CPL: Tommies lose opener at Forest City in 10 innings
Nate Chong drove a Hunter Rice pitch into right field to score Jake Rowland and give the Forest City Owls an 8-7 season-opening victory over the Thomasville HiToms on Tuesday night at McNair Field.
Forest City’s Colton Davis blew the save in the ninth, but worked two innings, striking out five, for the win. Rice worked 1 2/3 innings, surrendering that lone run on two hits for the loss. Kyle Brandenburg went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, a run scored and a stolen base for the HiToms.
Thomasville opened the scoring in the top of the first when an Andrew Cox infield single scored Brandon Cecil. However, the Owls responded with three in the bottom half of the inning, capped by John Kennedy’s two-run single to right.
Brandenburg drove in his first run of the game in the top of the third before Forest City responded in the bottom frame, courtesy of a run-scoring error by HiToms shortstop Sam Foy.
In the top of the fifth, Brandon Cecil roped a single to left to score Victor Zecca, but just as they had all game, the Owls had an answer in the next inning. A Sam Lind RBI single gave Forest City a 5-3 lead before the Owls added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth courtesy of a Jake Rowland run-scoring single and another Foy error that allowed Rowland to score.
Trailing 7-3, the HiToms responded. Facing new pitcher Ryan Philips, Jay Lizanek pinch-hit for Foy and doubled to lead off the inning. Evan Stephens then pinch-hit two batters later and drew a walk. An error by first baseman Ty Barkell scored Lizanek before Zecca and Brandenburg followed with RBI singles, pulling the HiToms to within one at 7-6.
In the bottom of the ninth, Davis struck out the first two Tommies, but then threw a comebacker to the mound over the first baseman Barkell’s head, sending Brandenburg to third. Pinch-hitter Robbie Streett then roped a pitch to left to score Brandenburg and tie the game at seven.
Rowland hit a two-out single in the 10th and then advanced to second on a Rice (0-1) wild pitch. On a 2-0 pitch, Chong lifted a ball that fell in front of Brandenburg in right field, scoring Rowland to end the game and give the Owls an 8-7 win in the season opener for both clubs.