By: Evan Rogers
WILSON, N.C. — As the Coastal Plain League’s regular season winds down into its final week, the Salamanders are in the mix of a tightly contested playoff race.
With the Morehead City Marlins running away with the second half’s top spot in the East Division, each team’s overall record will be used to decide the division’s second representative in the Petitt Cup.
With the Salamanders’ 6-4 win over Florence, a victory that extended Holly Springs’ win streak to three games, the Salamanders find themselves a half game outside of the playoffs.
Before Holly Springs could capture its home win over the Flamingos, the Salamanders traveled down Interstate 95 to battle Florence on the road Saturday night. Due to a 90-minute weather delay, Holly Springs’ task of taking on the same opponent less than 24 hours later proved to be taxing.
“We got back in at four in the morning — it was an adventure,” assistant coach Mike Valder said. “It’s hard to get back up and play the same team after you played them the night before.”
Despite concerns from its coaching staff, Holly Springs showed no signs of wear and tear.
After surrendering one run to the Flamingos in the second inning, the Salamanders responded quickly with a solo home run from center fielder Brett Callahan. One inning later, Holly Springs took a commanding lead behind Jacob Godman’s 2-RBI single.
The catcher from Oral Roberts has seen his fair share struggles this summer — dropping to a .063 batting average in late June. But Godman’s perseverance has helped him tally four hits in Holly Springs’ last two games.
“These past couple of games I’ve been in the cage working on a couple of things,” Godman said. “I’ve been feeling good this past week. I knew it would come around.”
While Holly Springs’ bats began to break loose, starting pitcher Sam Peddycord was tossing a near flawless game.
With many pitchers returning home, after reaching their respective pitching limits, Holly Springs has seen its bullpen withered. So, Peddycord’s ability to last seven innings will provide lasting benefits for the Salamanders — some that stretch beyond Sunday night’s contest.
“Pitching coach Derek Roy was very happy,” Peddycord said. “Rountree and Valder also congratulated me. They told me going seven (innings) was big because we have a thinned-out bullpen.”
In its victory, Holly Springs not only displayed resilience, defeating the same squad for the second straight night, but a fight that’s starting to foster within the entire team.
With each passing day, each game matters more. And as the Salamanders prepare for a trip to take on the Wilson Tobs, the team currently slotted second in the East Division, Holly Springs understands the magnitude of its upcoming game.
“Looking at the standings we know we’re up there,” Godman said. “If we go (into Wilson) and bring this momentum in, we could do a big thing.”