Bottom of the Lineup Key; Start Rallies of Three and Two Runs in 7th & 8th
Wilson, N.C.—For the first time since 2010 the Wilson Tobs and historic Fleming Stadium were able to host a playoff game and they made it count, clipping the Edenton Steamers by a score of 7-6 in Game One of the best-of-three game series in the East Division Series matchup sponsored by Greenlight. 1,602 fans flocked to the game to witness the Wilson Tobs win their first playoff game and move within one win of advancing to the second round of the CPL Playoffs.
The game started off beautifully for the Tobs as Christian Slazinik, the starting pitcher for the Tobs, mowed down the Steamers in the first inning, retiring the side in order on just 12 pitches including a strikeout of Ryan Raslowsky. In their first playoff experience since 2010, the Tobs wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, putting two up on the board in the bottom of the first inning.
Adam Pate took the first pitch and singled up the middle to start the mini rally. The local speedster, who stole 25 bases during the summer on just 28 attempts, swiped second, but the throw was wide of the bag and it allowed Pate to scamper to third with nobody out. Zach Callahan’s walk made it runners on the corners with nobody out before Seth LaRue singled to make it a 1-0 Tobs’ lead. Ben Schmucker’s deep fly ball to center moved Callahan to third and he came around to score on a fielder’s choice groundout by Collins Cuthrell as the Tobs claimed the 2-0 advantage.
Slazinik continued to bedevil the Steamers, retiring the first seven men he faced, until Nick Kranick blasted a 2-1 fastball over the wall in right, cutting the Steamers deficit in half at 2-1. They would come all the way back in the sixth inning off of Slazinik.
After a Raslowsky flyout started the inning, Orlando Olivera walked on four pitches and Chance Shephard walked on a full count fastball just off the inside corner. Blake Headley saw the first pitch of his at bat miss off of the plate before squaring a fastball over the outer half and ripping it into center, bringing home Olivera and tying the game at two a piece. Slazinik punched out Perez for out number two, but he walked Nick Kranick on four pitches, ending his night.
Justin Hay called upon Cameron Langfels, a late season addition to the Tobs bullpen, to get the final out of the inning with the bases loaded and he did just that; working the count 2-2 to the number nine batter Grant Tyndall before hooking a curveball over the inside corner for the final out.
The game remained 2-2 until the Tobs scored three thanks to the bottom of the lineup starting a rally against the Edenton bullpen. After starter for the Steamers, Cody Thompson, left the game allowing two runs through six innings, Bryan Hill, head coach of the Steamers, turned to Alex Posey and it turned out to be disastrous.
The first pitch of Posey’s outing was a two-seam fastball that sailed too far inside and plunked Matthew Parrish. He erased Parrish on a fielder’s choice groundout, but Matt Rembielak picked up his second hit of the night with a single into right center, leaving men at first and second with one out. Adam Pate followed and worked a full count before grounding a ball through the hole on the left side with the runners off on the pitch, driving home Rubino as the Tobs retook the lead at 3-2.
Zach Callahan’s groundout to short moved the runners up 90 feet and LaRue walked on five pitches to load the bases before Hill made another move to the bullpen, this time turning towards Caleb Ross. Ross, who led the Steamers and the CPL with 25 appearances was tasked to stymie the East Division CPL RBI leader in Ben Schmucker. Schmucker and Ross battled to a full count and with the runners going, Schmucker hit a soft line drive down the third base line, just out of the reach of the diving Jake Placzek, propelling the Tobs to the 5-2 lead after seven innings.
The Tobs added what proved to be two pivotal runs in the bottom of the eighth inning when, yet again, the bottom of the lineup stayed hot. Parrish singled with one out and Rubino took a 3-2 pitch for a ball to put guys at first and second with the one out. The number nine batter, Matt Rembielak, who had the highest average for the Tobs in the month of July, smacked a single right back up the middle for a Tobs’ 6-2 lead and his third hit of the night in four at bats. LaRue’s RBI single put the Tobs up 7-2 and the single would not be overlooked when the game was over.
The game and the Steamers did not go away quietly. They scored four runs in the ninth inning off of Langfels, who, up until the ninth, breezed through the Steamers lineup.
Kranick led the inning off by picking up his second extra base hit of the game, doubling to left center. Coach hill then went to his bench and pinch-hitter Aaron Wright walked during an eleven pitch war before pinch-hitter Stefan Kancylarz singled through the hole on the right side of the infield to load the bases with nobody out. Langfels appeared to quiet down, striking out Evan Rogers, but then the wheels came off: Ryan Raslowsky singled to knock home a run and Langfels balked home a run with the bases loaded before Olivera chased him with another single, putting the tying runs on base with runners at the corners and one out in a 7-5 ballgame.
Chris Williams was the closer for the Tobs through almost the entire summer, saving all nine of his opportunities without allowing a run in save chances, but Coach Hay could not use him as he left for the summer before the start of the playoffs. Instead Hay used Braden Bristo, who saved the only game he was asked this summer, and Bristo immediately struck out Chance Shephard for the second out of the ninth.
But a single by Blake Headley brought the score within one at 7-6 and left the tying run at second base. The man at the plate for the Steamers was Michael Perez and the count ran to 1-1 when he took a fastball and launched it deep to right field, but the right-fielder, Ben Schmucker, had just enough room and was able to make the catch five feet short of the wall for the Tobs 7-6 victory.
Braden Bristo collected the save (S, 1) for the Tobs as Cameron Langfels (1-0) received the win and Alex Posey (0-1) the loss for the Steamers. Christian Slazinik wound up going 5.2 innings pitched, giving up five hits and two runs, both earned on five walks and eight strikeouts. Matt Rembielak went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored as Seth LaRue went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a walk while Adam Pate had a productive night at the top of the lineup, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored, an RBI and a stolen base. The bottom of the lineup for the Tobs scored four of the seven runs with Matt Rubino (1-for-3) scoring two of them.
The Tobs look to eliminate the Edenton Steamers tomorrow night in Edenton for Game Two of the best-of-three game series. The game time is scheduled for 7:05 as the Tobs look to upset the two-seeded Steamers on their home turf.
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. The CPL has had over 1,200 alumni drafted and 72 of those – including 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander – make their Major League debut; while another notable alum - Russell Wilson - won Super Bowl XLVIII. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at