Owls close 2013 with walk-off win
It’s has been a subpar season for the Forest City Owls, but Hunter Bryant sent 3,962 fans home happy with a three-run walk-off homer to left to lift the Owls to a dramatic 9-6 win over the Asheboro Copperheads on the final game of the regular season Monday night at McNair Field.
Bryant’s walk-off homer is only the second in Owls history and the first since Jordan Patraus’ in 2008.
“I was looking for a fastball in and I and I got it,” said Bryant. “I was looking for the homer and when I hit it I knew it was gone. It’s a great feeling.”
“We started out the season with a walk-off and we finished with a walkoff,” said manager David Tufo. “The guys played with a lot of pride and we can hold our heads high
Pitcher Noah Buettgen and the Owls ran into immediate trouble. The first three batters of the game singled and the Copperheads grabbed an early 1-0 lead.
Buettgen settled down and limited the damage with three straight groundouts to end the frame.
The Owls bats stayed quiet in the early going, but the defense kept them in the game. Buettgen made a diving tag of the first base bag to complete a 3-1 putout. Blake Butler then made a leaping grab a short to end the second.
In the next inning, James Threw gunned down a runner at the plate from leftfield to keep the tally at 1-0. Buettgen helped himself at the plate, as he singled up the middle for Forest City’s first hit.
The Owls finally broke through in the fourth. Kendall Keeton led off with a single and eventually scored on an infield single by Carl Wise.
After the home team loaded the bases later in the inning, Jeff Revesz came through with a bases clearing triple to put the Owls up 4-1.
Asheboro got two of those runs back in the fifth thanks to a Conner Owings single but the Owls answered right back without the benefit of a hit.
John Kennedy reached on an error and stole second. He moved to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch. As a result, Forest City led 5-3.
Keaton added an RBI in the sixth to increase the lead to 6-3.
After Asheboro clawed to within 6-5 in the seventh, the Owls mounted a two-out threat in their next at-bat. Keeton walked and moved to third, but Hunter Bryant struck out to leave the score at 6-5.
Nick Weybright came on to pitch the eighth and quickly retired the side on seven pitches but the Owls went quietly also as all three batters struck out swinging.
Chris Orphanos came on to pitch the ninth and struck out Bobby Ison but Ryan Karl tripled to the gap in center. He came home on an error by Lucas Owens to tie the game at 6-6.
Both teams’ bats stayed quiet until the bottom of the 11th when Colin Forgey singled with two outs. Bu Revesz struck out swinging to send the game into the 12th. In that frame closer Jake Padgett led off with a walk. Two outs later, Keaton singled setting up Bryant’s heroics.
Forest City closes 2013 at 17-32.