Martinsville defeats Holly Springs on Star Wars Night

Updated June 10 2017

Star Wars and Fireworks Night brought out late inning dramatics on Saturday night. With the game tied at four in the eighth, Emilio Abreu drove in Lee Sponseller to give the Mustangs the lead for good. Martinsville capped off a great week with their fourth straight win as they beat Holly Springs 5-4 in front of a packed house at Hooker Field.

Davis Sims who had been swinging a hot bat for the Mustangs opened the scoring in the first. With one out, Sims homered off of Salamanders starter Kyle Staats to make it 1-0.

Mustangs Head Coach Danny Higginbotham talked about the Freshman All-American.

“He sticks to his routine and his routine is working for him right now,” he said.

Sponseller was next and he ripped a double into right field. With one out in the inning, he stole third base after getting a good jump. Abreu would lift a sacrifice fly into center that scored Sponseller and the Mustangs had a 2-0 lead.

The offense manufactured another run in the second after Andres Sosa led off with a single. Later in the inning after he worked his way to third, Keaton Weisz grounded out to second which allowed Sosa to score.

Holly Springs answered against Martinsville starter Chris Burdine in the third. A leadoff home run by Zach Piazza made it 3-1 but that wasn’t the end of his night.

In the fourth with two on, Piazza homered to left field again, giving the Salamanders a 4-3 lead.

That lead didn’t last long as Sosa homered in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game. Sosa finished 2-3 with two runs scored.

Burdine came back out for the fifth but took a comebacker off the shoulder and departed from the game. After the game he said his shoulder was alright. He finished with four innings and four earned runs. He only walked one which was a huge improvement from his first start.

Omar Maldonaldo III took over in the fifth and preceded to strike out the side. In the sixth he struck out two more and kept the deficit at just one. After struggling a couple of night ago, Maldonaldo talked about the adjustments he made.

“I felt that I attacked the zone more. I left it over the plate and tried to let them hit it. The fastball was working today,” he said.

Higginbotham talked about the flame thrower who put it together on Saturday night.

“He threw strikes and commanded it in the zone. He has really good stuff, it’s just a matter of commanding it in the zone and he did that tonight,” he said.

Josh Vincent (2-0) picked up where the bullpen left off and shut down the Salamanders lineup in the seventh and eighth. Vincent spoke about his last couple of outings which have been huge for Martinsville.

“I think fastball command has been good and once I got ahead I would go to my changeup. The changeup is my best pitch right now,” he said.

The Mustangs offense came back to life in the eighth. With two outs, Sponseller doubled off of Jake Lewis and that brought Abreu up. The junior from Winston Salem State singled to center and Sponseller raced it, making it 5-4.

“I was just trying to put the bat on the ball and keep it as simple as possible,” Abreu said. “We had to deliver with Star Wars Night and we had to make the kids happy.”

Higginbotham spoke about the duo’s ability to come through with two outs.

“They’re both juniors and they’ve been in that situation. The moment isn’t too big for them. Nothing changes in that moment,” he said.

Mustangs closer Mike Stephens came in for the ninth and closed it out for the save.

After the game Higginbotham talked about the key players and moments that helped win the game.

“The guys behind the curtain,” he said. “Omar Maldonaldo III, Josh Vincent, and the way Chris Burdine came out. Obviously our offense was great. Those guys came in during big spots and helped us out.”

Martinsville improved to 6-3 and 4-0 against Holly Springs who falls to 3-7. The Mustangs will host Asheboro on Monday before beginning a five-game road trip.

The Coastal Plain League is the nation’s premier summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 22nd season in 2018, the CPL features 16 teams playing in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The CPL has had over 1,450 alumni drafted and 111 of those – including 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander – make their Major League debut; while another notable alum – Russell Wilson – won Super Bowl XLVIII. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at and follow us via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat @CPLBaseball..


Nathan Loprete