Eagles Competed With and Against Each Other This Past Summer


Leyton Pullin

Ten current Bridgewater Eagles played at parks across the RCBL this summer including Rebel Park, pictured here.

Leyton Pullin, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va. – Eight returning Eagles decided to play summer ball in the local Rockingham County Baseball League. The RCBL is the second oldest baseball league in the country only to Major League Baseball. 

In season number 96, the RCBL faced several changes as commissioner Randy Atkins and the league would decide to play a 21-game season, running from late June to early August, compared to the usual 28 games that are played over the span of the summer. 

Four returning Eagles played for the hometown Bridgewater Reds, who finished 11-10 on the year and were eliminated in a five game semifinal by the eventual champion Broadway Bruins. 

Senior Jacob Grabeel played outfield for the Reds and hit .342 with two home runs and seven stolen bases. He hit primarily in the leadoff and number nine spot in the lineup. 

Hometown product junior Waring Garber also played for the Reds as both a pitcher and an infielder. On the mound, Garber went 2-2 with a 10.71 ERA in six games. At the plate, Garber hit .267 in the regular season appearing in eight games, primarily at third base. 

Junior Brett Tharpe also joined his teammates with the Reds. The West Virginia native, much like Garber, served in both a hitting and pitching role for the Reds. He was 3-0 with a 8.10 ERA in five appearances. At the plate, Tharpe hit .194 and played all over the infield. Tharpe split time with former James Madison University star, Derek Shifflett, and a few others at shortstop. 

Junior Jonathan Sexton hit .333 at the plate for the Reds and was the primary catcher for the team. Sexton added two home runs, one of which was a go ahead two-run homerun for the Reds in a key game on the postseason push.

Senior Kevin Navedo was the lone returning Eagle to play for the Clover Hill Bucks. The Harrisonburg native hit .365 with 15 RBI in 17 games. The senior found his playing time coming in the infield at second base. 

The Grottoes Cardinals also had a single returning Eagle in sophomore infielder Isiah Blanks. Blanks saw most of his action at second base for the Cardinals. Blanks hit .204 for the Cardinals with eight RBI, including a walk off base hit in extra innings over Stuarts Draft. 

The Montezuma Braves had a pair of returning Eagles. Juniors P.J. Hanisack and Keegan Oliver both played their summer ball at Ruritan Park. Oliver took the mound seven times with a 1-1 record, coming out of the bullpen all but once. Hanisak played in 20 games for the Braves and hit .299 with 17 RBI and 19 strikeouts. 

Two new Eagles also made appearances in the RCBL. Incoming Freshman Elijah Dunlap played with the Grottoes Cardinals as both an infielder and a pitcher. Dunlap hit .133 in nine games for the Cardinals, mostly coming into pinch hitting situations. On the mound, Dunlap threw eight innings, and muscled a 2-1 record for the Cardinals in his second season with the team. 

The second new Eagle is transfer Mason Mitchell from Potomac State College. Mitchell played for the Bridgewater Reds both on the mound and in the infield. Much like his teammate Tharpe, he too split time with Shifflett at shortstop and also with Garber at third base. Mitchell hit .346 with 20 RBI during the regular season. 

Navedo and Grabeel were also selected to the ALL-RCBL Team for their efforts for their respective teams throughout the season. 

Bridgewater men’s baseball head coach Ben Spotts called the league “a great playing opportunity for our guys.” 

The Eagles, much like most of the teams at Bridgewater College, are in a holding pattern until Sept. 19, when they resume their out-of-season practices.