CPL: HiToms split pair of weekend tilts
The HiToms came away with a split over the weekend.
On Sunday, John McLeod struck out the final two batters of the game with the bases loaded in a 3-2 game as the HiToms beat the Florence RedWolves at Finch Field.
McLeod walked Matt Rubino to lead off the ninth with the HiToms up 3-2. The next batter, Stephen Dowling, laid a bunt down right in front of home plate that HiToms catcher Max Gagnon decided to throw to second. However, Rubino beat the throw to the bag to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Anthony Paulsen then bunted a successful sacrifice to move the runners up to second and third. The HiToms elected to intentionally walk Michael Keels before McLeod struck out Ian Vazquez and Logan Domenico to pick up his first save and end the ballgame.
Dowling hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot, to open up the scoring in the second. High Point-Thomasville responded in the bottom of the third with an Andrew Cox double to score Jared Foster and tie the game.
An Evan Stephens RBI bunt single scored Sam Foy with runners on the corners and two out in the fifth as the HiToms took a 2-1 lead. Foy added a sacrifice fly in the sixth as the Tommies went up 3-1.
Chase Cunningham (3-2) worked 4.2 scoreless innings of relief, taking the place of HiToms starter Brody Koerner after the second. Cunningham walked one, struck out two and allowed three hits. The HiToms won for the third time in four games to improve to 17-20, 4-5 in the second half. The RedWolves lost for the eighth time in 10 games to fall back to .500 at 15-15. They are 1-5 in the second half. Jacob Long (3-1) gave up three runs, two earned, on five hits with a walk and three punchouts for the loss.
Saturday, K.J. McAllister hit an RBI infield single with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth as the Copperheads slipped by the HiToms 3-2 at McCrary Park in Asheboro.
Tommies reliever Bennett Hixson surrendered singles to Luke Tendler and Alex Tomasovich to lead off the inning. Colin Herring sacrificed the baserunners to second and third, respectively, before Ryan Karl was intentionally walked to load the bases. Hixson got Kenny Jackson to pop out to shallow left. K.J. McAllister then hit a ground ball in between second and third that HiToms shortstop Sutton Whiting reached with a sliding stop. However, Whiting had no play on any base and a run scored to give Asheboro a 3-2 lead.
The HiToms loaded the bases with one out in the ninth. Dykota Spiess hit a fly ball to center field that was caught by Bobby Ison. The runner on third, Alex Raburn, tagged from third to try to score the tying run. Ison’s throw went to third, where pinch-runner Jared Foster was trying to go after tagging from second. Foster was tagged out at third before Raburn crossed the plate to end the ballgame.
HiToms starter Dylan Stoops retired the first two men he faced in the third, before walking Kenny Jackson and yielding a single to McAllister. Dalton Rouleau then came through with a two-run single to give Asheboro the early 2-0 lead.
But the HiToms fought back to tie the game in the fifth. Dykota Spiess was hit with a pitch with one out. High Point-Thomasville played hit-and-run, Allen doubling down the left field line to score Spiess from first as both the HiToms’ first hit and run of the game. Two batters later, Mike White hit a single to center to score Allen and tie the game at two.
The Copperheads threatened to score in the seventh, loading the bases with just one out. But Hixson struck out Oscar Sanay and Matt Reistetter to end the frame unharmed.
John Tuttle (6-0) worked a perfect eighth for the win as Asheboro improved to 22-11, 4-3 in the second half. Hixson (0-1) allowed a run in two innings of work while surrendering three hits and three walks. He struck out four.