Owls finish what they started, sweep Gastonia
The Forest City Owls were spotted a 3-1 lead to start their first game of a Tuesday doubleheader against the Gastonia Grizzlies thanks to washout two weeks ago, and it was all Jake Padgett would need as the Owls cruised to a 10-1 win.
“It definitely makes it a little easier but the guys could have sat on the lead,” Owls’ head coach David Tufo said of the odd circumstances surrounding the game.
This was the second consecutive day the Owls were scheduled for a doubleheader with a third looming on Thursday.
“In a way it creates a good fatigue,” Tufo said. “They don’t try to press and just play the way they know they can.”
Uniquely enough, Forest City (5-12) started the game in the bottom of the first with two outs and the bases loaded putting Gastonia (7-10) in an instant jam. Luckily for the Grizzlies, the Owls failed to extend their lead.
It wasn’t until the sixth inning that either team made any noise at the dish.
Forest City third baseman Carl Wise stepped to the plate with one out in the bottom half of the frame and launched a Michael Martin deep and over the left field fence to give the Owls a 4-1 lead.
Padgett mowed down the Grizzlies throughout the night and his teammates rewarded him with a six-run explosion in the bottom half of the eighth inning.
TJ Sutton started the rally with a one-out double to right and singles by Kendall Keeton and Matt Nadolski followed by consecutive walks to Christopher Butler ad Jake Rowland set the Owls up with a 6-1 lead.
Nadolski scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-1 and a two-run double by Ty Barkell blew the game open at 9-1.
Then, just for good measure, Barkell scored on a Sam Lind single to right for the 10th run of the night.
“We got a little complacent there in the middle of the game trying to do too much against their pitcher but we adjusted our approaches, put a few hits together and finally broke something open,” Tufo said. “It was good to see everyone contribute the way they did.”
Padgett shut down the Grizzlies in the ninth to earn the win. Padgett went the abbreviated distance throwing eight innings allowing just five hits and striking out four to hold the Grizzlies “scoreless” on the night.
“Jake knows what it takes to win,” Tufo said. “To have him come out and give the effort he did was huge.”
Forest City, who came into the night with a .233 team batting average, got two-hit nights out of seven different players.
It was the team’s third win in five games after starting the season 2-10.
The Owls have a day off on Wednesday before their third doubleheader of the week on Thursday as they host Asheboro.
Seven scoreless innings from Jordan Eich and another two-RBI game for Ty Barkell powered the Owls to a doubleheader sweep over the Grizzlies Tuesday night with a 3-0 victory.
Eich went the distance in the shotened game for Forest City's fourth consecutive complete game by a a starting pitcher. He struck out eight batters without issuing a walk.
Forest City improves to 6-12 on the season with the win.