CPL: Schwarber home run defeats Tommies
The HiToms became the only team in the Coastal Plain League to hold a lead on Team USA. That’s as close as the national team would let anyone come to beating them in a series of exhibition games.
Behind Kyle Schwarber’s three-run home run in the fifth inning Sunday at Finch Field, Team USA catapulted ahead 3-2 and made it stand in the contest shortened to six innings due to deteriorating field conditions caused by rain.
Though the HiToms had two losses to show for, their play vastly improved from what had been a disappointing week leading up to the special event. With its entire team together for the first time, coach Zach Brown is expecting more joyous times ahead.
“We played well this weekend and we finally have our full team here,” he said. “It is exciting to see and the new guys bring some new life to guys that have been here. It is going to be a good lineup and I just hope our pitching continues to hold up and stay free of injury. I would be very shocked if we do not win the second half.”
Team USA completed its tour of the CPL posting a perfect 8-0 record, but the HiToms had them facing their first deficit of the summer with a pair of runs in the first two innings.
Appearing in his first game, Louisville’s Sutton Whiting was struck by Team USA starter Brandon Finnegan (TCU) with a pitch. After an Evan Stephens free pass, the two pulled off a double steal. Schwarber (Indiana) tossed through to second from his catcher’s position, but nobody was covering the bag to allow Sutton an uncontested trip home.
High Point University’s Kyle Brandenburg put the HiToms up 2-0 in the second inning, lofting a home run towards center.
Brody Koerner (Clemson) had kept the national team silent for awhile, but the first three batters of the fifth inning would all score. Brad Zimmer singled and Matt Chapman walked with no outs. Up came Schwarber who cleared the bases with a home run to right-center, helping Team USA to a 3-2 lead and eventual win.
This experience is good for them,” said Brown about getting the chance to play the national team. “We like those guys and they were complimentary of us in the end. It is a good experience for our guys to play against the best and be challenged. Our guys rose to the occasion and hopefully we can carry it on to the next half.”
Schwarber had two hits in the game to lead all batters. Preston Morrison picked up the win in relief and Koerner took the loss, though his outing was a good one with four strikeouts and five hits.