RAMSEUR — Deep River paraded 11 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first to seize an early 6-0 lead, then held off a late-game surge by the Piedmont Whitetails before escaping with a 7-6 Old …
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RAMSEUR — Deep River paraded 11 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first to seize an early 6-0 lead, then held off a late-game surge by the Piedmont Whitetails before escaping with a 7-6 Old North State League victory Thursday night at I. Fletcher Craven Stadium.
The narrow triumph gave the Muddogs their first win in three outings, while Piedmont dropped to 0-3 for the season.
Deep River starter John Speight hurled five scoreless innings to earn the victory, allowing a pair of hits while walking four and fanning two.
Muddogs’ reliever Cade Culberson threw one-plus innings, surrendering one hit and three earned runs in addition to issuing four free passes and striking out two, before being replaced on the mound by Austin Johnson, who tossed two and one-third innings, yielding two hits and a pair of runs (one earned) besides walking three and whiffing two.
Rafy Ortega then came on to record the final two outs, picking up a save while giving up one unearned run.
“It feels good to finally get my first coaching win on the same field I played on just a few years back,” commented Deep River mentor Michael Milian. “Jumping out to a big advantage our first turn at-bat was huge, as we hit fast balls early in the count while being aggressive at the plate. Later on, we seemed to take the foot off the pedal and were coasting until Jordan Cassell’s home run in the seventh reenergized us and proved to be the difference in the outcome.”
Milian added, “John Speight gave us five great innings in his first start, while Rafy Ortega did a good job in relief at the end to nail down the victory.”
Whitetails’ starter and loser Da’vonn Johnson went five innings on the hill, relinquishing half a dozen hits and six runs (five earned) while walking four and fanning four.
Michael Glasgow pitched two innings in relief, permitting a pair of hits and one earned run in addition to issuing three free passes, prior to Tre Moser walking one batter in one inning of work.
“For whatever reason we have a tendency to give up a lot of runs in the first inning, then play well after that,” said Piedmont coach Christian Snider. “Offensively we’re seeing the ball well, and tonight we had better approaches at the plate as the game went on, but we couldn’t quite dig our way out of the big hole we put ourselves in at the outset. I thought Da’vonn looked good on the mound after he settled down following the first inning, and defensively the guys in the middle played well, turning three timely double plays to keep us in the game.”
The Muddogs got off to a fast start as Parker Clayton and Ortega drew back-to-back leadoff walks in the home first before Clay Richardson’s double to left drove in Clayton while moving Ortega to third.
Jordan Cassell then brought in Ortega with a base hit to left, and after Zach Olinski walked on four pitches to load the sacks, Nathan Cockman lined a two-run single to left.
Following a groundout by Jordan Moss that plated Olinski, Cockman came in to score on a two-out infield error to put the winners up 6-0.
The Whitetails picked up their first run in the top of the sixth as leadoff batter Ethan Lageson drew a free pass on four pitches, advanced to second on an infield miscue, stole third and dashed home on a two-out wild pitch.
Piedmont closed the gap to 6-4 in the visitors’ seventh as leadoff batter Jeb Byerly was nicked by a pitch and went to second on a wild pitch prior to moving to third on Tre’vonn Johnson’s opposite-field base hit to right.
After Lageon was hit by a pitch to fill the bases, J.T. Johnson brought in Byerly with a sacrifice fly to center that advanced Tre’vonn Johnson to third, and following a two-out walk to Grey Laspaluto, Will Martin delivered a two-run single up the middle.
Deep River scored what proved to be the deciding run with one away in the bottom of the seventh when Cassell belted a 3-1 offering from Glasgow over the left field fence for his first home run of the season.
The Whitetails plated a solo run in the top of the eighth as Byerly was once again hit by a pitch leading off the frame and went to second on Tre’vonn Johnson’s base hit to left prior to coming around to score on a wild pitch and a passed ball.
Piedmont sliced the margin to 7-6 in the visitors’ ninth as Trevor Fluke reached on a two-out fielder’s choice, stole second and raced home when Colton Lineman’s routine infield pop-up was dropped. But after Byerly was plunked for the third straight time to move the tying run to second, Ortega got Tre’vonn Johnson to pop-out to short to preserve the Muddogs’ win.