Asheboro, NC (24 July, 2018) The Forest City Owls fly to their 7th win in eight games with a second straight 9th inning comeback, defeating the Asheboro Copperheads on the road.
"Power" Paul Salata would get the show started for the owls with two outs in the 1st inning. With a 2-2 count working, Salata would hit a two run home run on top of the batting cages out in right field at McCrary Park and score Jordan Eckard and give the Owls a 2-0 lead.
The Snakes would get one back off the bat of the catcher Cam Morrison as he would hit a solo home run in the bottom of the 2nd.
Sean Phelan would make it a little interesting in the bottom of the 6th and hit a solo home run of his own for the Copperheads to cut the Owls lead to one.
Owls starting pitcher Patrick Szczypinski would have his best start of the season in the game. Despite giving up two solo home runs, Szczypinski would pitch six strong innings, giving up two runs on four hits and striking out five Copperheads.
"Pat did a great job. For the better part of the game he was dominate and went out there and gave us some clean innings and gave us a chance to win it early" said head coach Matt Reed.
To the bottom of the 7th we would go and Asheboro would threaten early. Two straight walks given up by Xavier Rodriguez and after a fielder's choice ground out from Ethan Harrison, the Snakes would have the go ahead runs at first and third.
Harrison would steal second and Chris Adams would drive in both runners on a two RBI single and give the Copperheads their first lead of the game in the 7th and it looked like they were going to steal one from the Owls.
Reed and the rest of the Owls had other plans. With Colton Yeager reaching on an error by the shortstop Harrison, Reed would make another clutch pinch hit decision and bring up Joe Vranesh with the tying run on base.
"We were at a point in the game when I thought Joe would come in and get the job done for us. That part of the game is the toughest part of a manager's job. Pulling a guy out of the game for someone else but sometimes when the game tells you what you need to do, you need to make a move and Joe has been hitting well at that park for the entire summer" said Reed.
Vranesh, coming off the bench cold, would get a first pitch fastball from Copperheads relief pitcher Caleb Mathews and hit a towering two run home run and give the Owls the lead once again in the 9th inning.
"The way that ball came off the bat, I wasn't asking myself "will it get out?" I was asking myself "how far will it go?" and Joe put a good swing on the hardest hit home run over the whole summer" said Reed.
"My best friend in the whole world Jordan Eckard came up to me in the dugout and told me to get fired up and look for a first pitch fastball and I got it and didn't miss it" said Vranesh on his mammoth home run in the 9th.
AJ Wright would also pinch hit in the inning and would single to put another Owls on base. Perry would come up and hit an RBI double to push the Owls lead to two with a 6-4 score on the board. Kendall McGowan would trade places with Perry and give the Owls a 7-4 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth. Perry would finish the game going 3-5 with two RBIs.
"They [Salata, Eckard and Perry] did a good job and were consistent up at the plate. If those guys and the rest of our team remain consistent at the plate, then we are gonna be a dangerous team down the stretch" said Reed.
Salata, Eckard and Perry would account for eight of the 11 Owls hits in the game.
Redmond Walsh would come in to pitch his second straight innings and would show why he is one of the most dominate pitchers in the CPL. Walsh would get a one, two, three bottom of the 9th (striking out four over two innings) and would lock down the second straight 9th inning comeback for the Owls.
"I always preach to the guys that they need to be ready to go late in the games. You never know when your number will be called and its been two nights in a row where that has been the case and for two straight games our guys have been ready" said Reed.
Forest City has now won seven out of their last eight games, pull within a game and half of the High Point Thomasville Hi-Toms and will host the Hi-Toms from McNair Field on Thursday. In one of the most important games of the season, the entire Owls organization encourages everyone to come out to McNair field and support the Owls. Tickets can be purchased at forestcitybaseball.com with a first pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm.