HIGH POINT — The Rockers defeated Lancaster 6-1 on Wednesday at Truist Point, giving skipper Jamie Keefe the 1,000th victory of his managerial career that began in 2001.
“It means I have had a lot of good players and coaches next to me for 21 years,” Keefe said. “To have an opportunity to do this and make a living at it for 30-something years is really special. This game has been good to me. I don’t want that real job yet.”
After a postgame interview on the field, Keefe was doused with a bucket of water by Ryan Grotjohn and Ben Aklinki then sprayed with champagne. He then went into the stands and shared a word with Rockers chairman Coy Williard, who suffers from ALS.
If High Point (19-6) had not won Wednesday, Keefe would have most likely reached the milestone during a six-game road trip that begins tomorrow at Frederick.
This is special,” Keefe said. To do it in front of Coy was the No. 1 thing,” Keefe said. “I didn’t feel so well Sunday on the bus ride home. But the guys knew how important it was to us and it was important to them. We wanted to do it home and we were able to do that and it was super, super special.”
Down 1-0 after the first, the Rockers went ahead with three in the sixth. John Nogowski led off with a walk, took second on a balk, which enabled him to score on Zander Wiel’s ground-rule double to left.
Aklinski and Beau Taylor walked to load the bases. Daiken Yoh, the former Japanese Major Leaguer who has been struggling at the plate, then ripped a two-run single to left.
In the eighth, Aklinski reached on an error and Taylor singled. Grotjohn then laced a two-run triple into the right field corner and scored on Yoh’s sacrifice fly.
The victory gave the Rockers a sweep of the series)
“Yoh might be hitting a .169 but he had three big RBIs tonight,” Keefe said. “It was important for him to get those. The leg kick went away and he put his foot down. When you do that good things happen and that’s how you keep your job.”
Sam Burton went the first five innings, giving up the early run and five hits while striking out and walking two. Taylor Guerrieri, Kyle Barraclaugh and Ryan Dull combined for four scoreless innings.
Guerrieri, who pitched the sixth, got his first win of the season. Barraclaugh gave up two hits in the eighth then struck out two of the Barnstormers (7-18) most dangerous hitters, Andretty Cordero and Kelly Dugan, in getting out of the jam. Dull struck out the side in the ninth.
Lancaster starter Jacob Lemoine, who was charged with the three runs in the sixth, took the loss pitched a scoreless sixth and picked up the win
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