College Baseball: Team USA belts three home runs to power by HiToms
Two swings totaled four runs for the High Point-Thomasville HiToms Monday evening. It was a drop in the bucket compared to the steady flow of offense the USA Collegiate National Team displayed.
Team USA belted three home runs, scoring at least a run in the first six frames to knock off the HiToms 10-4 at Finch Field in front of the largest crowd of the season. Zach Collins and Christin Stewart did a majority of the damage for USA. Collins cranked a pair of homers to drive in three, while Stewart sent one ball sailing out of the park on the day and drove in four runs.
While the outcome was not as close as the HiToms had hoped, it was a great experience that does not go against their Coastal Plain League record.
“It's just a fun night for us,” said HiToms manager Austin Love. “You want to win games, but our main goal is to win the Petitt Cup. So we had a good time, threw a lot of our guys in front of scouts and tried to have fun with it.
The home crowd was having plenty of fun in the first inning. After USA took a 1-0 lead in the top half, Alec Paradowski sent a charge throughout the grandstands, making the first pitch he saw from James Kaprelian disappear over the wall to tie the game. The next big swing for the Tommies would not come until the seventh inning. By that time USA had the game in complete control.
Collins lifted a two-run shot over the netting in right field to put the guests up 3-1 in the second inning.
After an RBI double off the wall by Stewart in the third, Collins lifted another ball out of the park for a solo shot.
Against a steady rotation of High Point-Thomasville arms, USA continued to swing the lumber well. They scored four more runs in the fifth to go up 9-1, highlighted by Stewart's launch onto Ballpark Road.
“Collins in the No. 8 hole and Stewart are tough,” said Love. “They compete every pitch and let the ball travel, using those quick hands they've got.”
Well off the pace at 10-1 in the seventh, the HiToms generated one more burst of offense to keep the game respectable. Glen Batson and Trip Dunn reached to bring Cody Brittain to the plate. He unleashed a towering 3-run home run to left to score the final runs of the night.
Brittain wound up 3-for-4 while Batson and Dunn added two hits apiece. Mark Mathias added three hits for USA, now 3-0 in its exhibition schedule.