HiToms fly off with doubleheader sweep
When the soft liner off his bat was caught in shallow center field with one out in the bottom of the ninth, Evan Stephens didn’t know if it would be good enough to score pinch-runner Domineke Albert.
It wasn’t shallow enough to drop in for a single. But even though the throw home was on the mark, the reserve catcher slid under the tag, giving the HiToms a 2-1 victory over the Mustangs as they rallied from a run down in the first game of a Coastal Plain League doubleheader Friday at Finch Field.
The HiToms took Game 2 2-0 to complete the sweep.
“I hit it pretty well on the bat but I got under it a little bit late,” Stephens said. “I didn’t know if it would get the job done. But we had Domineke ready to go on third base. He’s pretty fast and picked me up.”
The victories nudged the HiToms over the. 500-mark. But, HiToms coach Zach Brown thought it significant that his team was finally able to rally in the final inning.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Brown said. “We’ve had at least five games where we’ve trailed by a run and had guys in scoring position late in the game and not got them home. Earlier this week, we had the bases loaded and nobody out in the ninth and couldn’t pull it off. It’s good feeling from them to know what it is like to have success in that kind of game.”
The game was scoreless through five innings as the HiToms’ Jonathan Rosenberger and Jarrod Jameson of Martinsville engaged in a pitchers’ duel. Martinsville finally broke the scoring ice in the sixth when Josh Alberius led off with a double — the Mustangs first hit since Devin Ahart opened the game with a single — went to third on sacrifice bunt and scored on Eric Renegar’s single to left.
The HiToms tied it when Dykota Spiess hit a liner to center that scored Kyle Brandenburg and sent Albert to third as he ran for Jared Allen, who had lifted a pop fly that fell between three Mustangs on the outfield grass behind shortstop.
Rosenberger gave up five hits, the one run, struck out six and allowed no walks in picking up the win with his strong outing.
“I finally felt like I did in school this year,” said Rosenberger, who goes to Newberry. “I felt good. The offspeed stuff was working well and I had good control.
“I was fairly confident that we would score. We haven’t been shut out much this year. As soon as Kyle got a hit to lead off the inning, I thought we would score.”
In the second game, James Lively (2-2) had seven strikeouts in 5.1 scoreless frames, surrendering only two hits and one walk. Brandon Landrie earned his first save with a perfect seventh as the HiToms won their fourth straight game to improve to 12-10. Martinsville lost its fifth straight game to fall to 6-16.
An error on second baseman Keelin Rasch in a second inning bases loaded situation scored the HiToms’ first run of the game in the nightcap. Jared Allen then popped his first home run of the year in the fourth to give the home team the 2-0 advantage.
The HiToms begin a three-game road trip by traveling to Asheboro Saturday. First pitch is at 7 p.m.
HITOMS TAME MUSTANGS
MARTINSVILLE, Va. — The HiToms scored four in the fifth and four in the seventh in an 8-6 victory over the Martinsville Mustangs at Hooker Field late Thursday night.
Nick Miller (1-0) earned the win for the HiToms, allowing three unearned runs on five hits with a pair of walks and two strikeouts.
Evan Stephens went 2 for 3 with a run scored and an RBI triple for the HiToms. Ryan Cooper finished 2 for 5 with two RBIs for the HiToms.