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A Coastal Plain League summer collegiate baseball playoff berth is there for the taking for the Wilson Tobs.
In fact, Wilson owns the edge against Martinsville and Edenton in the scramble for the North Division’s second spot in the Petitt Cup. But progressing in the postseason direction continues to be a tedious process for head coach Bryan Hill’s club.
The Tobs couldn’t get it done in pink before a large Paint the Park Pink turnout on a Thirsty Thursday in Fleming Stadium.
A spirited bunch of Martinsville Mustangs dealt sluggish Wilson a 10-0 loss. The Tobs showed little life in coming off an off day and a 6-5 loss at home to Edenton on Tuesday -- when they led 5-0 going into the ninth inning.
With Peninsula victorious against Edenton on Thursday night, Wilson leads the North Division by 2 1/2 games against Peninsula, the first-half winner. Peninsula overcoming Wilson and winning the second half will not endanger the Tobs’ playoff hopes. In that event, Wilson must simply finish with a better overall record than Martinsville and Edenton.
With eight games remaining for all four division teams, Wilson stands 22-20, Edenton 19-24 and Martinsville 19-24. The Tobs possess a 12-6 division record, while the Mustangs are 8-10.
On the night of the promotion promoting breast cancer awareness, Tobs hitters were mesmerized for seven innings by starting Martinsville right-handed pitcher Lowell Schipper.
In throwing 114 pitches, Schipper allowed one tainted base hit while issuing one walk and striking out 11.
The only Tobs hit came in the fifth. Circling Mustangs third baseman Cross Factor failed to get under Tobs third baseman Kevin McGowan’s towering pop fly. The baseball dropped into fair territory and the Mustangs argued, in vain, that the ball, which was untouched, skipped foul before reaching third base.
Wilson wound up with three hits and Martinsville pitchers Schipper and Charles Hasty combined for 15 strikeouts.
Wilson committed a season-high six errors and six Wilson pitchers were shelled for 15 hits. Starting right-hander Chris Kernen, who lasted four innings, took the loss.
The Mustangs greeted Kernen with a two-run first. Second baseman Chase Dawson and first baseman Josh Faulk each singled and a Wilson error resulted in the second run.
Shortstop Jake Lorenzini doubled and came home on Dawson’s single in the second. Dawson hit safely in his first four at-bats.
Martinsville capitalized on sloppy Wilson defense and two wild pitches to strike for two more runs in the sixth. Pinch hitter Sage Bruhl doubled and center fielder Daniel Vitello and designated hitter Richard Ortiz each singled when the Mustangs turned the contest into a rout with three runs in the seventh. Ortiz rapped a two-run single.
Two more Wilson errors occurred in the Mustangs’ two-run eighth.
The Tobs continue division play with road tests against Peninsula on Friday and Martinsville on Saturday.