Gastonia, NC (29 June, 2018) In a scorcher from Sims Legion Park, the Owls defeat the Gastonia Grizzlies 12-7, take a 5-1 lead in the "Silver Cup" and move into a tie for first place with the High Point-Thomasville Hi-Toms.
"Over the last seven games, we have been going out and playing our game. Anytime you go out and you're not beating yourself you're usually in a good spot and if we continue to do that we are going to be in a good spot to win more games" said head coach Matt Reed.
The Owls would strike first in an offensive game in the 3rd inning, with Derek Perry hitting a solo home run to left field, followed by an RBI single from AJ Wright, who scored CPL Select Team member Elijah Henderson, who reached on a single earlier in the inning.
The Grizzlies would add one run in their half of the 3rd inning with Jakob Rolly scoring after three straight singles in the inning.
With the score 2-1 in favor of the Owls, the boys in green and gold would score five runs in the 4th thanks to a two run home run by Paul Salata, an RBI double by Henderson and a RBI single from Jordan Eckard. The Owls would tally five hits in the inning and bring 10 batter to the plate. The Owls would lead 7-1 through four innings of play.
Gastonia would chip away at the deficit in the 5th with a solo home run from Rolly and an RBI double from Colton Thomas, scoring Joey Smithers who reached on a double in the previous at bat. In the 6th, the Grizzlies would tally one more run with Tommy Bullock scoring on a fielder's choice.
The Owls starter Patrick Szczypinski would pitch five great innings in his Owls debut going five innings, giving up three runs and striking out five grizzlies in his CPL debut.
"He [Szczypinski] was ready to rock and roll as soon as he got here. He was able to be efficient and executive his pitches to give us a chance to win and keep us in the ball game" said Reed.
The Owls would get one run back in the 7th, as Corbin Watson would drive in Houston Wright on an RBI single to push the Owls lead to 8-4. The Grizzles would score one run of their own in their half on the 7th after an RBI single from Smithers.
With the score at 8-5, Eckard would come in clutch in the 8th inning hitting a solo home run to push the Owls lead to a score of 9-5. The Grizzlies wouldn't go away quite as they would tack on two more runs in the bottom of the 8th inning, scoring Bullock and Conner Durden.
The Owls would essentially seal the game in the 9th inning. With 9-7 lead, Houston Wight and Josh Senter would get on base after hitting back to back singles, Watson would lay down a fantastic bunt and a throwing error from the catcher Durden would allow Wright and Senter to both score in the inning with Corbin Watson scoring on a passed ball later in the inning. The Owls would take a big 12-7 lead heading into the bottom of the 9th.
"Anytime you put up 12 runs on 16 hits it's a good day at the plate" said Reed "I really enjoyed our production late and anytime you can score runs late it puts pressure on the other team and we did a great job of applying that pressure and it ultimately was the difference in the game".
"Owl of the Week" Daniel Kite would pitch a near perfect 9th inning and preserve a 12-7 victory for the Forest City Owls. With a little help from the Asheboro Copperheads (defeating the Hi-Toms 17-6 later in the day) the Owls would move into a tie for first place in the Western division with the Hi-Toms.
The Owls will take on the Hi-Toms on Friday, June 29th with the first half division championship on the line. Team owner Phil Dangel has a message for the Owls faithful. "The game on Friday is a crucial game, I want McNair Field rocking come first pitch and I want ever seat filled for the game".
The game against the Hi-Toms is scheduled for a 7:05 first pitch. The Owls look to win their last two games of the season and lock up the first half western division championship against the Hi-Toms on Friday and the Grizzlies on Saturday, both games will be played at McNair Field.
Tickets for both games can be purchased at forestcitybaseball.com, from the main office at 138 E Main street in Forest City, NC and from the ticket both at McNair Field. The game can also be live streamed at portal.stretchinternet.com/cplowls