HIGH POINT — An early-morning game after a late night on the road wasn’t the most ideal situation for the Hushpuppies. But they made it work.
High Point scored in each of the final two innings — including a walk-off sacrifice fly by Dylan Driver in the ninth — to beat the Lenoir Legends 3-2 in Old North State League baseball Tuesday morning at Truist Point.
“I think the first seven innings we played like a team that got home at 2 a.m. last night,” Hushpuppies coach Rob Shore said. “We had a late game in Hendersonville, got home after 2 o’clock and were here at 8 o’clock this morning. So, I could see us being a little lethargic.
“But our pitchers did exactly what we needed them to do. Our pitching was outstanding. We held them to two runs through nine innings. We made some great defensive plays and made some pitches when we needed to. And I think that’s what sustained us.”
After Matthew Martinez singled in a run in the eighth to tie the game 2-2, High Point again threatened in the ninth when Logan Sawyer led off with a bunt single and moved to second on a wild pitch.
Gavin Sentell, a former Ledford standout, singled to right to move Sawyer to third. Driver then laced a ball into left-center field that the center fielder caught, but Sawyer scored easily from third for the game-winning run.
“The whole day I was having a problem hitting the inside pitch, just from not getting home until 2:30 last night,” said Driver, who plays at Catawba. “I finally got on-time with one and hit it foul. He missed with a slider, came back with it and I was still on-time.
“So, I just matched right up. I was just trying to put something up the middle of the field and give us an opportunity. … I think we needed it after the long day yesterday and coming back today. Fighting as hard as we did and coming out on top was huge.”
Sawyer went 4 for 4 to lead the Hushpuppies (7-2), who had runners in scoring position every inning but struggled early to score runs. Martinez also had three hits and an RBI while Colin Smith, a former High Point Central standout, doubled and drove in a run in the fifth.
“Our pitching definitely made it doable,” Driver said. “That’s been a huge part for us all year — our pitching keeping us in it. And we just didn’t give up, which helped a lot.”
Drew Sliwinski got the win in relief of starter Hunter Hill. Sliwinski pitched three shutout innings, despite the Legends (3-4) — who led 1-0 in the fourth and 2-1 in the sixth — threatening to score in all three. Hill struck out four in six innings.
High Point will host the Mecklenburg Muscadines this morning at 10.
“We figured out a way to win,” Shore said. “These guys are playing well. We’re winning late games, we’re winning blowout games. They’re playing well and they’re jelling really well. There’s a lot of guys from the area on this team, so they know each other. That’s a huge component of us getting rolling.”
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