Surfin' Turfs continue strong start, improve to 12-2 on the season

by Eric Vah

Photo courtesy of Grant Gursky. 

Brunswick rallied from behind on the road twice, and bounced back impressively on Father's Day at home as the Surfin' Turfs continued their strong play in all facets of the game en route to a 4-1 week. 

Right-handed pitcher Sean Smith (UNC Greensboro) led the way on the mound for Brunswick, fanning nine batters with one walk and a 0.00 ERA in eight innings of work this past week. Smith was named the ONSL Pitcher of the Week for his elite performance. 

At the plate, the Surfin' Turfs were led primarily by first baseman Kaden Swaim (Cleveland Community College), who had four multi-hit games and eight RBI, and catcher Kyle Robitzsch (North Georgia), who had three multi-hit games, two extra-base hits and four RBI. 

Versus Clinton Royals (June 11)

The week started out with a 9-1 victory over the Clinton Royals at Founders Field on Tuesday in seven innings. Second baseman Tristan Hunt (Coker University) went 2-for-3 with three RBI, one extra-base hit and one stolen bag. Catcher Zack Counts (Gordon State College) also had two hits, going 2-for-4 on the night and adding two RBI. 

Pitchers Cam Jernigan (Brunswick Community College), LeFredrick Wooten (Carolina Rays Collegiate) and Nick Randall (North Georgia) fanned two batters each in their time on the mound, with only one hit being allowed amongst the three. Brunswick only allowed four hits total on the night. 

Right fielder Raebert De Los Santos (Central Methodist) hit a home run in the sixth inning to cut into the lead, but left-handed pitcher Nick Graney (Brunswick Community College) responded by striking out third basemen Sam Lilly and causing designated hitter Frederich Montero (Fayetteville Tech Community College) to pop out to first base, ending the inning and eventually the Surfin' Turfs were able to seal the deal in the final inning. 

Versus Sanford Spinners (June 13)

Brunswick had a three-game road stand in three days, starting with a road game against the Sanford Spinners on Thursday at Tramway Park. After the first six innings went back-and-forth with the Spinners on top 5-4, the Surfin’ Turfs rattled off four runs with two outs in the seventh to take an 8-5 lead. 

Swaim hit a ground ball and reached base due to an Ashworth error at first, scoring Hunt. Then, shortstop Nick DiSanti (Mount Olive) doubled on a line drive to left field as Swaim scored. Left fielder Matt DiSanti (Finger Lakes Community College) followed that up with a double of his own, also on a line drive to left field, scoring Nick DiSanti. 

Right-handed pitcher Tucker Webb came in relief of left-handed pitcher Eddie Thompson after this, but it would not stop Brunswick from adding to the lead. Right fielder Jordan Overton (Iona) also doubled on a line drive to left field, scoring Matt DiSanti, extending the lead to 8-5. 

With the score still 8-5, Jernigan allowed only one hit in the bottom of the ninth from right fielder Christian Grino as the Surfin’ Turfs extended their winning streak to nine in a row. 

Versus Jacksonville Ospreys (June 14)

Brunswick followed that game up with another hard-fought victory over the Jacksonville Ospreys 10-8 in extra innings at Jack Amyette Park on Friday. 

The Surfin’ Turfs had a 5-3 lead in the seventh inning when infielder Jason Mack (UNC Wilmington) had a line drive double, clearing the bases as infielder Quinn Schultz and first baseman Noah Gagol scored to tie the game with two outs as Mack was caught advancing to third. 

Mack went 2-for-6, Gagol hit 3-for-5 and Schultz finished 1-for-4. Each of them had one double on the night. Shortstop Kyle McConachie (Highland Community College) also had multiple hits, going 2-for-5, and outfielder Will Tyrell (UNC Wilmington) also went 3-for-5 with a double for the Ospreys. 

The intensity continued to amp up in the eighth when outfielder Cory Chostner (East Central College) scored on a wild pitch from right-handed pitcher Ryder Wagenknecht (Gardner-Webb) and outfielder Ryan Davis (Cleary) scored on the very next wild pitch with Tyrell advancing to third. 

Meanwhile, McConachie drew a walk to put runners on the corners with no outs. However,  Brunswick made a critical pitching change to keep the game from getting out of hand. 

Right-handed pitcher Adam Olson (Viterbo) came in for Wagenknecht and fanned three consecutive batters, which helped set up the eventual tying run for the Surfin’ Turfs in the ninth inning. 

With two runners on and one out, first baseman Ellis Windheim (Gaston College) singled to left field, advancing pinch hitter Will Lafferty (Marshall) to third and scoring Matt DiSanti to cut the lead to 7-6. 

Then, Hunt singled on a hard ground ball to short, advancing Windheim to second and allowing Lafferty to score the tying run. Hunt finished 3-for-5 with a walk and an RBI, while Windheim went 1-for-2 with his base hit coming at the most crucial moment. 

Despite letting two hitters reach base in the bottom of the ninth, Olson held his own as Tyrell flew out to left field to send the game into extra innings. Olson had four strikeouts, three walks and only gave up two hits and no runs in three innings of work. 

