The Covington Lumberjacks (12-12) are one of the hottest teams in the Valley Baseball League (VBL) right now.
After Sunday’s doubleheader split where the Lumberjacks walked off with a game two victory 10-9 over the New Market Rebels (16-12), the team has now won seven of their last nine games and are now at .500 baseball.
On Friday, June 4th, the Lumberjacks headed into their Friday night home game with a 5-10 record. Since then the Lumberjacks have been a completely different team and during those nine games even won a season-high four straight games.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Lumberjacks needed to rally to avoid being swept by the Rebels.
Trailing 9-8 in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Lumberjacks had runners on first and second base with two outs. On an 0-1 pitch, Nate Stocum (3-for-4) ripped a game-tying RBI single.
With the game tied at nine, the game went into extra innings. (A reminder that on days of doubleheaders, the VBL plays two seven inning games). In the bottom of the eighth inning, Luke Arnold (0-for-5) got in scoring position at third base with one out. Then in a rarity in baseball, Arnold scored on a balk by the Rebels pitcher to end the game.
Stocum led the way on offense for the Lumberjacks as he was one of two Lumberjacks with a three-hit game. Stocum had four RBI’s in the win. John Schroeder (3-for-3), also had a three-hit performance for the Lumberjacks, while also collecting two RBI’s. Schroeder has recorded five RBI’s in his last five games after not having any in his first five games.
While the Lumberjacks did put up 10 runs, the team did leave 13 runners on base. The Rebels also had trouble with runners on as they left 12 stranded.
Carson Lowder (W, 2-1), was the winning pitcher for the Lumberjacks. Lowder, the third pitcher used for the team in the second game of the doubleheader gave up three runs on five hits, while walking one, and striking out two in 2.2 innings. It was Lowder’s second win on the season.
Not only will the game be remembered as a walk-off Lumberjack win, but it will also will be remembered for leads that didn’t last. The Lumberjacks at one point had a 5-0 lead after two innings and even took a 8-3 lead going into the sixth inning before the Rebels scored six runs in the inning to take a 9-8 lead before seeing the Lumberjacks rally in their final at-bats and in extra innings.
In the first game, the Rebels held off the Lumberjacks 6-4.
Leading 5-0 early on, the Rebels saw their once five run lead fade down to one run following a three run sixth inning for the Lumberjacks who at the time cut their deficit down to 5-4. Cooper George (1-for-2) had a two-out RBI single, while Arnold (1-for-3) followed with a two-run home run.
The Rebels added an insurance run in the top of the seventh inning to take a 6-4 lead. With two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Lumberjacks were able to load the bases as an error by the third baseman nearly cost the Rebels. With the bases loaded and two outs, Cole Ketzner (1-for-3) grounded out to the third baseman who made it up from a previous error that would of ended the game sooner for the Rebels.
Joshua Rodriguez (2-for-3) finished the first game of the doubleheader as the only Lumberjack with a multiple-hit game one. The team only had five hits.
After Aaron Potter (L, 2-2) only last 1.1 innings where he gave up five runs (four earned) on four hits, while walking three, and striking out one, the Lumberjacks used two relivers to keep the team in the game as Garrett Bonnett and Nathaniel Gorczyca combined to pitch 5.2 inning of relief where they gave up one run on just two hits.
While Blayne Deaton (W, 3-1) surrendered four runs (three earned), he was good enough to earn his third win of the season after striking out a season-high eight batters in the win.
The Lumberjacks are off today, but will be back on the diamond on Tuesday as they are on the road in Charlottesville to face the TomSox. In five games this season, the Lumberjacks are 4-1 against the TomSox. Following their Tuesday game, the Lumberjacks return to Casey Field on Wednesday and Thursday for back to back home games against the Braves and Harrisonburg Turks.