CPL: Marlins light up Finch Field on 4th
Leading the Coastal Plain League with nine home runs, Morehead City’s Ryan Cranmer had a very quiet Fourth of July night. His teammates, however, gave HiToms fans at Finch Field an early fireworks display.
The Marlins got long balls from Dalton Britt, Brad Haynal and Jacob Hoyle, building a large enough cushion to post a 6-3 victory.
“We made some mistakes pitching, but they made some mistakes to us and we did not capitalize very well,” said HiToms coach Zach Brown. “We have got to get more run production.”
The HiToms brought to life a packed out stadium in the second inning taking a 1-0 lead. Jared Allen ripped a liner to left that rolled to the wall for a double. Mike White did the same one batter later, scorching a ball down the line to plate Allen. A sacrifice bunt moved White to third with one out, but a hit to the mound got White caught in a rundown for the second out. A strikeout ended the inning.
Thomasville’s advantage was short-lived. Britt got plenty of wood on a James Lively pitch, driving in himself and Zach Arnold on a four-bagger to put the Marlins in front, 2-1.
In the fourth, Haynal tattooed a shot off the foul pole to extend the lead to 3-1. The HiToms would get the run back in the bottom of the inning, but blew a golden opportunity to do major damage.
Having the bases loaded with no outs, Gagnon drove in a run on a walk to get within one. Andrew Cox felt he could bring in another with a bunt, but the plan backfired. The ball stopped just a couple of feet from the box. Arnold scooped it up from his catcher position and stepped on the plate for the out. A popup and fielder’s choice followed, getting Morehead City pitcher Kurt Lipscomb out of a major jam.
“To be honest with you we have struggled with the bases loaded all year,” said Brown. “I think we have a batting average under .100 with them loaded. I do not know what it is. It was a running joke for a while. We have got to be able to manufacture runs and get guys in from third base.”
“Cox felt like he could drag [bunt] and what that turns into is like a safety squeeze and you get a sacrifice with it. He wanted to do it and I agreed. It just hit the corner of the plate. We had to try something since having a runner at third has not been a good situation for us.”
After the missed chance in the fourth, it was a struggle for the HiToms to produce offensively the remainder of the evening. They scored just once more in the ninth on an RBI double by Sam Foy.
The Marlins, however, were just getting started. Hoyle cranked a solo home run in the sixth making it 4-2, then opened up a four-run lead in the eighth with a pair of runs.
Both the HiToms and Marlins are 14-16 on the year. White and Sutton Whiting had two hits apiece for the Tommies.