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Martinsville wins a wild one over HiToms

Updated June 17 2017

After losing their last two games, the Mustangs continued their road trip as they traveled to High Point-Thomasville. Martinsville took an early lead but the HiToms would rally back to tie the game. After a rain delay in the eighth inning the Mustangs came out and scratched across a run on a bases loaded walk, leading to a 6-5 win.

High Point-Thomasville sent Rhyse Dee to the mound for his second start of the year. After throwing two scoreless innings against the Mustangs in the first meeting, Dee struggled with his control early and the Mustangs jumped out to a lead.

Emilio Abreu led the game off with a walk before Zach Michalski singled with one out. Dee would lose command of the strike zone after that. Four consecutive walks including a wild pitch scored three runs and Martinsville led 3-0.

Martinsville gave the ball to Dylan Spacke, the freshman from Long Beach State. Spacke, who was also making his second start of the season allowed a run on a couple of hits in the first but limited the damage.

In the third inning, Martinsville got the run back. A leadoff home run by Ryan Shinn made it 4-1. That was his second home run of the year.

The HiToms responded with a run of their own in the home half of the inning. With two on, Kip Brandenburg grounded out to shortstop and it was 4-2 after three innings.

The Mustangs took their three-run lead back in the fourth. With one out, Davis Sims launched his league-leading seventh home run of the season to left-center and it was 5-2 Martinsville.

“I think it’s mostly just sticking to the same plan that I’ve always had…keeping it simple and not trying to do too much,” Sims said. “That seems to be really working for me right now, so I’m gonna stick with that game plan.”

Spacke ran into trouble in the fourth. After two leadoff walks and a throwing error by the Mustangs starter that scored a run, Cody Grosse drove in a run with a single. That was the end of the line for Spacke and Josh Vincent entered out of the bullpen.

Vincent got the first hitter, Randy Norris to line into a double play and he struck out Callahan Moltzan to end the threat with the Mustangs still leading 5-4.

In the fifth, the HiToms would tie the game but Vincent escaped trouble with the go-ahead run in scoring position.

Once again in the sixth, High Point-Thomasville put the leadoff hitter aboard as they did in seven of the nine innings. That ended the night for Vincent and Preston Szuch came into the game. The pitcher from Faulkner University bore down and got the next three outs to keep the game tied.

In the seventh with the go-ahead run in scoring position, Omar Maldonaldo III came in but walked a couple of batters which loaded the bases. That brought in Norris who had already recorded three hits but the leadoff hitter tried to drop a bunt down and instead popped it up to Connor Glick behind the plate, ending the inning.

High Point-Thomasville left 13 men on base and Head Coach Danny Higginbotham talked about the way the pitching staff worked out of multiple jams.

“They were able to make pitches they needed to make. That’s why we have confidence in them,” he said.

After the Mustangs offense went in order in the eighth, the game entered a weather delay as lightning came through the area.

When play resumed Mike Stephens took over on the mound for Martinsville. After a scoreless frame the Mustangs offense went to work against HiToms reliever Waylon Richardson who walked Matt Berler, Ryan Perkins, and Emilio Abreu. With a 2-0 count on Michalski, the HiToms went to the bullpen again.

Josh Stikeleather was the new pitcher but he issued the walk and Berler scored the go-ahead run. Martinsville worked nine walks in the game.

“It was good to see guys have energy late in the game after the lightning delay,” Higginbotham said. “They took good at bats and sometimes that can be underscored. You still have to have plate discipline to draw those walks.”

Stephens closed the game out in the ninth and Martinsville improved to 7-5. Stephens got the win and improved to 1-1 while Richardson went to 0-1. Stephens talked about his outing after taking the loss on Monday night.

“I kept my same mindset and I trusted what I had,” he said. “I didn’t want to change things just because I had a bad outing. I just had to pound the zone and stay down on hitters.”

Martinsville heads to Forest City tomorrow for a 7:05 game. They’ll wrap up the road trip on Sunday with another game against the HiToms at 4:00.

The Coastal Plain League is the nation’s hottest summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 19th season in 2015, the CPL features 15 teams playing in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The CPL gives college players the chance to refine their skills with the use of wooden bats. Players are housed with local host families for the summer and past experiences have been very positive for both players and hosts. The CPL has had over 1,200 alumni drafted and 79 of those – including 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander – make their Major League debut; while another notable alum - Russell Wilson - won Super Bowl XLVIII. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at and follow us via Twitter @CPLBaseball.


Nathan Loprete