Forest City, NC (4 July, 2018) On a day of independence and celebration, in front of a near sell out crowd, the Owls gave their fans a firework show at the plate and defeat the Macon Bacon 8-5 from McNair field.
"Its a great honor to play on this day" said head coach Matt Reed. "We are very lucky to be in these situations and we can't ever take that for granted and we just have to enjoy the time, enjoy the moment and enjoy the game of baseball on a day like this".
The fireworks started early with 2018 CPL All Star, Derek Perry hitting a "bottle rocket" over the left field fence on the first at bat in the bottom of the first to give the Owls a 1-0 lead.
"I told Alex [Conaway] that I guess we are gonna start the fireworks early and we just started to hit the ball out of the ballpark" said Reed.
The Owls would tack on a few more in the second with Paul Salata on first with a single, it would be Joe Vranesh hitting a "silver dragon" firework over the left field wall and pushing the Owls lead to 3-0 through two innings of play.
The Bacon wouldn't quit though as they would tie the game up in the top of the 3rd. After Alex Canty coming home to score on a groundout by Zach Weisz, it would be Jacob Kapturasky hitting a two run home run of his own. With the score tied 3-3 in the 3rd, the Owls would attempt to retake the lead in their half of the 3rd.
Retake the lead is exactly what the Owls would do. Perry would get on with a single, make it all the way to third and be driven in on a "Roman Candle" sacrifice fly from AJ Wright, giving the Owls a 4-3 lead. 2018 CPL All Star, Jordan Eckard, would get in on the action with a "Comet" firework; solo home run to give the Owls a 5-3 lead in the 3rd.
Macon and Forest City would each tally one run in the 5th inning. Canty would single to lead off the 5th inning and eventually come around to score on a passed ball and Forest City's Joel McDaniel would score after being hit by a pitch after Perry would sacrifice himself in a rundown between first and second, allowing McDaniel to score. Perry would finish the night 3-5 with a home run, two singles and two runs scored. He would reach base four times through the game.
With the score 6-4 Owls, Macon's Riley King would cut the lead in half with a two out RBI single in the top of the 7th, scoring Keaton Weisz in the process. 2018 CPL All Star, Kendall McGowan would have something to say about the 6-5 Owls lead in the bottom of the 7th.
"I thought the biggest hit of the game came from Kendall [McGowan] late in the game, getting a two RBI single in the 7th. He hadn't looked good his previous three at bats and he looked good in his fourth and I thought it was the hit of the game because he gave us a big jump in the game" said Reed.
With the bases full of Owls, a new pitcher (Holden Nix) in to pitch for Macon. Kendall McGowan would send a "firecracker" line drive into center field. 2018 CPL All Star, Elijah Henderson and Wright would come home to score to push the lead to 8-5.
It was all 2018 CPL All Star, Redmond Walsh after that to help close it out for the "red, white and blue" Owls. Walsh, who came into pitch for Forest City in the 5th inning, would go four and 2/3, striking out eight Bacon hitters and re-taking the CPL strike out leader position in the process. Walsh would only give up one run on four hits in his relief innings. Red would earn his second win and the Owls would send a crowd home happy with an 8-5 win (after an amazing post game firework show of course).
"He [Walsh] just fills up the strike zone. He has a great fastball and a great assortment of off speed stuff and for some reason hitters just can't hit it and usually it works out pretty well for us" said Reed.
Every Owl would reach base safely at least once, making it nine times through 28 games that every Owl has reached. The Owls move to a 2-1 second half record, with a 15-13 overall record. Forest City will have a two-day double header against the Asheboro Copperheads starting on Friday from McNair field and finishing on Saturday from McCrary Park in Asheboro, NC. The Owls look to stay hot with two games remaining before the All Star Break.
"We just need to keep playing solid, both on offense and defense. We didn't have any errors in todays game and if we keep doing that then we are gonna be a threat coming down the stretch" said Reed
From everyone in the Forest City Owls organization, we would like to thank the men and women of our armed forces for their service and hope everyone enjoyed their day of independence.