Lutze, Steamers defeat Tobs in 11 innings

Edenton 8 Wilson 5

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By PJ Potter

Friday, June 22, 2018

WILSON — The odds were stacked against him. Coming into the ballgame with runners on first and second base with no outs in the eighth inning, all tied at 5-5, RD Lutze was not supposed to shut down the Wilson Tobs on Thursday night at Fleming Stadium.

With the International Tiebreaker rule giving the offense two free runners without an out in extras, he was also not supposed to hold the Tobs to no runs in the 10th and 11th innings. But he did — and with style. Lutze clocked seven strikeouts in four innings of relief to lead the Edenton Steamers to an 8-5 win over Wilson, a game that the Clams will not soon forget.

Lutze had some help on defense towards the end of the stretch. Devon Gardner made a miraculous sliding catch in the 10th inning with the bases loaded that would have ended the game, but he blasted into the left centerfield gap like he was shot out of a cannon.

To the 11th the teams go.

The Steamers tacked on three runs in the second inning of extras, making it difficult, but not impossible, for Wilson to come back.

With a couple of runners aboard and two outs, Anthony Jefferson may have made the play of the season. Kevin McGowan, the Tobs' third hitter in the lineup, sent a rocket over Jefferson's head in what appeared to be a no-doubter for runs to score.

Never giving up on the ball, Jefferson fell back on the cusp of the warning track and made the catch, and was welcomed with a huge hug from Devon Gardner that lifted Jefferson off his feet.

The win brings Edenton to 6-10 on the season and Wilson's record falls to 9-7.

Lutze earned the win, improving to an impressive 3-0 out of the bullpen, including one save. Lutze's earned run average is now a dazzling 0.75 with 22 punch-outs in just 12 innings.

Nate Gardner started for the Clams and tossed 4.2 innings with five strikeouts. He allowed five runs (two earned) over the span.

Ben Anderson made his debut and left a promising first impression. From Binghamton University, Anderson pitched 2.2 shutout frames without a hit.

The Tobs sent seven pitchers to the mound. Luis Acosta earned the loss in three innings of work. He fanned four Steamers and let up three runs.

Rich Ciufo picked up two hits and two runs batted in. Anthony Warneke, Josh Martinez and Devon Gardner contributed with a RBI each.

All 10 hitters (TJ Wegmann replaced Nick Caruso in the lineup) reached base at least once during the night.

For Wilson, Caleb Dean and JT Stone had the lone runs driven in. The Tobs only mustered five hits in the 11 innings.

Next up for Edenton is a home match-up against the Peninsula Pilots tonight at 7 p.m.