Asheboro, NC (23 June 2018) The Forest City Owls win their third game in a row against the Asheboro Copperheads 5-4 in a thrilling extra inning game.
Bobby Hampton would get the start for the Owls against the struggling snakes and he would pitch his best outing all year. He would go six innings, giving up one run on five hits and striking out four.
"Bobby has always been a go to guy. He had one rough start and came back to pitch great today" said head coach Matt Reed.
The Owls would strike first in the top of the 5th with former Asheboro Copperhead, Derek Perry, as he would rip and RBI double to right center field scoring Andrew Friedholm from second. The Owls would have scored two but Corbin Watson was thrown out at the plate by Ethan Harrison. Perry would finish the day going 3-4 with an RBI double.
The Copperheads would tie the game in the bottom of the 6th with a sacrifice fly RBI by Caleb Webster. Perry would go on to save the game for the Owls as he would make a diving stop at second base, with the bases loaded and record the third out in the inning.
The pitching would come alive for the next three innings as Daniel Kite would go two scoreless innings, striking out four batters and then giving the ball to Dillon Phillips in the 9th inning, who would pitch a scoreless frame to send it to extra innings.
With the new international rule set in place, (runners at first and second with no one out to start the inning) Reed would go to his bench to provide the spark for his team.
"Josh is really good at laying the bunt down so in that situation we really needed him to do that. Henderson is a great base runner so if a wild pitch or a ball in the dirt were to happen he would give us a chance to steal a bag" said Reed.
With two on and one out, Reed made the decision to pinch hit Joel McDaniel in for Andrew Friedholm. The Copperheads intentionally walked McDaniel to load the bases full of Owls with AJ Wright pinch hitting for Corbin Watson.
"I put Joel ahead, so if Senter got the bunt down, they would hopefully intentionally walk him [McDaniel] so AJ could have the opportunity to hit who has been known to have clutch hits with runners on" said Reed.
Reed's substitution worked to perfection in the 10th inning for the Owls. With a 1-1 count, AJ Wright would lift a basing clearing double into right center field to give the Owls a 4-1 lead in extra innings. After Wright was moved to third by Perry, who singled, Kendall McGowan would drive in an extra insurance run with a sac fly to right field.
"Everything fell into play that the personnel on the bench happen to be the personnel who would go in" said Reed to his team "We didn't lose anything in that situation by making those changes and it is something that we had been planning on doing in that situation".
Phillips would take the mound in the bottom of the 10th, a 5-1 lead, and the pressure on with two on and nobody out. After a throwing error by Yeager at short, scoring two runs and cutting the lead to 5-3. Phillips would settle down, strike out Sean Phelan, get Cam Morrison to fly out and after giving up one more run, would get the final out and preserving a 5-4 win for the Owls.
"We knew that this situation [an extra inning game] was going to come and our staff was prepared to handle it" said Reed.
The Owls move to 10-9 on the year and will face the division leading High Point-Thomasville Hi-Toms tomorrow from Finch Field at 4 pm.