Pitcher Kellon Urbon tagged a sliding runner out at the plate for the final out Tuesday night as the Asheboro Copperheads held on to beat the Martinsville Mustangs 7-6 at McCrary Park.
Urbon raced to the plate from the mound after his pitch got away from catcher Austin Bossart with the tying run at third. Bossart hustled to the ball and flipped it to Urbon, who applied the tag on a very close call that went the Copperheads way and ended the game.
Asheboro had gone into the ninth with a seemingly comfortable 7-2 lead, but a combination of walks, hits and two errors by usually sure-handed shortstop Connor Justus suddenly put the lead in jeopardy. The Mustangs had runners at second and third with two outs when Urbon’s ptich squirted under the mitt of Bossart and resulted in the dramatic ending with the bang-bang play at the plate.
Martinsville led 1-0 early on a first-inning homer by DH Gavin Stupienski, but the Copperheads took the lead quickly in the bottom of the inning when the first three batters hit safely and two of them scored. J.D. Whetsel followed Connor Owings’ leadoff single with an RBI triple and Kyle Hamner drove in Whetsel with a single.
The Mustangs tied it with a single run in the top of the fifth, but the Copperheads took over from there, scoring two in the bottom of the inning, a single run in the sixth and then two more in the seventh to build a 7-2 lead.
Craig Brooks started and pitched six solid innings to get the win. Brad Haymes pitched a scoreless seventh, then Russ Weiker retired the side easily in the eighth before running into trouble in the ninth. Urbon came on with one out in the ninth, but gave up a two-run single and was then victimized by the two errors that got the Mustangs within a run before the game ended with the play at the plate. Urbon got credit for his fourth save.
Owings, Whetsel, G.K. Young and Rouric Bridgewater got two hits each for the Copperheads. Bridgewater had a couple of RBIs.
The win improved the Copperheads to 12-11 in the second half and 24-26 overall. They are tied with High Point-Thomasville for the fourth playoff spot in the CPL West, but the Hi-Toms currently hold the tie-breaker edge over the Snakes. The tie will be broken, at least for a day, when the two teams tangle Wednesday night at McCrary Park. Game time is 7:05.