With outfielder Branton Jernigan (UNC Greensboro) getting placed on second, Swaim drew a walk, then Nick DiSanti singled to left field, allowing Jernigan to score the go-ahead run with Swaim advancing to second. 

Jernigan excelled at the plate, going 4-for-5, while Nick DiSanti and Swaim also had excellent outings, with Nick going 2-for-6 with two RBI and Swaim going 2-for-4 with two RBI and two walks. 

Brunswick tacked on two more runs off a sacrifice fly from Overton and a Lafferty single, scoring Swaim and Nick DiSanti. 

With Tyrell getting placed at second base with McConachie at home, Tyrell eventually was able to advance to third on a passed ball from Olson, then McConachie singled, scoring Tyrell to cut the Brunswick lead to 10-8. 

Olson held strong as infielder Nathan McDonald (Mott Community College) bunted out, then Mack grounded one to short, leading to a 6-4-3 double play to clinch a hard-fought win for the Surfin’ Turfs as they extended their winning streak to 10 in a row. 

Versus Hope Mills Rockfish (June 15)

With the short turnaround, it was the perfect opportunity for the Hope Mills Rockfish to strike and seek revenge on Brunswick, who defeated them 8-7 in emphatic fashion off a walk off base hit from Nick DiSanti at Founders Field on June 2. 

The Rockfish did get the best of the Surfin’ Turfs, defeating them 10-1 on Saturday at Hope Mills Municipal Park, headlined by a grand slam from catcher Matthew Perez (Gaston College) in the second inning. 

It was a balanced attack for Hope Mills, as six different batters recorded a base hit, and only third baseman Zach Hunt (Florence-Darlington Technical College) had multiple base hits. 

Meanwhile, right-handed pitcher Jack Anderson (Fayetteville Tech Community College) pitched a scoreless five innings to start the game and had two strikeouts and four walks. 

Perez got the scoring started with his grand slam, but the Rockfish were not done there. Sacrifice flies from first baseman Colby Thorndyke (Coastal Carolina) and center fielder Stephen Kriner (Louisburg College) in the fourth gave the Rockfish a commanding 7-0 lead. 

Despite the Surfin’ Turfs falling behind, they would not go down without a fight thanks to a solo home run to right field from pinch hitter Hudson Brannon in the top of the seventh. Brannon came off the bench for Windheim and also added another base hit en route to a 2-for-2 performance. 

Swaim also continued his stellar play at the plate, going 3-for-4, while Lafferty and Counts also had two hits on the night. 

But the Surfin’ Turfs could not climb back after falling behind early, as the Rockfish played stellar defense, turning two double plays and committing zero errors, playing a clean game on defense as Brunswick’s win streak was snapped. 

Versus Hope Mills Rockfish (June 16)

The Surfin’ Turfs used the loss as motivation the following day, exacting revenge on the Rockfish 9-3 on Sunday at Founders Field for their second win at home over the Rockfish this season. 

Three batters had at least three hits, with Robitzsch going 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI, catcher Brenner Gursky (Brunswick Community College) going 3-for-5 with a stolen base and Overton going 3-for-4 as well. 

Smith had his standout performance in this game, getting the start and fanning eight batters with no walks while only giving up two hits and no runs in four innings on the mound, which helped Brunswick take control of the game. 

Meanwhile for Hope Mills, first baseman Caleb Holland (UNC Greensboro) had his second homer of the season at Founders Field in the sixth inning to put the Rockfish on the board. 

Thorndyke, the leadoff hitter, batted 2-for-4 and scored in the eighth as right fielder Malachi Gales (UNC Greensboro) reached first base off a fielder’s choice. 

Left-handed pitcher Lucas Morgan (Lenoir Community College) led the way on the mound for Hope Mills, fanning two batters and giving up only one earned run on three hits in two innings pitched. 

The Surfin’ Turfs gradually built up their lead with two runs in the first and two runs in the fourth before exploding in the seventh inning with five runs.

Overton led things off by getting hit by the pitch, which led to back-to-back base hits from Lafferty and Gursky. Then, Hunt, the leadoff hitter, walked and Robitzsch doubled and the Rockfish were still looking for their first out of the inning. 

Eventually, Hope Mills extinguished the red-hot batting of Brunswick as the Surfin’ Turfs nearly batted around the order with a 9-1 lead heading into the eighth. 

Thorndyke and Kriner scored in the eighth to cut the lead to six runs, 9-3, but it was not enough as the Rockfish were overmatched and Brunswick bounced back to improve to 12-2 on the season heading into the fourth week of the summer 2024 season. 

Up Next

The Surfin’ Turfs will play six games in six days, hosting the Spinners on Tuesday at 5 p.m., the Tar Heel Kings of the Southeastern Baseball League on Thursday at 6 p.m. and the Sandhills Bogeys on Sunday at 5 p.m. 

Brunswick will travel to Sandhills twice this week to face the Bogeys on Wednesday and Saturday, respectively, with both games starting at 7 p.m. at Dempsey Diamond at Bogey Ballpark. It will also travel to face the Burlington Sock Pups on Friday at 7 p.m. at Burlington Athletic Stadium. All games will be streamed on the Foul Pole Sports Network.