The Edenton Steamers (43-16) scored eight runs between the sixth and ninth innings to rally past the Wilmington Sharks (31-26) 8-3 in what could have been their final home game on Sunday night. The Steamers now have a 1-0 lead in the Coastal Plain League (CPL) Eastern Division best-of-three series heading into game two.
The Sharks jumped out to a 1-0 advantage in the third following Kyle Nowlin’s backside grounder to bring in Nick Rotola, who singled on the first pitch of the inning, stole second and later moved to third on a wild pitch.
Wilmington tacked on another run in the fifth as Brett Smith singled through the middle and later scored on a ball mishandled in center field following a base hit by Alex Destino.
Meanwhile, Caleb Johnson cruised through the first five innings of work, holding the CPL’s most dangerous offense to just two hits until Edenton brought in four runs on four hits as well as a sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Trailing 4-2 in the eighth inning, Wilmington had a tremendous chance to turn the ballgame around, but Steamers’ reliever Devin Watts sat down the final two hitters in succession after the Sharks loaded the bases with one out.
A grand slam homer in the ninth by Mick Fennell put the game out of reach as Edenton looks to clinch the series on Monday. Former Ashley High School standout Chance Shepard went 1-for-4 with 2RBIs for the Steamers, while New Hanover alum Sam Foy smacked an extra base hit for Wilmington.