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Rockers Smother Honey Hunters, 10-3

By Steve Shutt, 09/09/21, 10:45PM EDT

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Atkins, Russell, Latimore lead High Point to win

      HIGH POINT, N.C. – A couple of old, familiar faces resurfaced on Thursday night as the High Point Rockers posted a 10-3 win over the Gastonia Honey Hunters at Truist Point.

       Rockers’ starting pitcher Mitch Atkins picked up his first win as a Rocker since June 8 and infielder Michael Russell came off the injury list and returned to the field for the first time since July 30 and slammed two hits, including a double, scored twice and drove in a run.

               High Point pounded 10 hits and the Rockers pitching staff fanned 13 and didn’t allow a hit after the second inning in a commanding performance.

               The win keeps the Rockers a game in front of West Virginia in the Atlantic League South standings.  High Point is now 20-12 while the Power is 19-13.

               Atkins (2-1), who spent a good portion of the summer pitching in the Mexican League, went five innings and scattered five hits while walking two and striking out five.  Ryan Chaffee and Joe Johnson each threw a scoreless inning in relief.  Hennessey pitched the eighth and ninth innings, striking out the first five hitters he faced before getting an infield pop out to end the game.

               The Honey Hunters tallied a run in the first when Boog Powell singled and scored on an RBI single by DH Ryan Cordell. 

               The Rockers scored twice in the first for a 2-1 lead.  Russell laced a double into the left field corner before Michael Martinez drew a walk.  The pair each stole a base to put runners on second and third.  Jerry Downs singled to score Russell and Stephen Cardullo followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home Martinez.

               Gastonia went up 3-2 in the second when Jake Skole led off the frame with a double and Mike Papi brought him home on a two-bagger.  Jake Romanski singled to move Papi to third who then scored on a Rocker error.  But Romanski’s single would be the last time a Honey Hunter gathered a hit.  Atkins induced Powell to end the inning on a 4-3 double play and it was all smooth sailing after that.

               The Rockers took the lead for good in the second when Johnny Field tripled to score Stuart Levy.  Field then scored on a throwing error by Gastonia first baseman Emmanuel Tapia.  That left the Rockers with a 4-3 lead and they were never headed.

               High Point increased its lead to 7-3 on a three-run homer by Quincy Latimore in the third.  The Rockers added a pair of runs in the fourth on a sac fly by Downs and an RBI single by Cardullo for a 9-3 advantage.  Russell had an RBI single in the fifth to bring home Jay Gonzalez who had reached on a single.

               John Anderson (0-1), making his first appearance for Gastonia, took the loss.  He allowed seven hits and nine runs over 3.2 innings while walking five.

               Downs, Latimore and Russell each finished with a pair of hits.  Latimore drove in three runs while Downs and Cardullo had two RBI apiece.

               High Point will remain at home for the next three nights and try to increase its South Division lead.  The Rockers will host the second-place West Virginia Power in a three-game series that starts Friday night at 7:05 p.m. at Truist Point.