ZooKeepers deal with curves late in season

Asheboro ZooKeepers outfielder Carter French reaches for second base on a slide earlier this season. French plays for North Carolina during the college season. (PJ. Ward-Brown/Randolph Record)

ASHEBORO – Highs and lows, comings and goings.

That sums up what the Asheboro ZooKeepers have been going through lately.

In the past week’s games, they’ve gone 2-2.

Saturday night’s 12-1 whipping of the Holly Springs Salamanders at McCrary Park came with numerous highlights, including the first home run for Lleyton Lackey. The game was reduced to seven innings by the mercy rule, with Win Scott firing a four-hitter.

Yet it’s generally hard to figure who might be the main contributors with a revolving roster. Once a 34-player roster, there were 28 listed players Friday night, with more early departures likely.

The ZooKeepers lost shortstop Alex Lodise, who came a couple of weeks into the season and left with a couple of weeks remaining. It was quite an offseason for Lodise, who transferred from North Florida to Florida State and batted .368 with the ZooKeepers.

Another infielder, Tanner Thomas of Longwood, played just six games with Asheboro.

First baseman Tyler McPeak, the only position player from the team selected for last week’s CPL All-Star Game, has played sparingly recently as he deals with ailments. He did have a ninth-inning game-tying hit in the All-Star Game.

The ZooKeepers are down to four remaining home games – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and then Aug. 1.

Jared Beebe homered and drove in five runs and Jay Dillard also homered among his four hits and knocked in four runs as the ZooKeepers thumped the High Point-Thomasville HiToms 12-6 at Finch Field in Thomasville on Thursday night after the league-wide two-day All-Star break.

Hunter Hill, who’s from Asheboro, logged 4 1/3 innings as the ZooKeepers’ starting pitcher and gave up six runs on 10 hits. Matt Kemp, a Randleman product, worked an inning in relief in his first game of the year with the team.

On Friday night, Asheboro and the HiToms both stranded 14 runners, but High Point-Thomasville was boosted by Austin Dearing’s two-run homer in a 5-1 victory at McCrary Park. Dallas Callahan had two of the ZooKeepers’ six hits, but struck out with the bases loaded to end the game.

Asheboro starting pitcher Ethan Snyder struck out 10 batters in five innings.

By Bob Sutton