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Mustangs split doubleheader with Forest City

Updated June 30 2017

Martinsville and Forest City met for a doubleheader on Thursday night. Forest City had defeated Martinsville in three straight games before the first game. The Owls magic number to clinch the West was also down to one. The Mustangs got a strong pitching performance from John Weber and some late offense to defeat the Owls 6-4.

Weber who was coming off of a strong start against Asheboro on June 21st, settled in early and gave the Mustangs a strong start.

In the fourth inning, Weber walked the leadoff batter before allowing a single to Seth Hoagland. With two on and one out, Brett Centracchio singled home a run to make it 1-0 Forest City.

The Owls would push across another run in the fifth on a couple of hits to make it 2-0.

The Mustangs couldn’t break through against Forest City starter Charlie Ruegger for the first few innings. The Mustangs put two on in the third but couldn’t score and they left two in scoring position in the fourth inning.

They finally broke through in the fifth after Josh Smith reached on an error and advanced to second on a wild pitch. With two outs Zach Michalski singled to center and Smith scored to cut the lead in half.

Weber was done after five strong innings but left on the hook for the loss. He allowed two runs on four hits and struck out seven. Holden Nix (1-0) took over and tossed a scoreless sixth.

Mustangs Head Coach Danny Higginbotham talked about Weber who has pitched well in his last few starts.

“He worked hard and he kept the ball down. He threw multiple pitches for a strike which he had done in previous starts,” he said.

Ruegger got the first two outs of the sixth before issuing a walk to Matt Berler which ended his afternoon. The Owls went to Daniel Knight (0-1) who got Emilio Abreu to ground a ball to third but Mason Dodd couldn’t handle it and the inning continued.

Knight walked Zach Weatherford to load the bases and Smith stepped in. The Mustangs second baseman lifted a ball to right that dropped in front of the rightfielder. Berler scored and Abreu was able to avoid the tag after the catcher Andrew Friedholm couldn’t handle the throw.

With Martinsville leading 3-2, Davis Sims added insurance with a two-run double and Michalski singled him home singled making it 6-2.

“They stayed focused through the whole thing,” Higginbotham said of his offense that put things together late. “They took some good at bats early but they just weren’t clicking. It was good to see it all come together.”

Nix came back out for the seventh and after allowing a two-run homer but he struck out Hoagland to end the game. With the 6-4 win, Martinsville improved to 13-11. 

In the second game Martinsville led Forest City 2-0 before the Owls managed to tie the game up in the fifth. The game remained tied until the tenth when the Owls managed to push a run across and they went on to win 3-2. That also clinched the first half for Forest City.

Dylan Spacke threw six strong innings for the Mustangs. The freshman allowed two runs on five hits and struck out nine. Abreu and Marshall Gei drove in both runs for the Mustangs who fell to 13-12 on the season.

The Mustangs will travel to High Point-Thomasville today for a huge matchup. They’ll close out the first half at home on Saturday against the HiToms.

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