The SwampDogs would score in each of the first four innings, but dropped a slugfest to the Gastonia Grizzlies, 10-9 Saturday night.
Things got started quickly for the SwampDogs, when Jason Blum led off the game with an infield single against Gastonia starter Hayden Deal. Lane Paul then grounded into a fielder’s choice, but Blum beat the throw to second base, and everybody was safe. David Palenzuela then stepped in and hit a comebacker that Deal gloved, but then dropped and the bases were loaded with nobody out. Norm Donkin grounded a single through the hole between shortstop and third base to bring in Blum. The next batter, Kam Stewart grounded into a double play, erasing Donkin from the basepaths, but scoring Paul to make it 3-0 SwampDogs.
The Dogs would plate another three runs in the second inning, when Chase Edwards would lead off with a walk, then Brandon Metoyer singled to put runners at first and second. Michael Bozarth would lay down a perfect bunt single, and Gastonia third baseman Zach Schritenthal threw the ball away and Edwards came in to score, while Metoyer advanced to third. Blum would single to bring home Metoyer, then Paul would ground into a double play, which brought in Bozarth to make it 6-0 in favor of the Dogs.
In the third inning, Donkin drew a leadoff walk then stole second base. After an Alex Harris walk, Edwards knocked in Donkin with a single to make it 7-0. But then the Grizzlies would start their comeback, plating three runs in the bottom of the third against Ryan Stinar.
The SwampDogs would get one back in the top of the fourth, with Bozarth leading off with a single, then stealing second base. Two batters later, Palenzuela drove him home with a base hit, and the Dogs were on top 8-3.
The Grizzlies, however, would come back to tie the game up, with a run in the fourth, and four runs in the fifth, the first two in that inning coming off of Stinar, the other two were charged to Will Bacon, who relieved Stinar after he allowed back-to-back hits to lead off the inning.
The SwampDogs would come back and retake the lead in the next half inning, when Paul led off with an infield single. He advanced to second when Palenzuela collected his second hit of the game. Donkin placed a sacrifice bunt up the first base line to advance the runners over. Stewart then grounded out to shortstop, scoring Paul to make it 9-8 Dogs.
Bacon, unfortunately, would surrender a run in the bottom half of the inning, and the score would once again be tied at 9.
Both teams’ pitching would settle down in the seventh and eighth, as both teams were held off the scoreboard by Charlie Richardson of the Grizzlies, and Ryan Domingue of the SwampDogs.
In the ninth inning, Henry Rundio led off against Domingue with a single, and three batters later, a Zade Denton sacrifice fly brought him in to win the game and complete the comeback for the Grizzlies, who never held a lead in the game.
Domingue got the loss and moves to 0-1, Richardson won and is now 1-0. The SwampDogs will be off tomorrow before traveling to take on the High Point-Thomasville HiToms on Monday night.
The Coastal Plain League is the nation’s hottest summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 18th season in 2014, the CPL features 14 teams playing in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The CPL gives college players the chance to refine their skills with the use of wooden bats. Players are housed with local host families for the summer and past experiences have been very positive for both players and hosts. The CPL has had over 1,200 alumni drafted and 69 of those – including 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander – make their Major League debut; while another notable alum - Russell Wilson - won Super Bowl XLVIII. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at