LANCASTER, Pa. – Randy Norris lined a pinch-hit single up the middle in the top of the ninth inning to score Quincy Latimore and give the High Point Rockers a 4-3 victory over the Lancaster Barnstormers Saturday night at Clipper Magazine Stadium.
The win was High Point’s 64th of the season, assuring the Rockers will finish with the second-most overall victories in the Atlantic League in 2021. However, High Point’s playoff hopes will be determined on Sunday, the final day of the ALPB regular season. On Saturday, Southern Maryland swept a doubleheader from Lexington by scores of 7-4 and 2-1. Long Island defeated York 2-0.
The Atlantic League will crown its fourth playoff team on Sunday. While the Rockers’ results on Sunday will not play a role in earning a playoff berth, High Point will find out its fate. If Southern Maryland loses to Lexington and Long Island defeats York, then the Rockers will earn a playoff spot. The Rockers need the Long Island Ducks to repeat as second half champions of the North Division. If that is the case, then High Point gets into the playoffs via the wild card. But if Southern Maryland wins on Sunday, the Blue Crabs will earn the playoff spot by virtue of its first place finish in the North Division in the second half.
On Saturday, High Point took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning when Jared Mitchell led off the inning with a walk. He moved to second on a wild pitch by Lancaster starter Zach Smith then stole third. Logan Moore then flew out as Mitchell scored on the sacrifice fly.
The Rockers added a pair of runs in the third. Johnny Field drew a lead-off walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jay Gonzalez. Jerry Downs singled, moving Field to third before Quincy Nieporte singled to center to score Field and move Downs to second. Mitchell then followed with a single to left to score Downs and give the Rockers with a 3-0 lead.
Kelly Dugan homered for Lancaster in the bottom of the third to cut the deficit to 3-1. It was Dugan’s 15th homer of the year.
Lancaster pulled to within a single run at 3-2 in the fourth when Blake Allemand walked. Anthony Peroni laid down a sacrifice bunt but Nieporte had a throwing error allowing Allemand to score from first.
Allemand scored the tying run in the sixth. After a walk, Allemand moved to second on a single by Peroni and scored on a double by Cleuluis Rondon to knot the game at 3-3.
With one out in the eighth, Quincy Latimore doubled into the leftfield corner and then stole second. Norris battled reliever Logan Sawyer (0-1) before lining a single up the middle to score Latimore and give the Rockers a 4-3 lead.
High Point starter Tyler Garkow went four innings and struck out seven but was not involved in the decision. Ryan Dull (1-1) earned the win by striking out two in throwing a scoreless eighth inning. Kyle Halbohn earned his 13th save of the year by striking out the side in the ninth.
Latimore, Downs, Nieporte and Moore each finished with a pair of hits as High Point touched Lancaster pitchers for 14 hits.
High Point will close the regular season on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. vs. the Barnstormers at Regency Furniture Stadium.