After a week of near misses, Saturday night proved to be the culmination of consistent effort that deserved a win.
Playing for the sixth day in a row to open the month of July, the SwampDogs came to the field with impressive resiliency. Each time Fayetteville allowed a run in the game, the team immediately responded with a run in the next half inning, breaking through in the sixth to earn a tenacious 6-4 victory over the Lexington County Blowfish.
"Some people might think that baseball is not a momentum thing, but baseball is a momentum game, because it's the energy that's in your dugout and on the field," said head coach Matt Hollod. "It's important to score when they score and it's important to shut them out after we score, and that's what we did tonight."
The SwampDogs continued to be opportunistic offensively Saturday, stealing five bases and scoring at least one run after every Blowfish mistake. The entire team delivered in clutch moments, with six different SwampDogs driving in a run.
"They kept attacking throughout the whole game," said pitcher Blake Schriever, who earned the win with three scoreless innings of relief. "It was clutch hitting [and] timely bunting. Play small ball correctly and you win games."
After Lexington County's offense looked hot early, Fayetteville's bullpen delivered seven brilliant innings to secure the win. The relief trio of Schriever (Cal State Northridge), Logan Carter (Middle Georgia State) and Austin Goff (Middle Georgia State) allowed just one run on five hits while posting a sparkling 7:0 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
"Every pitcher knows that they have to throw strikes in order to get guys out," Goff said. "It looked like [we] were wanting to start up something and get the second half going."
With both Wilmington and Morehead City losing, the SwampDogs picked up an important game in the divisional standings. Fayetteville will carry the victory into the All-Star break, enjoying four days off before resuming second half play on the road Thursday. The SwampDogs are back at home Friday for Spectacular Spookfest and Superhero Night at The Swamp.
"It's good to end on a positive after a tough week," Hollod said. "You go through stretches like that, but it could very well turn around… You just gotta keep approaching the game the same way every day."