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J.T. Stone’s home run in the top of the fifth inning Monday won’t be recorded in the annals of Coastal Plain League statistics.
However, his leadoff solo shot to center field turned what was threatening to be a Wilson Tobs loss into no result at all after rain arrived in the bottom of the fifth inning, canceling an already resumed game against the Peninsula Pilots. The scheduled seven-inning contest to follow was also canceled, leaving the North Division rivals each with four games remaining.
While there’s no truth to the rumor that the Tobs have signed Mother Nature to a one-week contract, the team took another step towards the Petitt Cup playoffs via a rainout for the second straight day, now totaling three lost games. Had Stone, a University of Mount Olive rising junior, not hit his home run, then the game would have been considered official after 4 1/2 innings with the visiting team, in this case the Tobs due to the resumption of a suspended game at Peninsula, having batted in the top of the fifth.
The intent was to complete a suspended game from last Friday, July 27, with the Pilots leading 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth, followed by a seven-inning contest. But rain arrived shortly after Stone’s homer, and following a heavy downpour, the umpires called off both games after an 81-minute delay with the game tied at 2.
Although not officially clinched, Wilson (22-21, 12-7 second half) and Peninsula (26-16, 9-8 second half) further steeled themselves for a first-round Petitt Cup playoff game Sunday at War Memorial Stadium.
Peninsula, the first-half champion, has already clinched a spot and a home game in the first round as the first-half North Division champion.
Wilson can claim the North Division’s second playoff berth by clinching the second-half title or finishing with a better overall record than Edenton (21-24, 9-10 second half) or Martinsville (21-26, 10-12 second half). Both the Steamers, with five games left, and the Mustangs, with four to play, were idle Tuesday.
The rain began to fall with an 0-1 count to Peninsula’s Matthew Schwarz in the bottom of the fifth. One hour and nine minutes later, the umpires emerged from their dressing room and consulted with Tobs general manager Mike Bell, Wilson head coach Bryan Hill and Peninsula head coach Hank Morgan as well as the CPL office by phone. Massive pools of water formed in foul territory and in the outfield. Twelve minutes after emerging, the umpires retreated beneath the stadium, calling both games.
Wilson, which split its season series with Peninsula at five wins apiece, is scheduled to visit Wilmington on Wednesday.
The Tobs will host Edenton in their final scheduled home game, also the last Thirsty Thursday of the summer at Fleming Stadium. Wilson then wraps up its regular season as the guest of the High Point-Thomasville HiToms on Friday and at Martinsville on Saturday evening.