08/06/2017 6:20 PM
In what's largely been a tough season for the Tobs mired by losing stretches, the Tobs left their home fans on a positive note on Sunday night.
The Tobs beat the Wilmington Sharks, 9-5, to move to 9-18 in the second half and 18-37 on the season. Wilmington, who had already clinched the CPL East second half title and a spot in the 2017 Pettit Cup Playoffs, fell to 18-8 in the second half and 31-23 overall on the season.
Early offense was the story Sunday for the Tobs, as they plated 5 runs in the first inning and 3 more in the second off of Wilmington starter Caleb Bishop (Western Carolina).
Brady Lloyd (ECU) started things off with a bang for the Tobs, when leading off the bottom of the first inning he doubled to the right center field wall. After him, Andre Nnebe (Santa Clara) singled on a live drive to right field on the first pitch he saw, scoring Lloyd to give the Tobs a 1-0 lead. After a Dawnoven Smith (NC A&T) flyout, Josh Ladowski (UNC) lined a single that scored Nnebe from second, who had just stolen the bag. Ladowski was also able to move up to second base on the play as the Tobs took a 2-0 lead. The next man up Conner Leonard (Appalachian State) singled through the left side, scoring Ladowski to make it a 3-0 game. Two batters later, the Tobs got the game's biggest blow, as AJ Hunt (NC A&T) launched a two-run homer over the scoreboard in left, giving the Tobs a 5-0 lead.
In the second, Andre Nnebe (single), Dawnoven Smith (walk) and Josh Ladowski (hit by pitch) all reached base to start the inning, setting up bases loaded and nobody out. Conner Leonard then singled through the left side for his second hit of the day, but hit it so hard that only Nnebe could score on the play, giving the Tobs a 6-1 lead. Dawnoven Smith was able to score from third on a wild pitch two batters later, and a third run would come in in the inning, as with Nick Kitzmann (UC San-Diego) batting, Wilmington catcher Brian Parreira (USC-Aiken) threw a pickoff throw to first base into right field, allowing Conner Leonard to trot home, making it an 8-1 Tobs lead.
That would prove to be more than enough for Tobs starter Ted Stuka (UC-San Diego) on Sunday.
The right-hander went 5.1 innings, allowing four runs (all earned) on six hits, striking out five Sharks, walking three hitting one batter. Stuka earned the win on Sunday to exit the season with one under his belt, going to 1-2 with the decision.
After Stuka, Jakob Ryan (George Mason) provided steady relief for the Tobs, throwing the remiander of the ballgame. Ryan went 3.2 innings out of the bullpen, allowing one earned run on just one hit, striking out three and walking one.
The Tobs would add their ninth run in the bottom of the sixth inning. With Brady Lloyd (who had reached base on an error) standing on second base with two outs, Dawnoven Smith continued his streak of hot hitting and drove in Lloyd with a single up the middle, making the score 9-4.
The Tobs have one game left on the 2017 schedule, a road contest Monday against the Fayetteville Swampdogs, scheduled to begin at 7pm.
The Wilson Tobs enter their 21st season as an original member within the Coastal Plain League for the 2017 summer. The upcoming season for the Tobs will see an expanded community outreach effort, increased participation in helping the less fortunate and more exciting entertainment for the Wilson Community. We would like to dedicate each successful season to the Wilson Community, Coastal Plain League Organization, Host Families, Sponsors Partners and the Dedicated Fans throughout the city of Wilson. The Wilson Tobs have played host to over 100 alumni taken in the draft and have produced a dozen players who have gone on to play in the MLB, including Cy Young & MVP winner Justin Verlander. For more information on the Wilson Tobs, visit our website www.wilsontobs.com.