ASHEBORO — Harrison Eldridge may stand all of 5-foot-6, but the Asheboro Copperheads outfielder can swing a big bat.
Asheboro was down 5-4 heading into the bottom of the sixth when Derek Pugh led off with a grounder to right-centerfield and David Cooper drew a one-out walk on a full count. Eldridge followed with a shot that went over the rightfield fence, giving the Copperheads a 7-5 lead.
Tuesday, Eldridge hit a 3-run home run in the bottom of the sixth to give the Copperheads the lead and hit an RBI single to rightfield for the insurance run in the bottom of the eighth as Asheboro notched a 8-5 win over the Florence RedWolves at McCrary Park. The win not only snapped the Copperheads’ four-game losing streak, but also put an end to the RedWolves’ four-game win streak.
“We’ve been getting big hits, but we just haven’t gotten things to go our way,” said Eldridge, whose hits were both off of first pitches. “It was good to get back in the groove.
“Coach told me to sit on something inside. My approach is to put the ball in play. I was looking for something around the strike zone. It doesn’t matter if its the first pitch or the sixth, I want to put it in play.”
“Things went a lot better,” Copperheads coach Patrick Swift said. “Everything came out as planned.”
While Florence didn’t have an answer for the rest of the game, Asheboro added another run in the top of the eighth as Cooper hit a one-out bunt single, stole second and was sent home by Eldridge’s single to rightfield.
Brad Boob got the start for Asheboro (3-6), allowing five runs on eight hits, while striking out six batters and walking one in 51/3 innings of work. Mike Williams picked up the win, shutting out the RedWolves in 22/3 innings, while giving up five hits and striking out three batters and walking none. Rob Hallberg notched a save, striking out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth.
“Boob did a good job,” Swift said. “Williams came in and pitched well. Hallberg closed the door. We had a couple of errors, but that’ll happen on a wet field.”
At the plate, Eldridge went 2-for-3 with a home run, four RBIs and a run scored, K.K. Chalmers went 2-for-5 with a run scored and Pat Haughie went 1-for-4 with a double and three RBIs.
“We had some big hits,” Swift said. “Harrison had a couple big hits; Pat had a big hit early.”
Lee Tabor took the loss for Florence (6-3), allowing seven runs on eight hits, while striking out five batters and walking four in 51/3 innings. Tyler Hoffman finished the game, allowing one run on two hits, while striking out two batters and walking none.
Chris Keenan went 3-for-5 with a run scored while Joe Luli went 2-for-4 with a home run, three RBIs and a run scored. David Sappelt went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored, and Jesse Barbaro went 2-for-4 with a solo home run.
The game was a back-and-fourth affair that didn’t start until close to an hour after the expected 7:05 p.m. start thanks to a rain/umpire delay.
Asheoro scored three runs in the bottom of the first, loading the bases with two out on a single, a hit batter and a walk. Haughie’s double to the centerfield fence meant a 3-0 lead for the Copperheads.
But, Florence answered in the top of the second thanks to two home runs, knotting the game at 3-all.
Despite loading the bases in the bottom of the second, the Copperheads didn’t score again until the top of the fifth, which tied the game at 4-all.
The RedWolves responded with an RBI single from Luli to take a 5-4 lead.