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Rockers Come From Behind to Boil Blue Crabs

By Steve Shutt, 10/03/21, 9:15PM EDT

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High Point fans 12, collects big hits

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point Rockers came from behind to post a 9-7 win over Southern Maryland in front of 2,079 fans at Truist Point on Sunday night. It marked the final home game of the regular season for the Rockers.

The win kept the Rockers five games in front of the Blue Crabs for the Atlantic League’s wild card playoff spot.  High Point continues to trail Charleston by 3.5 games in race for the South Division second half title.

High Point will now take its playoff hopes on the road, playing three at Southern Maryland this coming week before closing the regular season at Lancaster.

“We’re going to do everything we can over the next eight days to make the playoffs,” said Rockers manager Jamie Keefe.

Sunday’s game featured four lead changes and wasn’t settled until shortstop Giovanny Alfonzo ranged behind second base and made an off-balance throw to first to retire Joe DeLuca for the final out.

High Point used eight pitchers who struck out 12 and kept Southern Maryland at bay.

“If we have to go to the bullpen in the fourth inning, that’s what we’ll do,” said Keefe.  “I will put our bullpen up against anybody’s.”

High Point took a 1-0 lead in the first when Michael Russell led off the inning with a single and scored on a double by Michael Martinez.

Southern Maryland took a 2-1 lead in the second when Tucker Nathans hit a solo homer and Jordan Howard delivered a sacrifice fly that scored Joe DeLuca.

The Rockers rebounded with a four-run third inning to take a 5-2 lead.  Quincy Nieporte and James McOwen each delivered two run doubles in the inning.

Ryan Chaffee relieved starter Tyler Garkow in the fourth and gave up a pair of two-run homers as the Blue Crabs took a 6-5 lead.

High Point answered with three runs in the fourth.  A single by Russell and a walk to Quincy Latimore preceded a two-run double by Jerry Downs.  Jared Mitchell then delivered a ground-rule RBI double into the left field corner to score Downs and put High Point on top 8-6.

The Blue Crabs made it an 8-7 game in the sixth on an RBI double by Zach Collier.

The Rockers added an insurance run eighth when Russell singled, took second on a throwing error and would score on a sacrifice fly by Latimore.

Jameson McGrane set the Blue Crabs down in order in the eighth and Kyle Halbohn did the same in the ninth to earn his 12th save of the year.  Joe Johnson (4-0) got the win while Patrick Baker (3-3) took the loss.

Russell finished the night with three hits and now leads the Atlantic League in batting with a .372 average.

“This was a huge win for us tonight,” said Russell.  “We really needed it.”

The Rockers will have Monday off and then start a three-game series at Southern Maryland on Tuesday.  The regular season concludes at Lancaster on Sunday, October 10 and the first round of the playoffs will start on Monday, October 11.