The Cubs, an adult baseball team with a roster full of Stokes County players, have opened the 2018 season strong. After games this past weekend, they are 2-0 and at the top of the Triad Adult Baseball League standings.
Due to a rainout on April 8, the season opened at Stoner White Field in Greensboro on April 14 when the Cubs defeated the Pirates 9-5 in a dramatic late-game comeback. The team was back in action on April 15 at Leonard Recreation Center in Greensboro where they beat the Dodgers 13-9.
In their win over the Pirates on Saturday, the Cubs were held hitless until the bottom of the fifth inning when Jacob Williams of Pine Hall singled to center. By the end of that inning, the Cubs were on the scoreboard at last, but still down 1-3.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Cubs began a rally that would add eight more runs to their total. Mason Dutton of King led off with a base on balls. He advanced to second when the next batter reached base on an error, then Dutton scored the first run of the inning when Slater Jones doubled.
The next batter, Chris Aviles, singled down the third base line to score two more runs, putting the Cubs on top 4-3. Alan Brewer of Danbury was then hit by a pitch, followed by a single by Tanner Lomax of King. Lomax was thrown out at second when Grayson Tong grounded into a fielder’s choice, but Aviles was able to score the fifth run on that play.
Next up, Williams walked to load the bases. At the plate was cleanup hitter, Keelan Marshall, of King. With a 2-1 count, Marshall hit a mammoth shot that cleared the wall at left-center—a grand slam that put the Cubs up 9-3.
Although the Pirates were able to score two runs in the top of the eighth, it wasn’t enough, and the Cubs won 9-5. For the Cubs, Ryan Smith of Walnut Cove allowed three runs on four hits with four strikeouts and only one walk in five innings of work on the mound. Marshall pitched two and two-thirds innings in relief, allowing two runs on no hits, three strikeouts and five walks. Lomax closed out the game by coming in to retire the final batter.
Lomax was the starting pitcher when the Cubs faced the Dodgers the next day. The Dodgers were quick to draw first blood in the top of the first when they scored two runs, but the Cubbies answered with two of their own in the bottom half of the inning.
The game remained tied until the bottom of the third. Mitchell Edwards of Pine Hall led off with a single, followed by a single from Brewer. When Lomax walked, the bases were loaded with Williams, who had singled in the first, at the plate. He came through with a blazing double to the center field wall, putting the Cubs up by three runs.
Williams went to third when the third strike to Marshall got by the catcher. With Marshall now on first, the Cubs had runners at the corners with Elijah Evans of Walnut Cove up to bat. Evans reached on an error that allowed Williams to score. Marshall eventually scored as well, putting the Cubs ahead 7-3.
The Dodgers mounted a rally of their own in the top of the fourth, coming to within one run of the Cubs. But the Cubs responded with another five-run inning in the bottom of the fourth. Stokes County boys played a big role in the rally: singles by Smith, Lomax and Drew Bowman; a fielder’s choice by Jordan Herron of Germanton and a walk to Brewer.
But the Dodgers weren’t going down easily. In the top of the sixth, they scored three runs, making the score 12-9. However, after the Cubs scored another run in the bottom of the sixth, the Dodgers were unable to rally again. Edwards came in to relieve Jonathan Montgomery of Germanton in the top of the seventh and retired the Dodgers in 1-2-3 order.
Eleven of the Cubs’ 20 players are former players for North, South and West Stokes high schools, and many of them played Little League together. They are managed by Brewer, the only former NSHS player on the team. He is also the only remaining original player on the Cubs’ team which was formed eight years ago as the Twins.
The Cubs will face the Athletics on Sun., April 22, at 7 p.m. at Leonard Recreation Center. There is no charge for TABL games, and the public is invited.