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Cali’s three RBIs lead Danville to rout of Pulaski in season opener for both

A new era of Appalachian League baseball in the River City region got started on the right foot as the Danville Otterbots exploded for six runs in the bottom of the sixth …

Danville Otterbots infielder Caleb Cali takes a cut in the seventh inning of the Otterbots’ season opener against Pulaski Thursday evening. Photo: Davin Wilson/River City Sports.

DANVILLE, Va. — A new era of baseball in the River City started with a bang Thursday night at Dan Daniel Park.

The Danville Otterbots exploded for seven runs in the sixth inning on its way to a 13–1 rout of the Pulaski River Turtles in the Otterbots’ inaugural game.

CJ Cepicky (Missouri) kicked off the rally with a bases-loaded walk that gave Danville a 4–1 lead. Chenar Brown (Jackson State) pushed the Otterbots’ lead to five with his two-run single to right field and Caleb Cali (Hillsborough Community College) made it a 7–1 game with his run-scoring single.

AJ Fritz (SCF Mantee) kept the train rolling with a two-run triple to right-center and concluded the big inning by scoring on a wild pitch that gave Danville a 10–1 lead heading into the back three.

Fritz made history early on, recording the Otterbots’ first hit with his single through the left side in the bottom of the second inning. It was Jevin Relaford’s turn next as the Santa Fe College freshman drove in Danville’s first run with his double in the fourth that knotted the score at 1–1.

Danville (1–0) took its first lead courtesy of a two-run fifth. Cepicky led off the inning with a walk and Morgan Colopy (Indiana) followed with an infield single that gave the Otterbots runners on first and second base. Cepicky gave Danville its first lead when he scored on a wild pitch and a Pulaski error on Brown’s ground ball brought Colopy in and gave the Otterbots a 3–1 lead.

Pulaski (0–1) scored its first run in the third when John Bay (Oklahoma State) came around courtesy of a Danville miscue, giving the River Turtles a 1–0 advantage.

Danville’s bats continued smoking in the seventh as Cali knocked a two-run double that scored Tyrell Brewer (Charleston Southern) and Cepicky and gave the Otterbots a 12–1 cushion heading into the final two frames.

Relaford finished the scoring in the eighth with his RBI ground out to second.

Chico State and Danville pitcher Gavin Kinney found himself working out of the stretch in the top of the second as Dalton Ross (Tampa) led off the frame with a single to left and Tommy Woods (John Logan) and Josh Rolling followed with back-to-back singles to load the bases. However, Kinney responded by saying, ‘what pressure?’ as he used his fastball and breaking pitches to get three straight outs, with the last two coming on strikeouts.

Kinney scattered three hits and a run, while striking out four in 2.1 innings pitched. Manuel De Gracia (Wabash Valley) got the win on the bump, throwing 3.2 innings of one-hit relief, while striking out five as well. Grant Leader (Illinois) surrendered a hit and struck out three in two innings pitched. Adam Stone (Harvard) closed out the ninth, allowing one hit and striking out one.

Paco Hernandez (Oklahoma State) took the loss, allowing three runs on three hits, while also striking out three in 2.1 innings thrown.

Cali led Danville with three RBIs, while Ryan Hampe (Illinois) smacked a game-high four hits. Brown, Fritz and Relaford each drove in a pair of runs as well for the Otterbots. Colopy, Cali and Fritz each recorded a pair of hits.

Danville returns to action tonight when it concludes its two-game set with Pulaski. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.



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