Owls cruise by Martinsville, 11-3
The Forest City Owls stayed hot Tuesday night coming into their match-up with Martinsville after winning eight of their last 11 games. And after a few big innings on offense and stingy work on the mound, the Owls captured an 11-3 win over the Mustangs.
"I knew hat the tide would change for us and things would start clicking and going our way," Owls head coach David Tufo said. "Our guys just stayed with it and trusted our approach and the results are going in our favor."
Chris Butler led the offense going 4-for-5 but Nick McQuail and Derrick Pitts, two players that combine for just 17 starts on the year, each had two RBIs on the night.
"You don't want to have to rely on one or two guys every night to won a game and you shouldn't have to," Tufo said. "I'm comfortable running any of these guys out in the lineup on a given night knowing they can compete and get us a victory. It's just a tribute to the amount of depth that we have."
"Guys are getting their opportunities and capitalizing which is just making my job more difficult knowing I have 15 guys that can play and only nine spots in the lineup," Tufo added.
After some confusion in the bottom of the second, an inning-ending double play was overturned and Pitts made the most of his second opportunity by blasting a double into left field to put runners at second and third with one out.
McQuail and Jeff Revesz followed with consecutive RBI singles to give Forest City an early 2-0 lead.
Ty Barkell added to the lead in the third with his 10th RBI on the season as he singled in Butler .
Forest City held the 3-0 lead behind Kyle Bogese and the Owls defense working out of jams in the third and fourth innings.
The Owls doubled their lead in the fourth inning by cashing in on three Mustang errors.
The first run of the inning was earned on a Kendall Keeton RBI base hit to score McQuail, but three infield errors by Matinsville led to two more runs for Forest City as they took a 6-0 lead.
Bogese struggled in the sixth inning with two walks and a double to load the bases with no outs before Tufo went to the bullpen in favor of Breckin Williams.
Bogese finished the night allowing just one earned run on five hits in five innings pitched and added eight strikeouts to his season totals.
Williams forced two pop-ups for two quick outs, but he walked Heath Burton to force a run across the plate. Luckily for Williams, another pop-up ended the inning with the Owls leading 6-1.
"Breckin [Williams] is a guy who isn't afraid to be out there. He wants the ball in those situations and he showed you why tonight," Tufo said. "He's someone that we can rely on."
Forest City came back in the bottom half of the frame and loaded the bases with no outs allowing Barkell to knock in his second run of the game with a soft liner into right.
An RBI single by Hunter Bryant and a two-run double by Pitts put the Owls into double digits with a 10-1 lead. McQuail plated Bryant on fielder’s choice but the rally ended there with the Owls up 11-1.
Sam Lind came in to pitch the ninth inning and kept the Mustangs from cutting in the lead until two Owls errors led to two unearned runs, but Forest City held on to capture the easy win, 11-3.
The Owls travel to Gastonia today for a noon contest before returning home to host Catawba Valley Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.