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Jun. 3—Morrison homers twice; Rockers roll



HIGH POINT — Logan Morrison continued to rediscover his longball swing in impressive fashion Wednesday.

Morrison, who is with the Rockers after 11 straight seasons in the Major Leagues, belted two home runs — the first a two-run shot that started a six-run first and the other a jaw dropping blast in the fifth— that helped spark a 13-4 victory over Lancaster on Wednesday at Truist Point stadium.

The blows followed his first homer of the season against the Barnstormers on Tuesday.

“It was nice to get LoMo going,” Rockers manager Jamie Keefe said. “He saw it last night and he saw it tonight. He’s the hardest worker here. We’ve got two or three guys with big league time that work harder than anybody and it sets a good example of the guys. He’s working with some of the younger guys and the repercussions are great.

It was the first two-homer game for a Rocker since Jared Mitchell did it against Somerset near the end of the 2019 season.

“He’s starting to see the ball himself and has a smile on his face,” Keefe added. “That’s big. Having known him for a few years, it’s nice to see him smile on the baseball field right now. It’s important to him and important to see that. He keeps swinging it like that and something special is going to happen.”

Morrison said he has been working on getting better weight distribution when he swings. He finally made it work after Lancaster switched to a righthanded reliever on Tuesday.

He struck again with Adam Taylor on in the first Wednesday, belting a fastball over the right field wall to tie the score at 2-2. The Rockers went on to score four more, one on Logan Moore’s RBI single, and three on Giovanny Alfonzo’s bases-clearing double.

“(Morrison’s) homer is exactly what we needed,” Keefe said. “We needed an answer for those guys. It got us going. We put up six and then scored some more later. We had good at-bats all night and that’s the important thing.”

Lancaster (3-3) never threatened as the Rockers (5-1) posted their fifth straight win after a season-opening loss at York. They have scored 47 runs during the streak

High Point added four in the third on a wild pitch with the bases loaded, RBI singles by Cesar Trejo and Michael Russell; and Taylor’s sacrifice fly. The Rockers enjoyed a 10-4 lead when Morrison, who has hit 140 homers in 997 Major League games, belted a ball over the video board in right.

“He got that one,” Keefe said. “That’s the farthest a ball’s been hit here. Anytime he says, ‘Oooh, I got that one,’ he got it. He’s hit some long ones in the big leagues over the years. He’s doing what we asked him to do and that’s to lead by example and come to the ballpark and work every day.”

Edwin Arroyo also got into the homer act by hitting a shot that was part of a two-run eighth.

Morrison, who was lifted for a pinch hitter in the seventh, finished 3 for 3 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Alfonzo was 3 for 4 with three RBIs and a run scored. Taylor finished 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI.

“Gio has been awesome,” Keefe said. “We worked on some things during spring training and it changed his thought process at the plate and he’s getting the barrel out right now. “

Lancaster scored all of its runs against Cooper Casad, who was lifted after giving up two in the fifth. The Rockers bullpen gave up just one hit over the remaining 4 2/3 innings, with Isaac Sanchez, who replaced Casad, picking up his first win of the season. Barnstormer starter Danny Taggert lasted just two innings and was the loser.

“The bullpen was outstanding and Coop, to come out and do what he was able to do and have a 26-minute inning, that’s a long time to sit,” Keefe said. “We saw the repercussions of that two innings later. He had enough left in the tank the first inning and then the next inning you are going to struggle. His pitch count is not up and this is the most he’s been stretched all year. But we needed him to get into the fifth, just because we only had four or five guys in the bullpen tonight,and wanted to really use just four to be protected for tomorrow night.

“That double-hook rule (where the designated hitter goes away when a starting pitcher is replaced) is huge. Coop pitched well enough to get the win but he didn’t and Sanchez comes in and gets out of it (with two on). He got a win and that’s big for him.”

Craig Stem is expected to be the starting pitcher for the final game of the series tonight, with Luke Westphal starting on the mound Friday for the first game of a three-game set against Gastonia.