CPL: HiToms fend off Copperheads, 3-1
June 22 seems like forever ago to the HiToms.
That was the last time they beat the first-place Asheboro Copperheads. Since then, the slithering foe from Randolph County has gotten the better of the Tommies winning six straight. After more than a month of venomous attacks by the Copperheads, High Point-Thomasville got out the shovel and chased them off in a 3-1 victory Monday, extending a current winning streak to three.
“It has been a while,” said Zach Brown, skipper of the HiToms. “We played well. The guys were getting pumped up before the game. I was proud of the effort and it is always good to get a win.”
Pitching, more than anything, helped the HiToms to another important win. Jonathan Rosenberger was consistently good striking out three in six innings of one-run ball. Austin Blunt tossed two innings of scoreless relief, while John McLeod closed it out with a save striking out two in the ninth. The top of the Copperheads lineup has owned High Point-Thomasville pitching this season, but not on this night at Finch Field. The 1-5 hitters combined to go 3-for-16.
“We controlled the guys they have in the middle and that was the difference,” said Brown. “You have got to control [Luke] Tendler and all of them and that is what we did tonight.”
In case his teammates were not charged up enough about ending the dry spell against Asheboro, leadoff hitter Mike White sent an extra wave of energy through the home dugout. He hammered a fastball off the netting in right field to stake the HiToms to a 1-0 lead.
The advantage increased by one in the second inning. Sam Foy drew a walk and was singled to second by Dykota Spiess. The call was signaled to Champ Rowland to lay down a sacrifice bunt. After two failed attempts, he swung away and got the job done anyway, grounding out to the right side to advance both runners. A passed ball provided an opportunity for Foy to scamper home and make it 2-0.
Asheboro nearly pulled a run back in the fifth, but a HiToms defense that was perfect on the night came up with a big play. With runners on first and third, the Copperheads went for a double steal. Catcher Pete Guy fired to second and Kyle Brandenburg cut off the throw. He turned and hurled a strike right back to Guy, who applied the tag and keep the guests off the board.
Alex Tomasovich singled home the only Asheboro run in the sixth.
The bullpen allowed just two hits over the final three innings to keep the Copperheads at a safe distance.
After the disappointment of losing to last-place Petersburg Friday, the HiToms (22-25) have responded well taking its last three outings.
“I think they have finally gotten tired of losing,” Brown said. “I knew when they decided to start playing that they would play well. We are playing right at the right time and that is all you can do is try to play well to the end. Hopefully we keep it going and see what happens.”
White and Brandenburg had two hits each. High Point-Thomasville is 9-10 in the second half.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.