Steamers make a return to postseason play

The No. 10 moment of the fall sports season


Edenton outfielder Billy Wilson (left) helped lead the Steamers back to the postseason over the summer.


By Craig Moyer
Sports Writer

Friday, December 22, 2017

EDENTON — After making 12-straight appearances in the Petit Cup Playoffs, including three Petit Cup Championships, the Edenton Steamers struggled in 2016, finishing 28-26 and ending their postseason streak.

Under a new head coach this past summer, the Steamers returned to the Petit Cup Playoffs and advanced to the division championship series, finishing the season with a 31-25 record.

First-year Edenton head coach Dustin Coffman had a strong offensive lineup, as the team ranked near or at the top of the Coastal Plain League in almost every offensive statistic throughout the season.

The Steamers led the league with 77 home runs and 377 runs, while finishing second with 133 steals and fourth with a .273 team batting average.

The offense was led by two players selected to the All-CPL team at the end of the season, Billy Wilson and Connor Kopach.

Wilson was selected to the first team as an outfielder, while Kopach, who primarily played on the middle infield, was selected to the second team.

Wilson, who was with the team throughout the summer, finished at the top of the CPL with 58 runs scored, 115 total bases and four triples.

He also finished the summer with a team-high 13 home runs with 41 runs batted in and stole 26 bases on 29 attempts.

The Loyola Marymount junior also made impressive plays in the outfield for the Steamers, closing out the year with 68 putouts and just one error.

Kopach was only with Edenton for the first half of the season, but was a leader for the offense at the top of the order.

A junior out of Southern Illinois, Kopach recorded a .313 batting average, scored 27 runs, and recorded 21 runs batted in.

The middle infielder was also a factor defensively, finishing with 81 assists and 40 putouts in the season’s first half.

While the Steamers’ pitching staff was not one of the best in the league, Carmen Giampetruzzi and Nick Wegmann both had strong seasons on the mound for Edenton, earning spots on the All-CPL team.

Giampetruzzi, was the Steamers top relief pitcher on the season and selected to the first team, while Wegmann was the Clams top starting pitcher and earned a spot on the second team.

Giampetruzzi, a junior from Boston College, had a league-best nine saves and finished the year with a 3.81 earned run average over 24 appearances, striking out 41 batters in 28 1/3 innings.

Wegmann finished the season with a 4-1 record and a 2.78 ERA, as the Binghamton junior recorded 56 strikeouts over 55 innings.

The Steamers had an up and down season, but a strong stretch through the middle of the summer positioned the team for a return to the playoffs.

From June 8 to June 26 the Steamers won 12 out of 17 games, including a five-game winning streak.

The streak was the team’s longest of the season, as through the final 14 games of the regular season Edenton had no winning streak or losing streak longer than two games.

The Steamers closed the season with back-to-back wins and earned a spot in the playoffs, where they defeated the Peninsula Pilots 6-5 on the road in the one-game opening round.

Edenton then fell in both games of the divisional round to the Wilmington Sharks, who were defeated by the Gastonia Grizzlies in the Petit Cup Championship.

In October the Steamers announced the hiring of Russ Burroughs as their head coach for the summer 2018 season.

Burroughs was Edenton’s pitching coach during the 2017 season and will look to lead the Clams back to the postseason.