For a record seventh season in a row the Edenton Steamers have secured an automatic playoff berth by winning the first half of the Coastal Plain Leagues Eastern Division.
After Edenton and Peninsula tied in the first half of the season with league best 21-7 records and tied the season series 3-3, the tie-breaker was to be decided in the two sides first game in the second half.
That game was played tonight under the lights of War Memorial Stadium, where it was all but apparent that Edenton was in control for most of the game. The offense was highlighted by Jake Placzek’s 3-run homer in the 2nd inning and Ryan Raslowksy’s 3 RBI performance. Steamer starter Gunnar Kines worked a masterful game under pressure: going six innings allowing six hits, a run, two walks and seven strikeouts to lead Edenton to a 6-4 victory over the Peninsula Pilots.
Edenton finished the first half with a 21-7 record, tied for the best mark in the East Division and the best overall record in the CPL. In that span the Steamers had winning streaks of seven and 10 games a piece, never losing more than three games in a row.
Edenton’s league-best record came from being one of the most balanced teams in the Coastal Plain League. The Steamers boasted the number one offense in the league, ranking first in team batting average (.269), on-base percentage (.382), runs scored (199), hits (267) and RBI (166). Perhaps the most staggering number of that bunch is runs scored, as the second best team Peninsula had just 174.
It’s not just the offense that vaulted Edenton to this point; the Steamers pitching staff have matched the efforts of the bats in 2014. Edenton has the fourth-best team ERA with 3.17 and have allowed the fifth-fewest runs with 119. The staff has held teams to a league-low .215 batting average and has struck out a league best 264 batters.
Edenton has been dominating opponents with the teams highest winning margin. They have a 80+ winning margin and are beating opponents by a score of about 7-4 on average.
Star power has been key in the Steamers first half success. Outfielder Orlando Olivera could make a case to be the league mid-season MVP. Olivera leads the CPL in hits (38), ranks eighth in the league in batting average (.367), ranks fourth in slugging percentage (.514), tied for third in home runs (4), and is tied for fourth in RBI. He’s the only hitter in the CPL that is ranked in the top six of all those categories. He’s also started 26 games, more than anyone in the league.
Other Steamer batters have risen high into other league hitting categories: Evan Rogers is tied for third in total runs (21), Placzek leads the league in walks drawn (25), Raslowsky is ranked 3rd in batting average (.338) and is tied for fourth in stolen bases (14).
Edenton pitchers have shown out as well. Kines was chosen to the CPL select team for a reason. He is third in the league in strikeouts (36) while posting a more than respectable 1.55 ERA and 3-1 record. Closer Josh Roeder is tied for fourth in the league in saves (5) and has been the only reliever in the CPL to be named pitcher of the week.
Now that Edenton has clinched a playoff spot, all they have to worry about now is keeping their league-best record in tact so they can keep home field advantage during the playoffs.
About the Coastal Plain League:
The Coastal Plain League is the nation’s hottest summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 18th season in 2014, the CPL features 14 teams playing in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The CPL gives college players the chance to refine their skills with the use of wooden bats. Players are housed with local host families for the summer and past experiences have been very positive for both players and hosts. Further more, the CPL has had over 1,200 alumni drafted and 69 alums – including 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander – make their Major League debut thus far; while another notable alum – Russell Wilson – won Super Bowl XLVIII. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at CoastalPlain.com, and be sure to friend us on Facebook (at www.facebook.com/coastalplainleague) and follow us via Twitter (as CPLBaseball).