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Atypical situations call for atypical actions.
Playing for the first time in four days — three rainouts and a day off — the Wilson Tobs resorted to piggy-back or stack pitching in claiming a 5-1 Coastal Plain League summer collegiate baseball victory against the Edenton Steamers on Tuesday night at Fleming Stadium.
Starting Tobs pitcher Grant Fremion worked the first three innings; Nate Fiala hurled the next four; and Jimmy Sharkey worked an inning each. Fiala, who limited the Steamers to two hits in four scoreless innings, picked up the win, his first without a loss.
Pitching coach Kramer Sneed explained the Tobs decided to utilize several starters because of being “far behind” with the pitching rotation because of the two postponements and one cancellation and to have each ready for a starting assignment next week.
“It worked out perfect,” Sneed said.
Added head coach Bryan Hill: “Our pitchers did a great job. They made really big pitches when they were needed. Any time you hold a team to one run, you’ve done a fantastic job.”
Thus, teams continued to streak in opposite directions. The North Division-leading Tobs climbed to 6-1 and remained undefeated (5-0) at Fleming. The second loss to Wilson this month left Edenton at 1-6 and still winless on the road.
Wilson plays an exhibition game at noon Wednesday at home and then welcomes the Fayetteville SwampDogs of the East Division at 7:15 p.m. Thursday to begin a stretch of 10 games in six days.
Hill also commended his Tobs for timely hits and solid defense. The Steamers stranded 13 base runners, including leaving the bases loaded in the first and sixth innings. Wilson pitchers posted 10 strikeouts.
“You can’t win a ball game when you leave that many on base,” said Edenton head coach Russ Burroughs. “Our whole thing has been executing with runners on base and we haven’t been able to do that. I would like to see us be more aggressive — where we are attacking pitchers and pitchers are not attacking us.”
Offensively for Wilson, Nos. 3 and 4 hitters, right fielder Hunter Gore and shortstop DeShawn Lookout, slugged a home run and two doubles, drove in three runs and scored three.
The Tobs owned a 3-1 lead when Lookout, batting clean-up, slammed his team-leading second homer in the bottom of the seventh inning. The two-run blast followed the second of two doubles from Gore, in the No. 3 spot. Gore’s first double drove in a run in the fifth inning — when the Tobs snapped a 1-1 tie.
Wilson never trailed as third baseman DeAndre Pitts singled home second baseman Drew DeVine, who had also singled, in the second.
The Steamers knotted the score at 1-1 in the third on consecutive singles by center fielder Dane Simon, shortstop Ian Walters and right fielder Alex Alders against Fremion in the third.
On the mound, Fiala followed a starting stint of five innings against Edenton on June 1 with a sharp four-inning stint in middle relief Tuesday night. Fiala issued one walk and struck out five.
“It was all about the change-up,” Fiala reviewed. “And the catcher (Christian Avent) called a good game. It was about keeping them off-balance. I threw the change-up equal with the fastball. We definitely mixed it up a lot. I could have executed better on some pitches, but I thought it went well. I love seeing zeroes.”
Fiala was poised to pitch in a non-starting role.
“I assumed I was throwing,” he commented. “I was ready. I always feel comfortable pitching because the offense is so powerful and the defense is really good.”
While the Tobs are riding high, Burroughs sees positives from his cellar-dwelling Steamers.
“When you are drawing players from all over the country, it takes time,” he contended. “You can’t click automatically.”
Score by innings:
Edenton 001 000 000 — 1
Wilson 010 020 200 — 5
WP-Nate Fiala (1-0) 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 SO. LP-C.J. Dornak 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — Edenton: Ian Walters 3-5, Alex Alders 1-4, RBI; Wilson: Hunter Gore 2-3, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI; DeShawn Lookout 1-5, HR, 2 RBI; De’Andre Pitts 1-2, Christian Avant 1-2, 2B.