Tobs Bullpen and Shaky Pilots Defense Provide Keys to Victory
Hampton Beach, VA—With one of the Tobs’ best pitchers out on the mound, Christian Slazinik, and one of the best pitchers on the Pilots’ staff, Matt Outman, throwing tonight, many people thought the game was going to be a low scoring affair, but they were wrong. The Tobs and Pilots combined for 14 runs on 27 hits as the Tobs battled back twice, eventually winning by a score of 8-6.
The Tobs threatened in the first inning, but stranded runners at first and third when Collins Cuthrell popped out to the first basemen to end the inning; stranding runners was one of the themes on the night for the Tobs as they stranded a total of 13 runners on the night in the winning effort. In the next frame, Drew Cole began the inning with a single and was moved over on a sacrifice bunt, but he would still be at second when the frame ended.
In the bottom of the stanza, the Pilots used a couple of Tobs errors to score three runs. Alex Close’s groundball to short was mishandled by Matt Rembielak to begin the inning and after a comeback single by Kyle Johnson put runners at first and second, Doug Teegarden booted a ball at third to load the bases. The first run of the game came home on a single off the bat of Brandon Stephens before the Tobs cut a run down at home on a fielder’s choice groundout by Andres Nelo.
Christian Slazinik, who had been so good at getting out of defense related jams all season could not get out of this particular jam though, relinquishing a sac fly to Kyle Kempf and an RBI single to Connor Myers, which made the score 3-0 in favor of the Pilots.
The game remained tied until the top of the fourth inning when the Tobs took advantage of a hurting Matt Outman. The Tobs pained Outman with back-to-back hits, a single by Cuthrell and a double to deep right by Drew Cole to put runners at second and third with nobody out. Kenny Hostrander’s groundout to short plated a run for the Tobs before Matt Rubino and Matt Rembielak walked, each on four pitches, to load the bases. On the last pitch of the at bat to Rembielak, Outman reached for his lower back and was taken out of the game with an apparent back injury.
Hank Morgan, head coach of the Peninsula Pilots, turned to Wes McGuire with the bases loaded and Adam Pate immediately drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to right. McGuire walked the next batter before Seth LaRue pushed across the Tobs tying run with a single to left-center. It appeared that the Tobs would take the lead, but Doug Teegarden was thrown out at third on the play mere moments before Rembielak scored, ending the inning with a 3-3 score.
The tie ballgame was short live though, as the Pilots scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Andres Nelo was hit by the third pitch of the inning and moved up to second on a passed ball. After a strikeout, he was erased when he went too far off the bag on a comebacker to Slazinik, but was able to stay in the rundown long enough to allow the batter to replace him at second. The Pilots made the good base running standup with three straight singles, driving in two runs and regaining the lead at 5-3.
The Tobs erased that lead in the seventh inning when the Tobs scored five runs without the ball ever leaving the infield. Ben Schmucker started the craziness with an infield single to first, barely beating out a flip from the first basement to the covering pitcher. Cuthrell reached base on his first walk of the night (he ended the night with two), and Cole was asked to lay down the sacrifice bunt. The bunt was a poor one, right back to the pitcher, and reliever Ran Cook fielded and threw a strike to the third basemen PJ Higgins, but it went right through his glove allowing a run to score and leaving runners at second and third with nobody out.
With the infield pulled in, Hostrander hit a hopper to the backhand of Jason McMurray at short, he got up, threw home, but his throw was wide, netting another Tobs run, which tied the game and left the Tobs with runners at the corners and still nobody out. After a Matt Rubino strikeout, Justin Hay, head coach of the Tobs, used Zach Callahan to pinch hit for Rembielak, and Callahan dropped down a beautiful squeeze bunt down the third base line to put the Tobs ahead 6-5, and since Higgins could not field the ball properly, Callahan reached base.
Pate was the next batter for the Tobs and worked a 2-2 count before chopping a ball high down the first baseline and by the time the ball came down, Pate was safe at first and the bases were again chock full of Tobs with just the one out. Teegarden had another great at bat for the Tobs and was rewarded with an RBI as he hit a sharp groundball to second, which went right under the glove of the second basemen and into right field, pushing across the Tobs’ seventh and eighth runs of the night and an 8-6 lead.
But the team with the best record in the CPL would not go quietly. Alex Close helped get one of the runs back in the bottom of the frame when he whacked the third pitch he saw from Tobs’ reliever Cameron Langfels and dropped it into the left-center field gap for a leadoff double. He moved to third on a deep flyout to center from Johnson and scored on a sac fly to deep right off of the bat of McMurray, cutting the lead to 8-6.
But that is as close as the Pilots got. Langels allowed a leadoff single in the eighth inning and retired the next three batters he faced to end the inning before handing the ball over to Tobs’ closer Chriss Williams for the ninth. Williams was his normal stellar self out on the mound, taking home his eighth save in as many chances with his only blemish a two out infield single.
Seth LaRue went 3-for-6 with an RBI and a double while Drew Cole had a great night at the plate, picking up three hits in four official at bats including a double and two runs scored.
Cameron Langfels got the win in his first decision of the season going three solid innings out of the bullpen and allowing just one earned run. Chrsitian Slazinik fired fire innings on the mound for the Tobs in the no decision outing, allowing five runs, but only two of those earned while not walking a batter and striking out five. Ryan Cook is the tough luck loser for allowing five unearned runs in the seventh inning, dropping his record to 0-2. The Tobs jump back to a game above .500 and now sit at 23-22 overall and 8-9 in the second half. The Pilots lose for just the second time in the last ten games, dropping down to 35-12 overall and 14-5 in the second half of the summer.
The two teams will renew the battle tomorrow night at War Memorial Stadium with game time starting at 7:05 P.M. The Tobs will return home on Sunday for the Guns & Hoses Game where local fire and police departments will stage a one-hour softball game starting at 3:15. The Tobs game will start at 5:05 and will also be Slugger’s Birthday. The friendly tobacco worm will be turning 16 so come on down to historic Fleming Stadium and help celebrate Slugger’s birthday.
If you haven’t purchased tickets for the game, please call the Tobs office at (252) 291-8627 or visit wilsontobs.com. If you want to see more pictures of the Tobs or for any Tobs related updates be sure to follow us @wilsontobs and like us on facebook www.facebook.com/wilsontobs.
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 71 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