A sloppy start to the summer

Tobs falter in 11 innings, 8-5

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A sloppy encounter of North Division rivals evolved into a historic occasion on a hot “Thirsty Thursday” in Fleming Stadium.

The crowd was introduced to the “international tiebreaker” rule that is being implemented in extra-inning games in the Coastal Plain League for the first time this season.

According to the rule, the half inning begins with the last two batters from the previous inning being stationed at second and first bases, respectively. From there, the inning proceeds as normal.

The Steamers pulled out a bizarre 8-5 victory in 11 innings. The extra-inning contest was the first of 2018 for both teams. The score had been tied 5-5 since the top of the sixth inning.

Both teams escaped bases-loaded jams in the 10th. With two outs in the bottom half of the inning, Edenton left fielder Devan Gardner responded with a sensational diving catch of Tobs left fielder Antwaun Tucker’s sinking liner.

The second straight loss following a six-game winning streak left Wilson with a 9-7 mark, while the second triumph in five outings against Wilson boosted the Steamers to 6-10.

Wilson continues division wars by visiting Martinsville on Friday and first-place Peninsula on Saturday. The Tobs of head coach Bryan Hill return to Fleming Stadium to oppose Fayetteville in a doubleheader at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Edenton plated three runs in the 11th on an error, infield singles by Rich Giupo and Jose Martinez and a run-producing wild pitch.

Wilson trailed 3-0 after two innings as starting pitcher Chris Farrell issued five walks and uncorked three wild pitches in 1 2/3 innings.

However, the Tobs capitalized on a leaky Steamers defense to plate four runs in the fourth inning and claim a 5-3 lead. Edenton then drew even with two runs in the sixth.

Each team plated a run on a balk.

Left fielder Devan Gardner led off the game with a double and scored on an errored grounder for Edenton in the first. The Steamers added two runs in the second on four walks, no hits and shortstop Antony Warneke’s sacrifice fly.

The Tobs reached Edenton starting pitcher Nate Gardner for a run in the third when center fielder Brenton Doyle tripled and trotted home on a sacrifice fly by right fielder J.T. Stone, who was making his debut.

The Tobs’ four-run fourth featured three walks, a pair of Edenton errors on successive plays and singles by second baseman Jacob Nester and first baseman Caleb Dean.

Edenton capitalized on walks to the first two batters in the sixth to score twice and forge a 5-5 tie. A balk permitted one run to score and Devan Gardner singled in the tying run.

Left-handed reliever Ben Anderson debuted for the Steamers in the fifth and worked out of a jam and blanked the Tobs without a hit in the sixth and seventh innings.

The Steamers stranded two base runners in each of the seventh and eighth innings.

Wilson left the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth, when right-handed Steamers reliever R.D. Lutze struck out three batters. The Tobs situated runners at second and third with one out. After his second strikeout, Lutze issued an intentional walk to Wilson center fielder Brenton Doyle. With the bases loaded, Lutze whiffed Stone.