The Wilson Tobs had already done so much for the community. Wearing pink jerseys on Wilmed Breast Cancer Awareness Night, which would be auctioned off during the game, they raised over $2,000 for breast cancer awareness. Then, when the auction ended after seven innings, the Tobs went to work. Coming back from deficits in both the ninth and tenth innings, the Wilson Tobs came away with a wild victory over the Wilmington Sharks, 7-6. The win puts the Tobs at 2-1 in the Coastal Plain League, while Wilmington is yet to pick up a victory.
Through the first four innings of the contest, it seemed like the Tobs were going to run away with things. Starter Zach Woodley had not allowed a hit, third baseman Matt Sanders had 3 RBI's, and left fielder Justin Parks cracked his first solo home run of the season. Then, things came back to reality.
In the fifth, Wilmington center fielder Cory Lyda cracked a two run triple to right center, cutting the Tobs lead in half. Just two innings later, the Tobs' defensive miscues got the best of them. After a walk and a single, Woodley was removed in favor of relief pitcher Brandon Brinson, who got Lyda to drop down a bunt, fielded by catcher Chris Henderson. Henderson's throw sailed down the right field line as first base was left uncovered. Two runs scored to tie the game, and Lyda would go to third, scoring later on a Kolby Epley sacrifice fly.
Heading into the bottom of the ninth against relief pitcher Cory Burgess, the Tobs trailed 5-4, and after Burgess retired the first two hitters, things looked bleak. But Kevin Weidenbacher refused to give up, looping a two out double to right field, and Dan Capeless' RBI single with two outs scored pinch runner Chris Freeman from second.
Southpaw hurler Langford Stuber allowed an unearned run in the tenth after yet another Tobs infield error. Matt Sanders' throwing error put runners on second and third with one out, and Wilmington's John Nester came through with an RBI single, giving the Sharks another one run lead. In the bottom of the frame, Jesse Lancaster was hit by a pitch, and was sacrificed to second by Matt Sanders. Reliever Jarad Miller entered the game, and was greeted rudely by Chris Henderson, who doubled to left-center, tying the game. After a pop out sandwiched between two walks, Justin Parks came to bat with the bases loaded and two out. In one of the strangest endings you'll ever see in a baseball game, he was hit by the pitch, scoring Henderson and ending the ball game.
"I've never been a part of a game that ended like that," Parks said. "I was satisfied to finally come through all night."
Langford Stuber picked up his first victory of the season after pitching the tenth, while Jarad Miller received a blown save and a loss after allowing the winning run to score. On a night when Wilson committed five errors and left 14 runners on base, they were quite fortunate to come away with the victory.
"We just kept chipping away," said Tobs' manager Jeff Steele. "I thought (Zach) Woodley pitched pretty well to start the game, and our guys came through when we had to. (It was) not our best game, but a win is a win."
Wilson will wrap up its four game home stand Wednesday night as they take on the first place Fayetteville SwampDogs, with game time scheduled for 7:05 PM. The first 200 fans in attendance will receive a Brandon Scott "Legends of Tobs" logo baseball, presented by Thomas and Farris. The gates at Historic Fleming Stadium will open at 6:00 PM and radio coverage begins at 6:45 PM on the Coastal Plain League Web Pass and WUBN 106.9 FM.
The Wilson Tobs are a member of the Coastal Plain League, the nation's hottest summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its twelfth season, the Coastal Plain League features 14 teams playing in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The CPL gives college players the chance to refine their skills with the use of wooden bats. Players are housed with local host families for the summer and past experiences have been very positive for both players and hosts. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at www.coastalplain.com.