Around the League

Atlantic League Results, September 7, 2023

High Point 8, Gastonia 3

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point Rockers pulled out all the offensive and defensive fireworks they for the regular season home finale, downing Gastonia 8-3 in front of a crowd of 2,406 on Thursday night at Truist Point. The Rockers banged out 13 hits, right fielder Ben Aklinski drove in four runs, Zander Wiel knocked in three and the Rockers made a pair of outstanding defensive plays.

The win, and by taking three of the four games of the series from Gastonia, pulls the Rockers to within 1.5 games of first place in the Atlantic League’s South Division. The Rockers are already assured a playoff spot by virtue of winning the South Division first half pennant.

“That’s the way you want to end the home season,” said Rockers manager Jamie Keefe. “We started it that way and now we’ve ended it that way. It’s a proud group and we all know we had a tough 10 days. It happens to everybody but we grinded it out and now we’re back where we need to be. I can’t say enough about these guys, they just go out there and have fun every night.”

The Rockers jumped on the board in the first as Aklinski beat out a slow roller to second base and then scored from first on a double into the left field corner by Wiel.

Starter Joe Johnson put Gastonia down in order in the first but allowed a couple of singles leading off the second and it appeared the Honey Hunters were poised to take the lead. David Washington sent a skyscraper to left but Quincy Latimore was able to time his leap and go over the fence to turn the potential three-run homer into a flyout to left.

“That changed the game,” said Keefe. “I know it was early but it changed the game. For Quincy to come down with that ball. Joe Johnson was outstanding. He threw the ball fantastic.”

High Point went up 3-0 in the third when Gastonia starter Gunnar Kines walked Ryan Grotjohn and Aklinski consecutively. Wiel then picked up his second and third RBI of the night with a soft single to right.

Johnson went three innings and held Gastonia to a pair of hits while walking one and striking out one, leaving after three with a 3-0 lead. Austin Ross (W, 2-2) tossed a 1-2-3 frame in the fourth but allowed a leadoff homer to Alexis Olmeda in the fifth as Gastonia closed the gap to 3-1. Gastonia then tied the game in the sixth on a two-out double by Braxton Davidson and an opposite field homer to left by Washington

High Point took the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth when Emmanuel Tapia drew a walk and was replaced at first by pinch-runner John Daly. A D.J. Burt single pushed Daly to second and then a Grotjohn grounder to first moved both runners up a base. But Daly was injured advancing to third and was replaced by pinch-runner Jheyson Manzueta. Aklinski then lined a double off the wall in left to plate two and give the Rockers a 5-3 lead.

With that narrow two-run lead, the Rockers turned in another defensive gem. After Jake Hoover hit a one out single, Jack Reinheimer doubled off the wall in left center. Burt made a great read and threw towards the infield. Grotjohn cut the ball in shallow left and fired a strike to the plate where Brian Parreira tagged out Hoover as he tried to make a head-first slide.

High Point added three more runs in the eighth on a two-run homer by Aklinski and an RBI double from Latimore to finish of the Rockers’ scoring.

“This felt like a playoff game,” said Keefe. “We got a couple of runs off Gunnar (Kines) and we usually don’t hit him very well. We didn’t hit the ball hard but we put it in play and if you put it in play you’re going to make people make mistakes.

The Rockers will finish the regular season with an extended road trip of 10 games over the next 10 days. The trip starts on Friday at Southern Maryland with a 6:35 p.m. first pitch at Regency Furniture Stadium. The game will be streamed live on FLO Baseball and also available on the Mixlr app.


Lexington 7, Charleston 5

Lexington scored single runs in the eighth and ninth innings to break up a 5-5 tie and went on to defeat Charleston 7-5 Thursday night at GoMart Ballpark. J.C. Encarnacion hit a solo homer in the eighth, his 17th of the year, and Connor Owings delivered an RBI single in the ninth.

Charleston’s Bobby Bradley hit his 28th of the year with one aboard in the third inning.


So. Maryland 6, York 4

Southern Maryland moved to within a half-game of Lancastger with a 6-4 win over York on Thursday night. The Blue Crabs snapped a 4-4 tie in the seventh on a two-run homer by Khalil Lee.

Tomo Otosaka hit his first home run of the year for the Revs while Trey Martin blasted his 17th.

Khalil Lee had two homers on the night, adding a first inning shot. Philip Caulfield also homered for Southern Maryland.


Staten Island at Lancaster, postponed

The Lancaster Barnstormers and Staten Island FerryHawks were postponed due to heavy rains at Clipper Magazine Stadium on Thursday evening.

The game will be rescheduled as part of a doubleheader during the final weekend of the season.  Details on the date and time for the doubleheader will be announced at a later date.  Tickets for the postponed game may be exchanged for admission to any of the six remaining regular season home games.

An initial line of heavy thunderstorms passed through the area before 5:00.  Club officials set a new start time for 6:45 to allow for field preparation, but as that time approached, severe lightning was seen approaching the stadium.  Heavy rains hit shortly after 7:00, warranting the postponement until the FerryHawks return to Lancaster for the final regular season series.

Lancaster will continue its quest for the second half North Division title on Friday evening at York’s WellSpan Park.  Newcomer Brady Tedesco, a left-hander, will make the start for the Barnstormers against York right-hander Andrew Cabezas (2-4).

Fans may tune into FloBaseball beginning at 6:25.


Long Island at Spire City, postponed

(Frederick, Md., Sept. 7, 2023) – Thursday’s (September 7) game between the Long Island Ducks and Spire City Ghost Hounds at Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium has been postponed due to inclement weather. No makeup date for Thursday’s (9/7) game has yet to be announced.

The Ducks continue their road trip on Friday night when they open a three-game series against the Staten Island FerryHawks. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Staten Island University Hospital Community Park. Fans can follow the action live on Flo Baseball by CLICKING HERE. Right-hander Joe Iorio (5-8, 6.65) gets the start for the Ducks against FerryHawks righty Ethan Skuija (0-2, 9.39).

Long Island returns home on Friday, September 15, for their final home series of the regular season, a three-game set against the High Point Rockers. Game time is slated for 6:35 p.m., with the Fairfield Properties Ballpark gates opening at 5:35 (5:20 for full season ticket holders). It’s Prostate Cancer Awareness Night at the Ballpark, and the first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive Ducks Seat Cushions, courtesy of Good Samaritan University Hospital. Tickets to the game, and all Ducks home games, are available by visiting the Fairfield Properties Ballpark box office, calling (631) 940-TIXX or CLICKING HERE.






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