Mustangs roll to first win of 2017 with 14-3 win

Updated June 03 2017

After dropping the first two games of the season, Martinsville needed a win to get the season back on the right track. The Mustangs welcomed in the Holly Springs Salamanders on Friday night. Behind 19 hits and shutdown starting pitching, the Mustangs rolled to a 14-3 win in front of their fans at Hooker Field.

The Mustangs got the offense going early against Salamanders starter Jake Lee (0-1). On the second batter of the game, Lee served up a home run on a curveball to Davis Sims. That was just the beginning of the night for the freshman from Murray State.

Mustangs starting pitcher Tate Brawley was on his game as well. The junior from Grand Valley State made one mistake in the second inning as he allowed a solo home run to Mark Colella. That was all the righty would allow as he cruised through seven strong innings.

“In the bullpen before the game I always try to get myself in a rhyme and be ready from the first pitch,” said Brawley.

Brawley would also get plenty of run support. With the game tied in the second, the Mustangs put up a five spot. Leadoff hits by Connor Glick and Josh Smith set up Keaton Weisz who gave the Mustangs a 2-1 lead with a single. An RBI double by Ryan Perkins extended the lead and by the end of the frame, the Mustangs led 6-1. Martinsville added two more runs in the third after Smith and Weisz recorded back-to-back hits. The lead was now 8-1.

Martinsville put another five spot up in the fifth inning. Consecutive singles by Glick, Smith, and Weisz scored a run. Smith and Weisz finished the night with three hits a piece after getting off to a slow start in the first two games.

“They’re team leaders. We have a lot of different kinds of leaders on this team. Having those guys get going is great for their confidence. We need it to continue in Florence tomorrow,” said head coach Danny Higginbotham.

Later in the inning Perkins singled and two runs came in to score, making it 11-1. Sims was next and he capped off his big night with a two-run shot over the left-field wall, making it 13-1.

“I heard that on Friday nights we get a pretty good crowd so we wanted to give them something to cheer for and I think we did that. I’m not trying to make it to complicated and fortunately it’s working out,” said Sims after the game.

Higginbotham talked about the Murray State duo that has gotten off to a fast start this summer.

“He [Sims] shows up everyday early and that’s what the coaches at Murray State told me. Him and Perkins show up early and it’s the same thing everyday.

While the offense kept scoring, Brawley was dealing a gem. He had retired 14 in a row before a single in the seventh. He finished with seven innings and eight strikeouts. Brawley (1-0) only allowed one run on two hits and earned the win.

“He really kept his pitch count down and was able to eat some innings for us. He kept the ball down, filled up the zone, and he gave us a chance to win,” said Higginbotham.

The Mustangs played solid in all phases of the game and Higginbotham talked about the team’s approach after starting 0-2.

“We talked a lot about focusing on the process. You can get caught up in wins and losses early but we were excited about the way we got that win,” he said.

Sims talked about the team chemistry after the game and felt confident about where the Mustangs are headed.

“I love the guys. They’re fun to be around and I think we’re starting to hit our stride,” he said.

Martinsville travels to Florence today to face the Redwolves who are 4-0. They will also visit Holly Springs on Monday.

The Mustangs return home for games on Tuesday and Wednesday before hitting the road.

Saturday, June 10th, will be the Mustangs first Fireworks display and will also feature the second annual Star Wars Night. Tickets can be purchased online at:

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Nathan Loprete