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Going into the second game of Tuesday night’s Coastal Plain League doubleheader at Fleming Stadium, the Wilson Tobs had been limited to two hits or less in two of their last four games.
Wilson’s plight worsened in the second game that concluded a couple of strokes past midnight.
Peninsula Pilots left-handed pitcher Paul Hall Jr. dazzled with a seven-inning no-hitter as the Tobs bowed 5-0.
Hall, in his first 2019 appearance with the Pilots, overpowered Wilson hitters with nine strikeouts. He issued two walks and his defense committed just one error. Hall faced 23 batters and threw 88 pitches in firing Peninsula’s first hitless gem by a single pitcher, said head coach Hank Morgan, since 2011 or 2012.
In the first game of which the start was delayed and play was halted 48 minutes after the third inning because of rain, the Tobs prevailed 10-3.
Wilson remains atop the North Division at 9-4, while the Pilots stayed in second place at 8-9. The Tobs lost for just the second time in nine appearances at Fleming, while Peninsula triumphed for just the second time in nine road tests.
Doubleheaders continue for the Tobs at Edenton on Wednesday evening and at Fleming Stadium at 6:15 p.m. Thursday against the Martinsville Mustangs.
Against Hall, the Tobs’ only base runners were catcher Chase Wullenweber, who drew a walk in the third inning, and left fielder Hunter Gore, who walked in the seventh. Gore reached after his towering foul pop was dropped.
“One of those things,” observed Wilson head coach Bryan Hill. “They’re leaving happy and we’re leaving upset. But we still won one game. Doubleheaders are tough; it’s difficult to beat somebody twice in a day.”
Of Hall’s performance, Hill remarked: “We have all seen him before. He just had a good night. That’s the only way to put it.”
Added first baseman Michael Calimari, who accounted for Wilson’s only hit in Monday night’s loss to Martinsville: “He’s a much better pitcher than (the Peninsula) guy. He had his stuff; he throws hard. And he was tougher for me because he was a left-hander.
Left-hander Mitch Medlin, who pitched Wilson’s last inning, noted: “(Hall) was really good; he had his stuff.”
Hall, who joined the Pilots after participating in a tryout in St. Louis, mowed down Wilson hitters with a fastball with a velocity consistently in the low 90s miles per hour. The recent Lenoir-Rhyne University graduate is with the team for the third straight year “because I need to compete and try to get (a professional) look.”
“I felt really good,” Hall continued. “I had really good command of my fastball and (catcher Sy Snedeker) was calling a good game. (The no-hit chance) kind of creeped into my head in the fifth inning. I had to get it out of my head quickly, keep making pitches and help the team win the game. But it was really on my mind in the last inning.
“This is something everybody dreams about. It’s kind of difficult to get. But it’s also bittersweet because, if I don’t get a (pro) look, this is going to be it for me.”
Morgan described Hall’s gem as “amazing.”
“He was in total command and we needed it so bad,” he continued. “We have been playing so sloppy but Paul really set the tone. This is a pretty special moment for him and the team needed it.”
Hall was staked to all the cushion he needed when center fielder Nick Biddison led off the game against Tobs losing pitcher Grant Fremion, also a left-hander, and scored on second baseman Jake Boone’s single.
Singles by first baseman Riley Hogan, third baseman Josh Jones and Snedeker produced a second-inning run. After the Pilots plated two unearned runs in the third, Boone greeted reliever Sebastian Martinez with a solo home run in the fifth.
In the meantime, Hall drew stronger.
“We need to get hot again,” the Tobs’ Calimari said.
Tobs 10, Pilots 3
Dealing with back-to-back losses for the first time this CPL season, the Tobs bounced back with a 10-3 victory against the Pilots in the first game Tuesday evening.
Shortstop DeShawn Lookout, in the lead-off spot, slugged a three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning to cap a five-run uprising that snapped 3-3 tie.
Wilson got shutout work from four pitchers the last six innings of the seven-inning game. Rain delayed the first game’s start 24 minutes and more rain after three innings resulted in a delay of 48 minutes.
Lookout slammed his homer after losing pitcher Cole Garrett, the second Peninsula hurler, walked the first two batters of the inning, catcher Shamoy Christopher singled and third baseman DeAndre Pitts walked. Lookout’s homer came against Cameron Oschenfeld.
Wilson second baseman Drew DeVine, observing his 21st birthday, rapped an RBI double in the sixth.
The Tobs erased a 3-0 deficit in the bottom of the second, when Calimari, left fielder Colby Warren, Pitts and Lookout singled in succession. Center fielder Jared Carr capped the spree with an RBI single.
The Pilots struck for three runs in the top of the first. Wilson pitcher Josh Arnold, in his first start, hit two batters and issued a walk in the inning. Second baseman Drew Ashley, shortstop Nick Gonzalez and catcher Zack Smith each singled for Peninsula.
Arnold and Tobs relievers Taylor Soper, Jimmy Sharkey and Vinny Puma combined to pitch six shutout innings. Soper, who allowed one hit and one walk while striking out three in two innings, earned his first win without a loss.
Score by innings:
Peninsula 300 000 0 — 3
Wilson 030 052 x — 10
WP-Taylor Soper (1-0) 2 IP 1 H 0 R 1 BB 3 SO. LP-Cole Garrett (0-1) 1 2/3 IP 3 H,3, R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 0 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — Peninsula: Drew Ashley 2-4, R; Nick Gonzalez 1-3, RBI. Wilson: DeShawn Lookout 2-4, HR, 4 RBIs; Jared Carr 1-3, RBI; Chris Meyers 1-3, 2 R, 2B, RBI; DeAndre Pitts 1-3, RBI.
Score by innings:
Peninsula 112 010 0 — 5
Wilson 000 000 0 — 0
WP-Paul Hall (1-0) 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 SO. LP-Grant Fremion (0-1) 4 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — Peninsula: Jake Boone 2-4, HR, RBI; Kyle Battle 2-3, R; Riley Hogan 2-3, 2B, R, RBI; Nick Biddison 1-3, 2B, R.