Snakes Rally, Hold On To Win 8-7

Updated June 28 2017

After staking the visiting Martinsville Mustangs to a five-run lead, the Asheboro Copperheads came off the deck to score eight unanswered runs and then hung on for dear life in the ninth and escaped with an 8-7 Wednesday night at McCrary Park.

The win, coupled with Tuesday night victory at HP-Thomasville, gave the Copperheads back-to-back victories for only the second time this season. They are now 9-16 with three games left in the CPL first half. They will visit Lexington County Thursday night before home games with Florence and Savannah on Friday and Saturday nights, respectively. Martinsville is now 12-11.

The Copperheads got some clutch hits and a lot of help from some sloppy Martinsville defense to wipe out their early 5-0 deficit in the sixth.  The Mustangs made three errors in the inning, hit a batter and served up a bases loaded walk. But Asheboro did have a couple of big hits. Centerfielder Clark Brinkman (Creighton) had one of his three hits in the game to drive in the first run and later in the inning catcher Alex Balter (Tennessee Wesleyan) had a big two-run single to close the gap to 5-4. The Mustangs committed two errors on one play moments later that allowed two more runs to score and gave the Copperheads the lead for good.

Asheboro went on to add single runs in the seventh and eighth to build its lead to 8-5, but in the ninth big first baseman Zach Michalski (NC Central) belted a two-run homer off Copperhead reliever Hunter Smith (Memphis) with no outs - his second two-run shot of the game - and the Mustangs put two more runners on board via a single and base on balls before Smith finally got back on track and ended the game with a strike out and two infield grounders.

Asheboro starter John Alan Kendrick (Penn) got his first win of the season despite a rocky start. Kendrick settled down somewhat and wound up with 10 strikeouts. He left the game after the top of the sixth trailing 5-0, but got bailed out when his teammates put the six spot up in the bottom of the frame. Jonah Owenby (NC A&T) pitched a scoreless seven and Jacob Craver (Charlotte) came on in the eighth, but had control issues and left in favor of Smith with two outs. Smith came on with the bases full and two outs and got out of the jam with a ground ball. He then ran into issues of his on in the ninth when Michalski homered after a leadoff error, but he managed to wiggle out of the mess and earn his third save.

Brinkman went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, an RBI and a stolen base. Shortstop Jeremy Simpson (Catawba) was the only other Copperhead with two hits. All nine ouf Asheboro’s hits were singles.

While Martinsville helped the Copperheads in the sixth with a defensive breakdown, Asheboro did itself no favors either with some shoddy defense, committing a season-high five errors.

The game with the Bananas on Saturday night will mark the end of the first half and Sunday night’s game with the Owls will begin the second half.

The Coastal Plain League is the nation’s premier summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 22nd season in 2018, the CPL features 16 teams playing in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The CPL has had over 1,450 alumni drafted and 109 of those – including 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander – make their Major League debut; while another notable alum – Russell Wilson – won Super Bowl XLVIII. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at and follow us via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat @CPLBaseball..


David Camp