Ryan Welke Blasts Game-Winning Solo Homer in Owls Debut
Forest City, NC- Ryan Welke didn't wait too long to endear himself to the fans in Forest City. The College of Charleston catcher smacked a two-out, solo home run off Florence's Robert Lawhon in the 8th inning to give the Owls a 5-4 win over the RedWolves. Forest City has now won four in a row and is undefeated at McNair Field this season.
The home run was the only blemish on an otherwise stellar night of relief for Lawhon. He gave up just the one run on the one hit over five innings of work. The righty from the University of Tennessee held up the Owls offense long enough to buy time for the RedWolves to come back after Forest City jumped out to an early 4-0 lead.
The Owls tagged Florence starter Matt Jimenez for four runs on six hit in the 3rd inning. Dykota Spiess led off with a single and advanced on a groundout. Nate Chong singled to put runners on the corners with one out. Gunnar Heidt followed with his first hit in an Owls' uniform, a stinging triple to the gap in right-centerfield to score both runners. A wild pitch scored Heidt and Bryan Aanderud lined out. Then, Will Chandler doubled and Welke singled. That was followed by a Stephen Tarkenton single between third and shortstop to score Chandler.
Forest City couldn't hold the lead though as Florence grabbed one in the fourth inning on an RBI double. The other three came in the 7th inning against Drew Reynolds. The Cherryville, NC native walked the first two batters he faced, before surrendering an RBI double to Nick Radomski. Two more runs scored via the groundout. Reynolds faced a jam with two on and no one out in the 8th as well, but got a fielder's choice and a double play to set the stage for Welke's heroics.
Ryan Tezak turned in the third straight quality start for the Owls by going six innings and giving up just one run on five hits with six strikeouts, but was left with his second no-decision. Jason Driver pitched the 9th for his first save.
Tomorrow night will see the Owls host a doubleheader against the Asheboro Copperheads. The first game will start at 6:30 PM and be a continuation of the game that was suspended Opening Night with the score tied 5-5 in the bottom of the 10th inning. After the conclusion of that game, there will be a twenty minute break before a full nine-inning game between the Owls and Copperheads. Call 828-245-0000 to order tickets or stop by the ticket booth at McNair Field.
The Forest City Owls are a proud member of the Coastal Plain League, the nation's hottest summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 16th season in 2012, 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. Furthermore, the CPL has had over 930 alumni drafted and 51 alums make their Major League debut thus far. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at www.coastalplain.com, and be sure to friend us on Facebook (at www.facebook.com/coastalplainleague) and follow us via Twitter (@cpleague).
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