No change in CPL structure in 2019

Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.


The Coastal Plain summer collegiate baseball league launches its 23rd season this week with its structure intact from 2018.

The same 16 franchises will be aligned in four divisions.

The champion Wilson Tobs, the Edenton Steamers, the Peninsula Pilots and the Martinsville Mustangs form the North Division.

Wilson, a charter franchise in quest of its first championship, begins play with back-to-back games against division rival Martinsville.

The Tobs welcome the Mustangs at 7:15 p.m. Thursday in Fleming Stadium and travel to Martinsville, Virginia, for their road opener Friday evening.

The Morehead City Marlins, the 2018 CPL champions, are joined by the Holly Springs Salamanders, the Fayetteville SwampDogs and the Wilmington Sharks in the East Division.

The South Division consists of the Florence Redwolves, the Lexington County Blowfish, the Macon Bacon and the Savannah Bananas.

The Asheboro Copperheads, the Forest City Owls, Gastonia Grizzlies and High Point-Thomasville HiToms are grouped in the West Division.

Wilson head coach Bryan Hill said the Tobs will oppose each North Division opponent at least 10 games and play some 20 games against the remaining 12 clubs. Wilson embarks upon a 52-game schedule.

Also returning is the International Tiebreaker rule. In extra-inning games, base runners will be situated at first and second bases to begin the inning.

In 2018, Wilson, which finished 23-24, defeated the Pilots, 4-3, to capture the North Division. However, the Tobs were denied an appearance in the best-of-3 Pettit Cup finals to crown the CPL champion with a 4-2 loss to Marlins in the Northeast Region final. Morehead City celebrated its first championship following two straight wins against the HiToms.

In wrapping up the 2018 season, the Tobs proclaimed outfielder Brenton Doyle from Shepherd University as their most valuable player.

In 46 games, Doyle led the Tobs with 57 hits, 31 runs and 10 doubles. He also belted three home runs and three triples, drove in 24 runs and stole 15 bases.

Doyle and pitcher Tyler Grauer of Indiana State University each landed on the All-Coastal Plain League second team.

Hill reports not much will be different on the Wilson home front in 2019.

However, all home games will be televised and the installation of more cameras will enhance web viewing.

“It will be more of a fan experience for people not here,” Hill said, “and we are going to play some baseball!”