Wilmington Sharks Press Release
Wilmington, NC--The Edenton Steamers (43-16) scored 8 runs between the sixth and ninth innings as they defeated the Wilmington Sharks (31-26) by a score of 8-3 on Sunday night at the Shark Tank in Wilmington. Edenton leads Wilmington 1-0 in the Eastern Championship Series, as the Sharks will have to win back-to-back games in Edenton on Monday and Tuesday in order to advance to the Petitt Cup Finals.
The Sharks jumped out to a 1-0 advantage in the third inning following Nick Rotola’s single on the first pitch of the inning. He would steal second base just before Brett Smith was hit by his 14th pitch of the summer. A wild pitch would move two into scoring position. Kyle Nowlin drove in Rotola with a backside groundout.
Wilmington tacked on another run in the fifth as Smith singled through the middle. Destino’s single in the same spot was mishandled by Cole Gruber in centerfield, allowing Smith to speed in to score from first base, putting the Sharks up 2-0 through five complete.
Sharks starter Caleb Johnson cruised through the first five innings of the ballgame, holding the CPL’s most dangerous offense to just two hits to that point. Their third trip through the lineup, something clicked. Edenton brought in four runs on four hits as well as a sacrifice fly. Three runs were credited to Johnson, while the last was the responsibility of Castellani, who replaced Johnson after the first three hits of the inning.
Trailing 4-2 in the eighth inning, the Sharks had a tremendous chance to turn the ballgame around. Alex Destino led the charge with a single, his third hit of the night. Kyle Nowlin’s double put men on second and third - they were joined on base after Sam Foy walked. However, the Sharks would leave them loaded after Steamers reliever Devin Watts sat the next two down in succession.
Edenton obtained a substantial amount of wiggle room in the ninth, when Mick Fennell homered to right with the bases loaded. Fennell’s grand slam was the fourth of five hits in the ninth, and his first home run of the year.
Trailing 8-2, Matt Whatley was inserted to pinch hit for Kennard McDowell. Whatley’s second homerun of the summer brought the Sharks within five, but they would get no closer.