Colonial Heights, VA- There was no shortage of offensive ammunition for the Tri-City Chili Peppers on Military Appreciation Night at Shepherd Stadium. A three-homer game from Avery Neaves (College of Charleston) was a catalyst in a football like 20-14 scoreline in favor of the hosts over the Martinsville Mustangs Friday night.
Baseballs were flying out of Shepherd Stadium early and often yet again as Tri-City and Martinsville hitters combined for eight longballs, with three coming in the first inning alone. The Mustangs (6-11, 15-23) led off the night with back-to-back jacks against Drew Ramos (Randolph-Macon) but the Chili Peppers returned that favor with a home run by Danny Estrada (Frostburg State).
Despite the back and forth nature of the game, Tri-City (7-9, 19-20) never led until a massive eight-run bottom of the seventh inning. In between Martinsville twice led by four runs and led by five thanks to a five-spot in their half of the seventh inning. The Chili Peppers chipped away when they could, with Neaves getting the first of his three home runs on a solo shot in the third inning. Neaves hit his second dinger of the night in the fifth on a two-run home run that brought the Chili Peppers within 7-5. Alex Christie (Hanover) also added his fourth home run in the last three games vs the Mustangs in the same inning to further close the Tri-City deficit to one run.
Later on in the sixth inning, the Chili Peppers tied the game at seven apiece on a single by Michael Dolberry (UNC Pembroke). Very rarely does the 2023 All-Star have a night of quiet contributions, but with all of the longballs a two for five night with three RBIs might be easily overlooked. Dolberry also made the odds-on favorite for catch of the year, robbing his fellow Martinsville All-Star Carter Dorighi (Butler) of a ninth inning home run that would have been his fourth base hit of the night.
After the Mustangs scored five runs in the top of the seventh, Tri-City responded by sending twelve batters to the plate in the home half of the inning, scoring eight times on the way to their first lead of the night despite recording only two hits in the inning. Three of the eight runs came in via a walk or a passed ball.
Martinsville got back within one run in the eighth at 15-14, but the Chili Peppers added plenty of insurance in the home half of the same inning with the help of the third round-tripper of the night by Neaves that scored three runs. Cam Miller (Ashland) capped off a nice night individually by bringing in the 20th Chili Peppers run on a sacrifice fly. It was the first time this season the Chili Peppers passed the 20 run mark in a single game.
Saturday, July 29 (6:30) @ Holly Springs Salamanders, Listen on Mixlr
Sunday, July 30 (5:45) vs. Martinsville Mustangs, Faith Night
Tuesday, August 1 (5:00 & 7:00) vs. Peninsula Pilots
Wednesday, August 2 (7:00) @ Peninsula Pilots, Listen on Mixlr