The summer did not start off so well for the Martinsville Mustangs, losing the first two games. The Mustangs got in the win column Saturday night in Peninsula, and Monday night they were able to make it two wins in a row, defeating High Point-Thomasville 9-2 in the first of two seven-inning games at Hooker Field.
North Carolina’s Davis Palermo made his season debut in Friday’s loss in the team’s home opener, working 1.1 innings in relief with four strikeouts. On Monday, Palermo took the ball to start the game, and all he did was work four scoreless innings of scoreless ball, allowing two hits, one walk and striking out six. The Tar Heel product sat down the first nine batters he faced in order before getting into some trouble in the fourth inning.
The top of the fourth began with a leadoff walk, then a strikeout, but then the Hi-Toms hit back-to-back singles to load the bases. Palermo got the next guy on a strikeout and then got out of the jam unscathed with a groundout to second base.
“It was just trust yourself (and) throw strikes,” Palermo said. “It was just get back to what you were doing the first three innings, throw strikes and trust your defense to get you out of it.”
The Mustangs bats made sure to give Palermo some early run support. After sitting down the Hi-Toms 1-2-3 in the top of the first, the offense wasted little time getting him a lead. Josh Smith got the rally going by getting hit by a pitch. Trey Woosley followed with a double down the leftfield line. Casey Harford was next and he drove in Smith, but an error by the shortstop allowed Woosley to score, too, and the lead was 2-0. Harford came around to make it 3-0 when Ethan Whitley beat out what would’ve been an inning-ending double play.
“A ton of confidence,” Palermo said of pitching after getting early run support. “When the offense does their job and gets runs you’re pitching with the whole team behind your back. It makes it a lot easier.”
Palermo’s day was done after getting out the jam in the top of the fourth, and getting through that gave the bats new life, adding to the 3-0 lead in the bottom half of the inning. Riebock led off with a walk, Whitley singled and then Jack Sigrist loaded the bases when he was hit by a pitch. Two batters later, Colin Allman cleared the bases with a triple to the wall in right-center field to extend the lead to 6-0 and then he quickly scored when a groundball to short was bobbled. The out was made at first, but the bobble allowed Allman to come across with the seventh run of the night.
The bats weren’t done, adding two more in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kenny Bergmann doubled, moved to third on a single by Riebock and scored on a Whitley sacrifice fly. Riebock scored two batters later on a single by Tyler D’Alessandro.
The win made it two in a row for the Mustangs before the two teams ran it back again about a half hour following the conclusion of Game 1.
“It felt good,” Palermo said. “Everybody played well. It was a team win. It just feels good to get a winning streak going.”
Martinsville 9, HP-T 2 (GAME 1)
WP — D. Palermo (MVille) 4IP, 2H, 0R, 1BB, 6K
LP — E. Estridge (HP-T) 3IP, 2H, 3R, 2ER, 1BB, 5K
Martinsville hitters: C. Allman 1-4, 3RBIs, run scored; J. Smith 0-3, RBI, run scored; T. Woosley 1-4, run scored; C. Harford 0-4, RBI, run scored; K. Bergmann 1-2, run scored; T. Riebock 1-1, run scored, 2 walks; E. Whitley 1-2, 2RBIs, run scored; J. Sigrist 1-2, run scored; T. D’Allessandro 2-3, RBI
Martinsville made it three wins in a row Monday night by completing the sweep over High Point-Thomasville, 5-2, in Game 2 of the twin bill.
After taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on an RBI double by Harford, the Mustangs trailed for the first time of the night when the Hi-Toms sccored a pair of runs in the top of the second.
The lead didn't last long, however, as the Mustangs' bats responded in the bottom half. Allman, who had a big three-run triple in Game 1, singled in D'Allesandro. And then, in the third inning, Hank Moore doubled home three runs to give the Mustangs the lead for good.
Sam Kaplan earned the win for Martinsville, working three perfect innings in relief, striking out five in the process. Bryson Sullivan worked out of a jam in the sixth inning, and then Ryan Evans, the team's lone returner from last summer, got his first save of the season with 1-2-3 seventh inning.
Martinsville (3-2) will be off until Thursday when the Mustangs host Peninsula at 7:15.
Martinsville 5, High Point-Thomasville 2 (GAME 2)
WP - S. Kaplan (MVille) 3IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 5K
LP - N. Davis (HP-T) 4IP, 5H, 5ER, 4BB, 2K
Martinsville hitters: C. Allman 1-2, RBI, run scored, 2 walks; J. Smith 0-3; T. Woosley 0-3; C. Harford 3-3, RBI, run scored; T. Riebock 1-3, run scored; E. Whitley 0-3, run scored; J. Sisk 0-3; H. Moore 1-2, 3RBI, run scored, walk; T. D'Allessandro 1-2, walk