ZooKeepers experience early ups, downs in CPL

Asheboro ZooKeepers teammates greet Alex Kean after his home run Saturday night against the Boone Bigfoots. (Asheboro ZooKeepers)

ASHEBORO – A mix of results has been the norm for the Asheboro ZooKeepers in the opening weeks of the Coastal Plain League baseball season.

So with a two-game winning streak, the ZooKeepers held a 6-7 record through Monday.

On Sunday in Boone, Ryan Kennell and Zach Evans each had three hits as the ZooKeepers upended the Boone Bigfoots 9-8 in 10 innings. Davis Germann provided the go-ahead single in the four-run final inning.

Owen Simmons and Mason Manriquez handled the pitching for Asheboro.

This came after the ZooKeepers, who are a summer collegiate team, won at home against the Bigfoots on Saturday night, claiming a 7-5 decision sparked by home runs from Owen Blackledge, Alex Kean and Kennell.

On Friday night, the ZooKeepers failed to protect a late four-run edge, falling 7-6 on the road to the Wilmington Sharks. That came a night after a rainout at Forest City, which led 2-0 in the second inning when play was halted.

Asheboro fell 8-3 to the visiting Martinsville Mustangs.

Amid the CPL games, the ZooKeepers handled the visiting Catawba Valley Stars 15-0 in a non-league home game.

One of the early ZooKeepers highlights came from Germann’s grand slam and Sam Siedel’s solo home run a 10-6 conquering of visiting High Point-Thomasville.

Germann and Kean are both players from Morehead State.

The ZooKeepers are in the middle of the West Division standings. Forest City tops the entire league by winning 12 of its first 13 games.

In Asheboro’s first 13 CPL games, four were decided by one run and another went into extra winnings. The ZooKeepers have put in some miles recently, playing in Wilmington last Friday and in Boone two days later.

Blackledge and Evans both rank among the top 15 in batting average in the league. Pitcher Caleb Cockerham of the ZooKeepers has rated among the CPL’s leading pitchers with a 0.77 earned run average across his first five games.

Coming up beginning later this week, the ZooKeepers have home games Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Tuesday.

By Randolph Record