Forest City, NC (30 July, 2018) The bats were wide awake tonight for the flying feathered friends as the Forest City Owls record 20 hits and defeat the Martinsville Mustangs 17-8.
"We are trending good offensively. We still have a lot more to play for and we need to stay focused and capitalize down the stretch" said head coach Matt Reed.
The Mustangs would strike first in the first inning with three straight hits from Daniel Vitello, Chase Dawson, and Bobby Morgensen (who would drive in Vitello on a single). Cross Factor would hit and RBI later in the inning and gave the Mustangs a 2-0 lead.
The Owls would start their hitting display in the bottom of the first. Derek Perry would single and Kendall McGowan would double to bring up AJ Wright with two Owls in scoring position. Wright would hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Perry from third and advancing McGowan. Jordan Eckard would drive in McGowan with a single and Paul Salta would hit a single of his own to put two more runners on for the Owls. Elijah Henderson would come through the the second sacrifice fly of the inning, scoring Eckard, and give the Owls a 3-2 lead.
The lead wouldn't last long as Martinsville would score two more in the 2nd thanks to a solo home run from Romero Harris and an RBI single from Richard Ortiz, scoring Dawson. With the Owls trailing 4-3, Forest City would look to tie the game up in their half of the 2nd.
After a Josh Senter double, Perry would get on the sacrifice RBI train and drive in Senter to tie the game up at four in the 2nd.
Owls starting pitcher, Troy Hall would get out of a bases loaded jam and give the Owls a chance to retake the lead in the 3rd.
With Eckard on first after a single, Salata would hit his second two run home run in two straight games and give the Owls a 6-4 lead.
Martinsville would cut the lead in half with an RBI single from Josh Falk and push the score to 6-5 in favor of the Owls and then tie the game in the top of the 5th on an RBI single by Dawson. The score would sit at 6-6 heading into the home half of the 5th
The Owls would explode in the 5th inning thanks to five walks in the inning. With Eckard, Henderson and Ruben Trillo on base, Senter would hit a double to the left field wall and drive in both Eckard and Henderson and give the Owls an 8-6 lead. The Owls wouldn't stop there as Perry would walk to load the bases up for the Owls followed by an RBI walk from McGowan. This would bring Wright back up to the plate with a 9-6 lead and the bases loaded once more for Forest City.
"Our hitters are ready to play everyday and their getting the pitches they want and that is something you want to see day in and day out with your guys" said Reed.
AJ would hit an RBI single, scoring Senter and a throwing error by Martinsville would allow the Owls to plate their 11th run of the game.
Forest City would keep the ball rolling in the 6th off the bat of Josh Senter once again. Senter would hit his second two RBI double, scoring Henderson and Trillo in the inning. With a 13-6 lead, the Owls were in command of the game. Senter would finish the game with two doubles and four RBIs.
"Once things start to get going, hitting is contagious. Josh has been putting in some good work and getting good pitches he can handle and he's not missing them." said Reed.
Martinsville would get two back in the 7th after a two RBI double from Morgensen and would do their best to try and slow down the Owls offense in the bottom of the 7th, it would fail.
With the score 13-8, The offense wouldn't stop there and would continue into the 7th as Joel McDaniel would walk with the bases loaded and would score one more thanks to a wild pitch from the Mustangs. Pushing the lead to 15-8. Forest City would add a couple insurance runs in the bottom of the 8th thanks to RBI singles by Wright and Henderson, scoring Perry and McGowan in the inning and bring the score to a commanding 17-8 lead.
"Our hitters can do a lot of damage and right now they were staying focused and giving us a good chance to win" said Reed.
During the offensive super show, Dillon Phillips would put on a show of his own on the mound going three and a third, giving up two runs on four hits and striking out seven Mustangs over the course of his relief work.
"He [Phillips] came up big. He was our freshest guy and he looked good so we just rode the rest of the game with him" said Reed.
The Mustangs would fail to rally in the 9th and the Owls would take a 17-8 lead and push their magic number to clinch a playoff spot for the 2018 CPL Pettit Cup to three games.
Forest City has a chance to clinch a playoff spot tomorrow from Gastonia. The Owls currently hold a two and half game over the Grizzlies in the second half standings. If Forest City wins both games tomorrow in a double header vs Gastonia, the Grizzlies would fall to four and half games behind the Owls with three games remaining for the Gastonia.
"I don't want them to worry about them. I want them to keep coming in day in and day out, and do the things that I have preached to them. I always tell them play a good game of baseball today. If they keep doing that then we are going to in a good position coming down the stretch. We are in that position right now and I want them to keep coming in and grinding out these last few games" said Reed.
The last home game is on Saturday, August 4th against the High Point Thomasville Hi-Toms. Fireworks for the game have been canceled due to unforeseen circumstances but the Owls front office wants to ensure the fans that they do not want to miss the shoot out in the wild, wild western division shoot out. Tickets can be purchased at forestcitybaseball.com