Updated July 04 2017
Forest City hosted a Fourth of July clash on Tuesday night against the Martinsville Mustangs (15-15, 1-2). The Owls led by as many as four and trailed by as many as three, but ultimately lost right at the end 8-7.
In front of the largest crowd for the Owls this season, Forest City (20-10, 1-2) jumped on the visiting Mustangs with runs in two of the first three innings.
In the 1st, Seth Hoagland (Iona) hit a groundball to third to bring in Hunter Parker (ETSU) to put Forest City on top 1-0.
Two innings later, the Owls increased their lead to 4-0 on a three run homerun from Carson Jones (Lander). His fourth bomb of the year put Forest City in a comfortable position.
Owls’ starter Zac Brown (Mars Hill) was wonderful in the game. Brown tossed four and two-thirds innings, surrendering one earned run on five hits while striking out eight.
In the 5th, the moment that Brown left the game, Martinsville got on the board thanks to an RBI single by Kyle Wilkie (Clemson) to make it 4-1.
In the 6th, Martinsville cut into the lead even further as Jones made an error at third base to bring in two runs to score, bringing the deficit down to one run.
In the 7th, with Forest City still without a hit since the 3rd, the Mustangs tied the game on an RBI single by Austin Ladoux (Grand Valley). Two batters later, Josh Smith (Grand Valley) hit a three-run homerun (2) to left to put Martinsville on top for the first time.
With all seeming lost for Forest City, Chris Chatfield (South Florida) brought the deficit back down to one with a two run homerun (4) to right field.
“I just reacted in, dropped the hands and made good contact.” Chatfield said.
In the 8th, the Owls looked to Daniel Kight (North Greenville) on the mound to try and slow down the Martinsville offense that had scored in three consecutive innings.
With a runner aboard and nobody out, Ryan Kemp (Middle Tennessee) turned one of the best double plays of the year with shortstop Cody Cline (Mars Hill) to empty the bases. Kight did the rest to end the threat in the 8th.
In the bottom of the 8th, Forest City’s first two men got on base, but they could not bring in the tying run as the Mustangs held their 7-6 lead going to the final stanza.
In the top of the 9th, Martinsville scored a crucial run on an RBI single by Ladoux to bring in Julian Lopez (Chowan).
Forest City needed two runs to tie the game and three to win it in the 9th. They scored one run on an RBI groundout by Alex Conaway (Lander) to make it 8-7.
With two runners in scoring position, and the winning run at second base, Omar Maldonado (Graceland) stuck out the final batter to end the game.
Martinsville got the 8-7 win, but Forest City and their largest crowd of the summer still celebrated the national holiday with some postgame fireworks.
“Just a tough loss. Defensively we were a little bit sloppy,” Owls head coach Matt Reed said. “At the same time, it’s one game. We’ll be back at it after an off day tomorrow.”
Forest City returns to action on Thursday to take on the Gastonia Grizzlies at McNair Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
You can listen to coverage of the game vs. Gastonia on the Forest City Owls Radio Network or on WCAB 590AM in Forest City and the surrounding area.
To find out more about 2017 Owls Season Tickets, please contact the Owls Office at 828-245-0000 or visit the website at www.forestcitybaseball.com.
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