Rain Delay Hurts Sharks in Game 1 at Gastonia

Updated August 15 2017

Game 1 was a tale of two days for the Wilmington Sharks (0-1).  The visitors came out firing on all cylinders against Gastonia (1-0) on Monday night.  However, the game lasted just 35 minutes before the down pouring rain and lightning struck near Sims Legion Park. After waiting for nearly an hour, Game 1 was officially suspended to resume on Tuesday at 12, noon.

During the first inning and a half before the rain, the Wilmington bats jumped on Grizzlies starter Jacob Breakfield. In the first, Trevor McCutchin hit his 4th home run of the postseason, a two run shot to right field to put the Sharks on the board. Then with two outs in the second, Cam Locklear hit his first homer of the postseason, a two-run blast to double Wilmington’s lead before the rain hit. On the mound, Colby Lee had worked a 1-2-3 inning, striking out 2.

Tuesday afternoon was a completely different story. The Sharks tried to come out of the gates aggressive with Justin Dean on first with two outs and Michael Sandle at the plate in the second. On the first pitch, Scott Wingo put on a hit and run and Sandle was called out at the plate for interference.

From that point, Blake Waldren dominated the contest on the mound. The relief pitcher went 5 scoreless innings allowing just 4 hits, while striking out 2.

On the other side, Daniel Johnson had a magnificent start against the Grizzlies. The southpaw worked a flawless first three innings maintaining Wilmington’s 4-0 lead. In the 5th, Johnson ran into trouble. Gastonia singled to lead off the inning and then sacrificed the runner to second base. A second hit in the inning put runners on the corners with 1 out. Luke Setzer then flew out to right field, but deep enough to allow Thomas Yoder to tag from third and score. Later in the inning, Matt McGarry scored on an error by Cam Locklear to make it 4-2.

In the ensuing Grizzlies at bat, Gastonia cut into the Sharks lead again. Chaz Davey led off the 6th with a solo home run to make it 4-3. After a walk, Colt Springs came out of the bullpen for Wilmington and left the tying run stranded at 3rd.

In the 7th, the Grizzlies kept the bats going.  Gastonia led off the inning with three straight singles to chase Springs from the contest all tied at 4. Ryan Hedrick came in and struck out the first batter he faced. Then, Chaz Davey singled and Ryan Cox hit a sacrifice fly to drive home two more runs to put the home team up 6-4. Gastonia added a seventh run in the 8th on a two out double by Luke Setzer.

Wilmington had an opportunity in the top of the 9th. Cam Locklear struck out looking to lead off the inning. The freshman argued the call and was ejected from the contest, also making him ineligible for Game 2 of the series tomorrow. Justin Dean followed with a walk. Then with two outs, Luke Morgan doubled to right to put runners on second and third and the tying run at the plate. Trevor McCutchin walked on 5 pitches to bring the go-ahead run to the dish. However, Brian Parreira struck out swinging and the Sharks comeback fell short.

Daniel Wiggins (1-0) earned the win and Colt Springs (0-1) was the losing pitcher. Noah Thompson worked the 9th to get the save.

Wilmington and Gastonia head to Buck Hardee Field for a potential doubleheader tomorrow. The first game begins at 6:05 at the Shark Tank. If Gastonia wins, the series is over but if Wilmington wins the first tomorrow, Game 3 of the series will follow 30 minutes after. Both games with be 7 innings.  Gates open at 5 tomorrow before the 6:05 first pitch. Coverage begins at 5:50 on the CPL Webpass with Sharks Pregame.

The Coastal Plain League is the nation’s premier summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 22nd season in 2018, the CPL features 16 teams playing in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The CPL has had over 1,450 alumni drafted and 111 of those – including 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander – make their Major League debut; while another notable alum – Russell Wilson – won Super Bowl XLVIII. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at www.coastalplain.com and follow us via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat @CPLBaseball..


Sam Rubinoff