2019 Championship Season Review

2019 Championship Season Review

Off the heels of the first Petitt Cup Championship in franchise history the Morehead City Marlins' 2019 season didn't disappoint. The club posted a franchise record 37 regular season wins and 41 victories on the summer on its way to repeating as Coastal Plain League Champions. The Marlins became the sixth team in the Petitt Cup era to win back to back championships.

The club broke the record for the most wins at home with a 20-6 regular season mark at Big Rock Stadium. After a rocky start that resulted in an 8-7 record, just 15 games in, the team rattled off a franchise-most 14 consecutive victories, scoring 109 runs in that span. The wins came in bunches following the historic 14 in a row, with three more 3-game winning streaks and a seven game winning streak.

For the second consecutive year the Marlins faced Fayetteville and Wilson in the first two rounds of the Petitt Cup Playoffs, respectively. Behind strong pitching outings and crafty offensive performances Morehead City defeated the SwampDogs 5-3 and the Tobs 4-1 to advance to the finals against the Macon Bacon.

With home field advantage the Marlins traveled south to Georgia for game one where starting pitcher Tyler Blomster tossed a gem, allowing one hit in six shutout frames. Cal Hehnke took over for the final three innings and kept the Bacon's offense scoreless. The gritty Marlins offense used a wild pitch, a throwing error and an RBI from Hunter Shepherd to score the only three runs of the game.

Game two of the Championship series went in favor of the Bacon, 11-4, after rain delayed the start time over an hour. Morehead City responded with a strong all-around effort in game three. A four-run fourth and a two-run fifth inning from the Marlins offense was enough to cook the Bacon and become the first team since the Peninsula Pilots in 2013-14 to repeat as CPL Champions.

The Marlins brought a team-high eight All-Stars to Savannah, Georgia for the 2019 All-Star Showcase. Dusty Baker, competing in the contest in his home state, reached ESPN's Sports Center Top-10 Plays of the Night with a diving catch in centerfield. The catch was followed by a Jack Harris home run. Shepherd and Jordan Schulefand each saw time in the field, while Hehnke, Connor Schultz, Miles, and Leo Perez all made pitching appearances.

The Marlins pitching staff reigned supreme in the CPL, leading the 16 teams in ERA with a 3.55. The staff set a new CPL and team record with 576 strikeouts (11.67 K/9), 103 more than any other club.

Blomster notched a CPL second-best in strikeouts on the mound with 64 in 43 innings. Fellow Marlins starter Miles who led the league in wins with six, was close behind with 58 punch-outs of his own. The backend of games were dominated by Hehnke, who posted six saves, the second most in the league.

Morehead City's combined offense set new franchise records of their own in the 2019 summer with 16 triples, 272 RBIs, 330 runs and a .370 on base percentage. The club tied the franchise home run record of 43 that was previously set in 2014.

The offense was led by the bat of Harris who was near the top of nearly every offensive slugging statistic. The outfielder blasted 12 home runs and knocked in 47 RBIs and scored 52 runs in 48 regular season games. Returning Marlin, Hunter Shepherd, proved to be a key piece of the lineup. The first baseman finished in the top-10 in league batting average, hitting .333 with 42 RBIs. Shepherd once again stepped his game up in the Petitt Cup Playoffs, going 6-for-12 with five RBIs.

Third-year head coach Jesse Lancaster improved his regular season Marlins' record to 96-58, while holding 104 total victories.

Four Marlins were selected to compete in the CPL versus USA Collegiate National Team Select Game in Cary. Baker, Harris, Perez and Kenny Wells all represented the club in the contest, which led to Wells being signed by the Atlanta Braves.

Fun Facts:

  • When leading after the sixth inning of a game the Marlins were 27-2. Combine that with the 33-1 mark last season and the club holds a 60-3 record when leading after the sixth.
  • A combined 23-7 record at home brings the clubs record to 41-13 at The Rock in the last two seasons.
  • Morehead City dominated East Division foe Wilmington, 12-2, in the overall 14 game season series.
  • Tuesday's proved to be the best day to play this summer as the Marlins were 6-0.
  • The home white jersey's continued to dominate in their second season with a 21-5 mark and a combined 37-11 in the last two seasons.
  • The black jersey that was worn in the final game of the championship series posted a 14-5 record.