HIGH POINT, N.C. – High Point starting pitcher Ben Braymer tossed a no-hitter through six innings and catcher Beau Taylor drove in six runs as the Rockers defeated Long Island 10-1 on Saturday night in front of a crowd of 3,447 at Truist Point.
The Rockers celebrated Coy Williard Night by nearly throwing the first no-hitter in franchise history.
Braymer, who pitched in the Major Leagues with the Washington Nationals, faced just one batter over the minimum through six innings before turning it over to the bullpen. The Ducks got their first hit with one out in the eighth and finished with two hits on the night.
“Ben was only going to go five innings but after five, he’d only thrown 51 pitches so we decided to let him go one more,” said Rockers manager Jamie Keefe. Braymer finished with six innings of work, no hits, one walk and two strikeouts while throwing just 63 pitches.
“I felt good tonight,” said Braymer following his first appearance as a Rocker. “I thought Beau did a great job of calling the game. I have a lot of confidence pitching to him. And our defense was really good. They made some great plays behind me. Michael Russell at third base was a vacuum. And D.J. (Burt) ran down some balls in center. I thought it was a good collective effort tonight.”
While Braymer was shutting down the Ducks, the Rockers offense was out shooting ducks on the pond. Daikan Yoh, in his first at-bat as a Rocker, hammered a home run to right in the second inning to put High Point up 1-0. Russell, who had two doubles on Friday night, added a nother in the third and then came around to score on a sac fly by John Nogowski.
The Rockers maintained a 2-0 lead until blowing up for five runs in the seventh, sending 10 men to the plate. Taylor delivered the big blow with a bases loaded double scoring three. Ryan Grotjohn knocked home a run with a single and Ben Aklinski drew a bases loaded walk for an RBI.
Taylor added a three-run homer in the eighth inning to give him six RBI on the night, one off the franchise record.
After Braymer set the tone with his six hitless innings, lefty Gabriel Castellanos put the Ducks down in order in the seventh. Austin Ross allowed a walk and a single by Luis Guerrero, a slow roller through the right side of the infield as Lew Ford scored Long Island’s only run. Ross then retired the final two batters he faced. A.J. Cole gave up a single and then struck out a pair before Shed Long, Jr. recorded the final out by snagging a soft liner in shallow right-center.
“Fastball command was the key to my success tonight,” said Braymer who is now 1-0 on the season while the Rockers improved to 2-0. “I had a few cutters and mixed in a few changeups and a few breaking balls here and there. My breaking ball wasn’t really there tonight so I had to stick with what was working and that was fastball command, moving the ball in and out all night.”
During pregame ceremonies, the Rockers honored Williard, a lifelong native of High Point and community leader for over 50 years. Williard was instrumental in the creation of the Rockers and the construction of Truist Point. He was recently diagnosed with ALS. Among the tributes given to him were a special contract that he signed, making him a Rocker for a day. Coy was given to the key to the city of High Point by Mayor Jay Wagner and it was revealed that Truist Point’s home plate gate has been renamed the Coy O. Williard Gate.
The Rockers and Ducks are scheduled to play the final game in the three-game series on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. High Point will send James Marvel to the mound as the righty makes his first appearance of the year. Long Island will counter with righty Stephen Woods, Jr.