Updated June 29 2017
For the second straight night the Asheboro Copperheads spotted their Coastal Plain League for an early lead, then rallied in the later stages of the game and pulled out a one-run win.
Thursday night they did it on the road in extra innings against the Lexington County Blowfish, getting the tying run in the ninth and then scoring another in the 10th to head back to Asheboro with a 5-4 win. The come-from-behind victory was their third straight win - the first time this season the Copperheads have won three in a row. After starting 1-8, they are now 10-16 with two games left in the first half.
Catcher Alex Balter (Tennessee Wesleyan) singled in the winning run in the 10th, scoring Caleb Webster (UNC Greensboro) from third. Webster had opened the inning with a double down the right field line and moved over to third on a ground out.
Lefty Hunter Smith (Memphis) came on to retire the Blowfish in order in the bottom of the 10th on two strikeouts and an infield pop to register a save for the second straight night and make a winner out of releiver Leon Hunter. Hunter pitched two scoreless innings in relief of starter Nick Rathke (SE Louisana). Smith also had a save in Wednesday night’s home win vs. Martinsville when the Copperheads rallied from five down to win 8-7.
While Balter got what proved to be the game-winning RBI in the 10th, a clutch single by centerfielder Clark Brinkman (Creighton) in the top of the ninth chased home Devon Ortiz (SC-Upstate) with tying run. Ortiz had reached on an infield hit, stole second and moved over to third on a ground out.
Both Ortiz and Brinkman had productive nights offensively. Ortiz had three hits, reached base four times, stole three bases and scored twice. Brinkman not only had the game-tying hit in the ninth, but he also singled in a pair of runs early in the game that cut a 3-0 Blowfish lead to 3-2.
The home team would add a run to their lead in the fifth and that’s the way it stayed until the Copperheads scratched out a run in the eighth thanks to a wild pitch and then tied it in the ninth on Brinkman’s clutch single to right.
Drew Ellis (Mount Olive) had three hits and three RBIs for the Blowfish, including a two-run homer in a three-run second inning off Rathke, who allowed six hits and four runs (three earned) in seven innings.
Friday night the Copperheads will entertain the Florence RedWolves at McCrary Park and Saturday night they’ll host Savannah. Asheboro will begin second-half play at home on Sunday night vs. Forest City.