(HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C.) In what was a very tight ballgame through the first nine innings, a frustrating tenth for the Salamanders proved to be the difference as the Peninsula Pilots won the ballgame by a score of 8-4.
Fast forward to the top of the tenth inning with the game tied at four. Peninsula started the inning with runners on first and second via the international tiebreaker rule, and leadoff hitter Cole Prestegard dropped a bunt down on the third base side of the mound. Manders pitcher Maddex Richardson (Western Kentucky) fielded the bunt and elected to try and nab the lead runner at third base, but his throw was wild and rolled down the left field line which allowed Jonathan Embry to score as the go-ahead run. After a strikeout and an intentional walk set up bases loaded with one out, catcher Dalton Dedas hit a fly ball down the right field line that Angel Zarate (UNC) was unable to come up with, having it glance off the end of his glove for an error as another run scored to make the Peninsula lead 6-4. The lead became 7-4 as the next batter, second baseman Kyle Butler, lined an RBI single to left field. Finally, Peninsula center fielder Cole Girouard hit a sacrifice fly to center field to push the lead to four. Richardson, who was on the mound for the entirety of the inning, took the loss to drop back to 1-3 on the year.
Trailing by four in the bottom of the tenth, Earl Semper (UNC) drew a two-out walk to bring the tying run to the plate in first baseman Chris Crabtree (Duke). Crabtree would ground out to second to end the ballgame as Peninsula reliever Ethan Elliot picked up his second win of the season.
The Manders scored three runs in the first inning, starting with a leadoff homer to right by shortstop Cam Locklear (Liberty). Following the home run, three straight singles from Angel Zarate, Clemente Inclan (UNC) and Chase Allen (Limestone) made it a 3-0 Mander lead early. Holly Springs added its fourth run in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single to left center from Angel Zarate, scoring Jeremy Whitehead (ECU), who had doubled in the inning. Zarate finished Sunday’s game 3-5 with an RBI and a run scored.
Joseph Whitt (Lander) started the game on the mound for the Salamanders and navigated through five innings of four run ball, scattering eight hits. The left-hander got a no decision on Sunday as he allowed 4 runs (all earned), striking out two and walking three. The big blow against Whitt was third inning two-run homer to right field off the bat of Peninsula third baseman Dominic Toso.
Cam Collmore (ECU) tossed two scoreless innings following Whitt in his Salamander debut in 2018. The righty did not allow a hit, striking out one and walking one. Maddex Richardson’s final line was 3.0 innings, allowing 4 runs (all unearned) on just two hits, striking out three and walking one.
The Salamanders dropped to 0-3 in extra inning games (all at Ting Stadium) and 7-15 overall on the season. With the win the Pilots moved to 13-6 overall to lengthen their lead atop the CPL North division.
The Salamanders have Monday off, and will return to action Tuesday night when the Fayetteville Swampdogs come to Ting Stadium for a 7:00 first pitch.