Owls take gift-wrapped victory
Forest City did just about everything they could to lose a baseball game, but after blowing a lead in the ninth inning with two costly errors, the Owls turned two Fayetteville Swampdog errors into the winning run in the 12th inning Tuesday night at McNair Field.
After surrendering the tying run in the top of the ninth due in large part to two infield errors, Fayetteville caught a case of the yips in the bottom of the 12th and a sacrifice fly by Kendall Keeton scored Jeff Revesv for the 3-2 win.
After 7 ½ innings, Forest City (4-7) led the pitcher’s duel 2-1 behind an impressive outing by RHP Chris Orphanos and a solo home run by Carl Wise.
Orphanos worked out of his first jam in the fifth after a leadoff single, and a sacrifice bunt put a runner on second with just one out.
Orphaos charged back and forced a pop-up before striking out the final batter of the inning to keep the game scoreless.
The Owls, who seemed hopeless against Fayetteville (5-5) starter Ethan Striz through four innings, finally broke out in the bottom half of the fifth.
Derrick Pitts grounded out to give Striz his third consecutive one-pitch out before Carl Wise took a hack at the first pitch he saw and sent it over the left field fence for a solo home run.
Jeff Revesv and Colin Forgey knocked back-to-back singles to put runners at first and third with one out for Nick McQuail.
McQuail singled into right to score Revesv but McQuail rounded first a little too far and was caught by the cutoff throw trying to retreat back to first base. The baseruning essentially killed the rally but the Owls left the inning with a 2-1 lead.
Orphanos took to the mound in the sixth and put himself in more trouble allowing two hits to leadoff the inning.
Luckily for Orphanos and the Owls, a fielder’s choice, caught stealing and a strikeout preserved the lead.
Orphanos left the game after pitching six innings allowing just five hits and striking out eight batters.
Fayetteville cut the lead in half in the seventh with Nick Weybright on the mound.
After loading the bases with one out, a Swampdogs single into right scored the runner from third, but the runner from second was gunned out at the plate by Pitts.
Halfway through the eighth the Owls were clinging to the 2-1 lead.
The game seemed to be in hand with two outs in the top of the ninth, but the Swampdogs cashed in and took advantage of two Forest City miscues to tie the score at 2-2.
The two teams, which appeared drained from the regular nine-inning affair, limped through the extra innings. Each managed baserunners but failed to break the deadlock.
Then, in the bottom of the 12th, Forest City seemed to have had enough … or the Swampdogswere just ready to go home.
Revesv walked and moved to second and then third on consecutive errors by Fayetteville’s second baseman and pitcher respectively.
Keeton followed and skied one into right field just far enough for Revesv to scamper home and claim the extra-inning victory for the Owls.
Forest City returns to action tonight at Florence before returning home Thursday night against Columbia.