MOREHEAD CITY, NC – The Morehead City Marlins were defeated by the Wilmington Sharks 6-5 on Saturday night. With the win over the Marlins and the Tobs’ loss to the Flamingos, the Sharks secured their spot in the Petit Cup Playoffs. They will face the Marlins in the eastern division round. Pitching shone brightly in the first half of the game, as Spencer Cipro (Belmont Abbey) got the start for the Marlins and Benny Wilson got the start for the Sharks. The offensive action began in the fourth for the Sharks against Kristian Asbury (Troy). Asbury walked Chase Nixon ahead of Ethan Wilder, who ripped an RBI double into right center to score the game’s first run. With a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth, the Marlins would battle back. Trent Youngblood (Transylvania) and Brantley Cutler (Maryland Eastern Shore) drew back-to-back walks when Landon Choboy (Mount Olive) stepped to the plate. Choboy put the ball in play to second to score the first run of the ballgame for the Marlins. With one out and Cutler at third, Dan Tauken (Murray State) put the ball in play to AJ Mendolia at second for the second straight time. This scored a second Marlins run to propel them to a 2-1 lead after the fourth inning.
With a 2-1 Marlins lead going to the sixth inning, the Sharks would tie the game back up. Blake Barton singled and advanced to second on an error. Barton advanced to third on a wild pitch, and later come around to score. This would knot the score at 2-2 for the Sharks, who looked to gain momentum in the must-win contest.
The Sharks would add on in the top of the seventh inning against Marlins southpaw Tyler Deluzio (Lenoir CC), who gave up a single to Cam Hassert to begin the frame. Hassert then advanced to second, stole third, and came home to score on a Deluzio error. With a 3-2 lead, the Sharks weren’t done. Dylan Jeffries came around to score on a Luke Nowak single to push the Sharks lead to 4-2 headed to the stretch.
The Sharks would continue to add to their lead in the eighth inning against Noah Emig (Coker), who gave up a two RBI single to AJ Mendolia to increase the Sharks’ lead to 6-2.
The Marlins would strike back against their rival in the bottom of the eighth. With Ried Dittner on the mound, the offense got to work. Landon Choboy (Mount Olive) singled ahead of Tauken. Tauken walked to set the table for Dylan Rogers (Jacksonville State), who launched a ball into the Morehead City night for a three-run blast. The home run brought the Marlins within a run of the Sharks, trailing 5-6 headed to the ninth. The Marlins allowed a Sharks hit and a walk in the top of the ninth, but no Sharks crossed the plate. The Marlins looked to rally down a run in the bottom of the ninth. The Marlins could not plate the game tying run in the bottom of the ninth against Cam Burgess, who saved the game for the Sharks, and propelled them into the Petit Cup Playoffs.
With the loss, the Marlins dropped to 32-15. They return home on Sunday to face the Wilmington Sharks in the eastern division round of the Petit Cup Playoffs. The game will be available to stream on FloSports. First pitch is scheduled for 7PM from Big Rock Stadium.