Rails sweep first place Spinners to pick up ground in CVCL

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Wm. Byrd grad Donny Lewis(left) of the Roanoke Rails touches helmets with Ethan Goforth after scoring in front of Goforth, who homered into the Kiwanis Field net in a win over Mooreseville.
PHOTO BY BRIAN HOFFMA

The Roanoke Rails will play back-to-back doubleheaders in Carolina-Virginia Collegiate League baseball action this weekend.

The Rails will host the Kernersville Bulldogs on Saturday at Kiwanis Field, with games at 5 and 7:30 pm. Kernersville leads the Eastern Division of the CVCL with a 22-4 record, the best overall in the 12 team league. On Sunday the Rails are in Holly Springs, NC for two against the Fuquay Varina Twins, beginning at 3 pm.

The Rails are 13-11 on the season and tied for third place in the Western Division with the Lenoir Oilers. Roanoke is a game and a half behind the Mooreseville Spinners in the West after sweeping two from the Spinners at Kiwanis Field last week, 3-1 and 5-4.

In game one Jimmy Butler (Hampden-Sydney) was on the bump for the Rails and Cole Lovin (UNC Pembroke) was the starter for the Spinners. Butler made quick work of the first three Spinners batters, dispatching the visitors on just six pitches.

In the bottom of the first inning, the Rails started strong as Dean Hermanson’s (Roanoke College) singled and Ethan Goforth (Carson -Newman) and Adam Linkous (Concord) both walked. With the bases loaded, second baseman Conner Watt (PHCC) drove a line shot to the deepest part of the ballpark, scoring all three baserunners and giving the Rails a three run early lead.

The rest of game was a duel between Butler and Lovin. Butler allowed just four hits in seven innings of work, struck out five, and surrendered one run when a line-drive hit him in the foot in the last inning. Lovin was nearly as good, dispensing six hits with five walks and two strikeouts.

In game two, Glenvar grad Zach Duncan took the mound for the first time this season. The Gardner-Webb redshirt fought off some injuries last year but was in fine form against the Spinners.

The Rails opened the scoring in the bottom of the third. Donny Lewis (Covenant) worked an eight pitch walk and immediately stole second base. Goforth, boasting a .423 batting average, stepped into the batter’s box and blasted a home run into the leftfield screen.

In the home third, Hermanson’s leadoff single started the inning and the red hot Goforth doubled. Tyler Blevins (Hampden-Sydney) was intentionally walked, bringing Watt to the plate. Conner ripped a single, scoring Hermanson and Goforth.  Catcher Ben Harron (Randolph-Macon) topped off the inning with an RBI base hit, plating Blevins.

Duncan was fantastic, striking out four and allowing no runs in six innings of work. The Rails struggling bullpen hung on, capturing the sweep with a 5-4 win when pitcher Kellen Larkin (UVA-Wise) speared a line drive to save the day.

The Rails split two doubleheaders over the weekend at Kiwanis Field. On Saturday Mnich got the win as Roanoke took a 6-4 win over Deep River, but the Muddogs won the nightcap, 7-5. On Sunday Roanoke split with Charlotte, dropping the opener, 5-4, but rallying to win the nightcap, 6-1.