HiToms hold off Salamanders for 5-4 win
from Daniel Frey with the HiToms Baseball Club
High Point/Thomasville, N.C. – The High Point-Thomasville HiToms (19-9) fended off a late surge by the Holly Springs Salamanders (10-17) in a dramatic ninth inning to start off the second half with a 5-4 victory.
“Holly Springs knows us and we know them,” HiToms head coach Brian Rountree said. “You still have to throw strikes and field ground balls. We were able to do that so it worked out well for us tonight.”
The Salamanders drew first blood with a two run double by Brandon Riley but Conlin Hughes was throw out at home trying to score to end the top of the second.
It didn’t take long for the HiToms to roar back. David Fry placed a punt in the front of the plate that the Holly Springs catcher Jacob Washer airmailed down the first base line plating the first HiToms run of the game. The next batter Drew Frederic rolled a ground ball to short where Danny Sheehan’s throw was off line bringing in two more runs to put the HiToms ahead 3-2. Two batters later, the red-hot Carson Jackson lined a RBI single to right center putting the HiToms in control.
Sheehan made up for his error in the top of the third with an RBI single off of the HiToms starting pitcher Ryan Kahny (1-3) who recovered to toss five innings with five strikeouts.
With two runners on in the bottom of the sixth, Fry looped a single to center pushing the HiToms advantage to 5-3. Current UNC Tar Heel Rodney Hutchison (0-2) lasted 5 1/3 innings in a losing effort.
Just like earlier, the Salamanders were quick to respond in the seventh with a solo homer to left field from Dillon Stewart his sixth long ball of the year. Unfortunately for Holly Springs they were still just knocking at the door trailing by one heading into the ninth inning.
After two inning of relief work with an effective curveball by Reid Clements it was Ryan Owens’ turn to close it out in a save situation. Owens hit the first batter he faced and a bunt moved the tying run into scoring position.
Stewart cracked a sharp ground ball to third that was bobbled by Drew Frederic but he recovered and slung it over to first quickly but Stewart was called safe. The original ruling was that HiTom first baseman David Newcomer was off of the first base bag but after a conference between the two umpires, the call was overturned for out number two. Salamanders head coach Andrew Ciencin was ejected from the game and moment later the HiToms recorded the final out to get off to a 1-0 start in the Coastal Plain League second half.
“When you’re at home you have to win in front of your fans it’s important to win on the road too but we have to win as many games as possible,” Rountree said. “We have to take advantage of our situation to get wins at home.”
The HiToms continue the four-game home stand tomorrow against the defending CPL champion Edenton Steamers at 7 p.m.