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THOMASVILLE — Beep, beep, beep!
No, that isn’t the sound of a dump truck. It’s the Wilson Tobs backing into a spot in the Coastal Plain League’s Petitt Cup Playoffs.
With rain washing out the Tobs’ fourth game of the week at High Point-Thomasville on Friday night, it became mathematically impossible for the Edenton Steamers to usurp Wilson as the North Division’s No. 2 seed under the playoff qualification criteria set forth by the CPL.
The Tobs (22-23, 12-9 second half) have one more regular-season home game at Martinsville on Saturday night. North Division rivals Peninsula (26-16, 9-8 second half) and Edenton (23-25, 11-11 second half) finish the year with a doubleheader at Peninsula’s War Memorial Stadium. The Pilots have already clinched a first-round home game in the Petitt Cup Playoffs by winning the North Division’s first half.
Under CPL policy, Petitt Cup playoff berths are handed out to the first- and second-half champions in each division. If a team wins both halves, then the team with the next best overall record in the division will qualify.
Therefore, Wilson’s method of qualifying is all but semantics at this point. Contingent on the result of the Edenton-Peninsula doubleheader, the Tobs will either qualify by winning the second half or owning a better overall record than Edenton, with the Pilots winning both halves.
Even if Wilson loses its final game to Martinsville, a Peninsula-Edenton split gives the Tobs the second-half title. A Peninsula sweep leaves Edenton well off the overall record pace, and even an Edenton sweep allows the Tobs to win the second half by a mere three-tenths of a percentage point over the Steamers, .545 to .542.
That sends the Tobs to Peninsula on Sunday for a single-elimination contest in the first round of the playoffs. The other Region I semifinal pits the Fayetteville SwampDogs traveling to the Morehead City Marlins. In Region II, Forest City visits High Point-Thomasville and either the Macon Bacon or Florence RedWolves travel to Savannah.
The single-elimination winners advance to region championships Thursday at the site of the team with the better overall record. Thursday kicks off the Pettit Cup championship series, a best two-of-three series between the region champions. Game one will be hosted by the team with the lesser overall record, with games two and three, if necessary, played at the better won-loss ledger.
Wilson has only played in two CPL championship series, losing in two games to Raleigh in the inaugural season in 1997 and getting swept by Durham in the 2001 Petitt Cup championship series.