Sharks overpower Steamers late, win Game 1
Wilmington 14 Edenton 7
By Craig Moyer
Friday, August 11, 2017
EDENTON — Wilmington scored 11 runs in the final three innings on their way to a 14-7 win over the Steamers in a pivotal game one of the best-of-three east division final on Thursday night at Hicks Field.
The long ball looked to be an advantage for the Steamers, but later proved to be their undoing, as the two teams each hit three home runs during the game.
Edenton got their offense going right away in the bottom of the first, as lead-off hitter Anthony Maselli reached on a four-pitch walk, followed by a two-run home run to left center by Chris Ayers to give the Steamers a 2-0 lead.
The Sharks were held scoreless by Steamers’ starting pitcher Kelvan Pilot through the first two innings, but tied things up in the third on back-to-back RBI singles by Luke Morgan and Trevor McCutchin, who finished the night with eight RBIs for Wilmington.
The Steamers regained the lead in the bottom half of the inning on their second homer of the night, a two-run shot to deep right field by Billy Wilson.
After the Sharks brought home a run in the top of the fifth to cut the lead to 4-3, Edenton looked to pad their lead in the bottom of the inning, as Ayers and Jason Agresti started the inning off with a pair of singles.
Wilson then drove what looked to be his second home run of the night to deep center field to give the Clams a 7-3 lead, but Sharks’ center fielder Justin Dean made a leaping catch at the wall to rob Wilson of the home run.
James Battley then drove a pitch right at Sharks’ third baseman Ben Highfill, who made the grab and then threw out Agresti at first for the inning-ending double play, which proved to be a huge swing in momentum.
The Sharks delivered their first long ball of the night in the seventh inning, a three-run shot by Danny Wondrack, giving Wilmington their first lead of the game at 6-4 after Morgan reached on an error and McCutchin walked.
Edenton responded in the next half inning, as Nick Wilson delivered a single to right, bringing Wilson in to score and Battley would come in to score the tying run on an error by Sharks’ right fielder McCutchin.
The game got away from the Steamers in the eighth, as Ayers came in from right field to pitch in his third appearance of the season on the mound.
The first three Sharks’ batters reached base on an infield single and a pair of bunt singles to load the bases with nobody out.
Morgan then delivered a hard-hit ground ball right at Steamers’ third baseman JJ Carr, who threw home for a force out, but the throw was dropped by catcher Lucas Martinez, allowing a run to score and leaving the bases loaded.
McCutchin then delivered the knock-out blow, a grand slam well over the scoreboard in right field, pushing the lead to 11-6, which proved to be insurmountable for the Steamers.
McCutchin followed up his grand slam in the eighth, with a three-run shot to right center in the ninth, pushing the lead to 14-6 and giving him him eight runs batted in on the night.
Wilson hit his second home run of the night in the final frame, a solo shot to right center to make it 14-7, but the Steamers were unable to produce any more runs.
The Steamers will head to Wilmington today for the second game of the series at the Shark Tank, first pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.
A Steamers win would force a decisive game three, which would immediately follow Game 2.