HiToms end first half with 3-1 loss vs. Fayetteville

Jun. 30, 2014 @ 11:36 PM

The High Point-Thomasville HiToms are perhaps relieved to see the first half of the Coastal Plain League season end.

In what has been a frustrating habit this season, they outhit their opponent, played good defense and pitched solidly enough but just couldn’t score runs in falling 3-1 against the Fayetteville SwampDogs on Monday at Finch Field.

Even still, if they play a good second half, then the Petitt Cup playoffs are still likely within reach.

“You are 0-0 (going into the second half), but you still have to pay attention to your overall record,” High Point-Thomasville manager Austin Love said, “... If we can just get into the playoffs with the overall record – ideally we want to win the second half – but if we can just get in, that’s the goal.”

At least some of their misfortune of late has been because of injuries. Weston Wilson and Jared Allen are done for the summer season, while Alec Paradowski and Logan Taylor have missed the last few games but are expected back this week.

With a different lineup, the HiToms (12-16) were sporadic at the plate. They did have a couple opportunities in the sixth and seventh innings, scoring on Glenn Batson’s sacrifice fly in the sixth, but were thrown out going to third in the sixth and at the plate in the seventh.

“We’re trying to piece it together with what we have,” said Love, who credited Fayetteville with two great defensive plays. “We have enough to be competitive and win. It’s making sure all the guys are putting forth the same effort to go in the same direction and do what we need to do.”

Meanwhile, the SwampDogs (12-14) capitalized on just a couple chances against High Point-Thomasville pitchers, handing Jordan Simons (1-2) the loss. They scored twice in the third on Michael Bozarth’s solo home run and Kam Stewart’s bases-loaded walk to lead 2-0.

Then, after the HiToms came to life in the later innings, Stewart hit a ground-rule double into the dead-ball area down the right-field line that scored an insurance run. That lead was enough for Fayetteville, which totaled just three hits for the game against High Point-Thomasville’s six.

Rayne Raven (2-1) got the win in seven innings pitched for the SwampDogs, while Seth Laigast picked up the save. Simons allowed just one hit while striking out eight in six innings but struggled with six walks. Austin Crutcher had two hits, including a double, to lead the HiToms.

After a day off Tuesday, High Point-Thomasville begins the second half Wednesday at home against Asheboro.