2020 RCBL Preview: Montezuma Braves

Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 4:16 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The Montezuma Braves could be a team to watch as an under-the-radar championship contender in the Rockingham County Baseball League in 2020.

The Braves are coming off a 2019 season in which Montezuma went 12-16 overall in the regular season before losing to Broadway in the quarterfinals of the RCBL Playoffs. In preparing for the 2020 campaign, the Braves loaded up on pitching with a few of those players coming from the NCAA Division I level.

“The one thing that we really lacked last year, especially as we got towards the end of the season into the playoffs, was pitching,” said Montezuma manager Chris Rush. “So we really went after some additional pitchers this year. Both from the starting aspect and from the bullpen.”

Left-handed hurler Matt Sykes (George Mason) returns after throwing 31.2 innings for the Braves last summer while striking out 32 batters and compiling a 5.11 ERA. RHP Jacob Haney (William & Mary) is expected to play a big role on the mound in 2020 along with LHP Andrew Ward (VCU baseball commit) and Garrett Payne (NC State commit).

Offensively, the Braves are led by Luke Paczewski who earned RCBL Rookie of the Year honors in 2019 when he batted .400 with 16 RBI and seven doubles. Catcher Adam Hackenberg, who plays collegiately at Clemson University, is expected to be an impact bat for the Braves along with Will Wagner, an infielder from Liberty University. Gavin Rush (INF) and Kyle Armstrong (OF/INF/P) are a pair of veterans who will also play important roles for the Braves in 2020.

“We have everything it’s going to take to win this league,” said Armstrong. “I 100% believe that, there’s no doubt.”

Montezuma is scheduled to open the 2020 season Saturday, June 27 with a home doubleheader against Grottoes. First pitch of game one is set for 5 p.m.

2020 Montezuma Braves Team Preview

Manager: Chris Rush

2019 Season: 12-16 Overall (lost to Broadway, 2-1, in quarterfinals of RCBL Playoffs)

Key Hitters (2019 Stats)

Luke Paczewski (INF): .400 Batting Average, 16 RBI, 7 doubles - RCBL Rookie of the Year

Adam Hackenberg (C): Member of Clemson University baseball team

Will Wagner (INF): Member of Liberty University baseball team

Key Pitchers (2019 Stats)

Matt Sykes (LHP): 31.2 Innings Pitched, 5.11 ERA, 32 Strikeouts

Jacob Haney (RHP): Member of William & Mary baseball team

Andrew Ward (LHP): VCU baseball commit

For more information on the Montezuma Braves, click here.

2020 RCBL Previews

New Market Shockers

Grottoes Cardinals

Clover Hill Bucks

Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks

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