A milestone night for Devon Torrence helped the Lancaster Barnstormers avoid reaching one of their own on Thursday.
After four professional seasons and five years away from the game before joining Lancaster this year, Torrence can finally check something off his list — his first career home run. And the center fielder picked the perfect time for his big hit.
With Thursday’s game against High Point tied in the fourth inning, Torrence drove an 0-2 pitch just over the wall in right field at Clipper Magazine Stadium, putting the home team ahead for good.
The solo shot was one of three homers for the Barnstormers as they snapped an eight-game losing streak, one short of matching the longest in franchise history, and avoided a series sweep with a 5-3 win over the Rockers.
“It feels good. Obviously home runs are pretty cool, but they like it more than I do,” Torrence said with a laugh, motioning to his teammates celebrating in the clubhouse. “It wasn’t like I was trying or anything. I was just trying to put the ball in play, two strikes, trying to use my speed. (High Point starter Tyler Herron) was pitching inside a little bit and I think he tried to throw a breaking ball in there and I just kind of put the barrel on it and it went.”
Just like Wednesday, which ended with a late-night 7-1 High Point win, the Rockers (4-4, 45-33) got on the board in Thursday’s first inning. Quincy Latimore went opposite field, sending a two-out, two run homer into the picnic deck.
The Barnstormers (1-6, 25-51) got one back with Joe Terdoslavich’s solo shot in the bottom of the first, but Matt Jones made it a two-run game again in the next inning with an RBI single.
Again, Lancaster was able to rally, this time behind Torrence’s speed.
Leading off the second inning, he legged out a bunt single before stealing second with Warwick graduate Zach Shank at the plate. Shank took first on a dropped third strike to put runners on the corners and Darian Sandford brought in Torrence by dropping a double past a sliding Latimore in left.
Shank scored on Anderson De La Rosa’s grounder to second to tie the game 3-3.
“Lately, it’s been when we get down it’s like here we go again instead of finding a way to get through it and compete,” Barnstormers manager Ross Peeples admitted. “Today, we got down early, but we kept fighting, kept putting together some at bats. Sometimes all it takes is one big hit or one win to kind of get things going.”
The Barnstormers pitchers took over from there, giving up just four hits over six scoreless innings, while starter Buddy Baumann snapped his own seven-game losing streak and picked up his third win of the season.
An inning after Torrence went deep, Caleb Gindl sent his own solo shot to right to close out the team's first win since July 7.
“We've been in some games and just continuing to fight, so I'm just excited that we finally got over that hump,” said Torrence. “I'm looking forward to us continuing to fight like that, battle and just keep battling and grinding out those wins. We're looking to put it all together in the second half and really make a push.”
Matt Jones flies out to right and the Barnstormers hold on for a 5-3 win over High Point. 3 solo homers help Lancaster snap an 8-game losing streak. pic.twitter.com/FQ6HONJUQ2— Diana Pugliese (@dianapugs) July 19, 2019