Yoh Stays Hot, Rockers Fall to Gastonia by 1
RECAP: Gastonia 6, High Point 5
Tuesday, July 18, 2023
GASTONIA, NC – The High Point Rockers dropped the opener of a three game series by a final score of 6-5 at CaroMont Health Park in Gastonia, as a late comeback attempt fell just short on Tuesday night.
The Rockers wasted little time getting started offensively in the first inning, as Michael Russell collected High Point’s first hit with one out. Two batters later, Dai-Kang Yoh lifted a home run down the right field line to push High Point out to a 2-0 advantage. Yoh, fresh off a 7-for-9 performance over the weekend, continued to be the hottest hitter in the Rockers lineup.
Gastonia quickly answered, however, loading the bases with a walk and a pair of singles that brought Scott Manea to the plate. A chopper to third base that was handled by Michael Russell started an attempted 5-4-3 double-play, but Shed Long Jr. sailed a throw into foul ground that allowed two runs to score and knot the game 2-2.
One inning later in the bottom of the second, it was again the Honey Hunters who struck when Pedro Gonzalez belted a no-doubt homer out of the park off of Mickey Jannis to push the hosts in front 3-2. High Point would not be denied long, striking back in the top of the third with another two spot, thanks to Russell’s second hit of the ballgame, an RBI double, and Ryan Grotjohn who dribbled one to the right side of the infield to bring across the go-ahead tally, and the Rockers led 4-3 after two and a half innings.
The contest stayed locked on a 4-3 score through the fourth and fifth innings, as both Jannis and the Gastonia starter Zach Mort settled into a rhythym. In the sixth, Gastonia’s offense came alive again, as David Washington knocked a solo homer the opposite way to tie the score 4-4. After Jannis recorded the second out of the inning one batter later, Jamie Keefe turned to the bullpen and called upon Jeremy Rhoades. Gonzalez doubled to set up Johnni Turbo, who laced one into the outfield to put the Honey Hunters up 5-4. The following batter was Kevin Santa, who swatted a double of his own to bring Turbo all the way around and Gastonia elevated their lead to 6-4 after six innings.
The Rockers went through the sixth and seventh innings without a hit, but they battled into the eighth and with one out proceeded to push four straight men on base, cutting the deficit to one on a Yoh base hit that drove in his third run of the night. With the bases loaded and two outs, Ben Aklinski climbed in but struck out swinging to end the threat.
With three outs to play with in the ninth, the Rockers were in search of a rally to try and extend the game. Quincy Latimore led off the frame with a single up the middle, his second hit in his 2023 debut. The next batter Michael Martinez then bunted the designated pinch runner, John Daly, into scoring position, but High Point’s rally came up short as Beau Taylor struck out and DJ Burt grounded out to second to put a cap on the ballgame.
Gastonia grabbed a narrow win, 6-5, with game two of the series tabbed for a 6:35 start tomorrow at CaroMont Health Park, with Jheyson Manzueta scheduled to get the start for the Rockers.