Wilson Tobs players, including Jeff Thompson (13) and Perry Hunt (5), pull the tarp onto the Fleming Stadium infield during the first rain delay of Tuesday's game against the Morehead City Marlins in Fleming Stadium. The game was suspended with the Marlins leading 9-3 in the fifth and will be resumed July 29 as part of a doubleheader. Sheldon Vick | Special to the Times
Kyle Butler (6) of the Wilson Tobs is caught trying to steal second base by Morehead City Marlins shortstop Nick Podkul in the third inning of Tuesday’s suspended game in Fleming Stadium. The Tobs trail 9-3 and are in the midst of an eight-run third which will resume July 29. Morehead City will have the bases loaded and no one out.
Sheldon Vick | Special to the Times
By Tom Ham
Senior Staff Writer
The Wilson Tobs failed in their bid to pull out a game-shortened victory against the weather and the visiting Morehead City Marlins in Fleming Stadium on a July 4 Tuesday evening.
But the Tobs also left themselves in perilous position to be saddled with a Coastal Plain League summer collegiate baseball on July 29 back at Fleming. A seven-inning game between the teams will follow.
Wilson trailed 1-0 before rain halted action. After a delay of an hour, 29 minutes, play resumed in the bottom of the third inning.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Tobs shortstop Brady Lloyd, on the third pitch from left-handed Marlins starting pitcher Luke Sleeper, slammed a bases-cleaing double to stake Wilson to a 3-1 advantage.
Starting Wilson right-handed pitcher Brett Morrison breezed through the top half of the fourth. Morrison returned to the mound in the top of the fifth needing just three outs and being able to maintain the lead for the East Division clash to be declared official with lightning already spotted and a menacing cloud hanging overhead.
Morrison’s bid to beat the weather did not go well.
Eleven batters later, the Marlins owned a 9-3 margin — without a batter being retired.
Morrison departed after a single and two walks loaded the bases. Head coach Aaron Lynch summoned right-handed closer K.J. McAllister in hopes of preserving the lead and completing the half inning before inclement weather intervened.
But a single, walk and hit batsman later, Morehead City owned an 8-3 margin on third baseman Daulton Weeks’ grand slam. McAllister departed after another walk and Ted Stuka, the third Wilson pitcher, yielded a run, three walks and a single before the rains came.
The rain became heavy and the umpires again halted action. Minutes later, baseball was done for the night.
Both umpires confirmed the game was not official and had been suspended. Thus, it will be completed on July 29.
In the meantime, Tobs General Manager Mike Bell sent word to staff member in the press box to announce the game had been canceled and would be replayed as part of a doubleheader when Morehead City next visited Fleming.
But moments before the information was announced, Bell scurried to the press box to inform personnel that, indeed, the game had been suspended.
Thus, the Tobs will be trailing 9-3 with the Marlins at bat with no outs and the bases loaded in the top of the fifth.
Wilson players twice pulled the tarp before play was resumed after the first delay. Play lasted about an hour before Tobs players, with less enthusiasm, headed back to the right-field corner to once again fetch the tarp.
By then, fireworks were flashing in the background behind center field and, finally, some spectators among the largest turnout (attendance not announced) of 2017 began exiting. But not many left.
And at approximately 9:45 p.m., as promised, the much-ballyhooed and much-anticipated Tobs fireworks display flooded the rainy skies.