MOREHEAD CITY, NC – Total domination.
The Marlins picked right up where they left off on Sunday night at War Memorial Stadium and thumped the Peninsula Pilots 8-1 to sweep the best-of-three CPL Eastern Divisional Championship Series. In the two-game sweep, the Pilots only mustered up nine combined hits.
“I’m certainly happy with the arms,” Marlins head coach Jesse Lancaster said. “The whole bullpen really showed up in these two games. To hold a team like Peninsula to what we did – Hank Morgan and those guys are a great ball club – is pretty impressive.”
The Marlins hit four home runs on the night, and the first two were back-to-back in the second inning to kick things off. First, Joe Mason (Mount Olive) hit his first home run of the season, the first of four hits on the night for him. Jordan Johnson (Arkansas-Monticello) followed that up with a blast of his own, and it was quickly 2-0 Fish.
The Marlins were able to strike again in the third inning when back-to-back singles by the Catawba duo – Hunter Shepherd and Zack Miller – put runners on the corners. Then, Conner VanCleave (Pitt State) unloaded on a ball the opposite way for a three-run home run to make it 5-0.
The Pilots got their only run in the fourth inning, the Marlins added a run on an RBI single from Jack Harris (Newberry) in the sixth, and then Johnson hit his second home run of the night – a two-run, opposite field blast – to round out the scoring in the seventh.
There were plenty of Marlins that stood out at the plate on Monday night.
Mason went four for five with a solo home run. It was Mason’s first four-hit game of the season.
One slot down in the order was Johnson who went three for five with two home runs. Harris kept his hot playoff start going, racking up two hits in five at bats with an RBI. Miller also was a key contributor, going two for three with two walks.
Just like at the dish, the Marlins dominated on the bump.
After just starting on Friday, Justin Kleinsorge (Regis) started for Morehead City. The righty struck out four, giving up just one earned run and one hit, along with walking two in four innings pitched.
Peninsula did not grab another hit until the ninth inning, thanks to Nash Bryan (Seton Hill) and Ty Bothwell (Indiana).
Bryan, the sidearm-throwing righty, threw a perfect three innings, striking out five with no walks. Bothwell followed Bryan with an impressive line of his own, striking out the side in the eighth.
Matt Hickey (Tarleton State) finished off the Pilots, throwing a scoreless ninth.
The Petitt Cup Finals start on Thursday night, but the Marlins do not have an opponent yet. 2021 marks the third straight season the Marlins have made it to the final, and they’ve won the previous two Petitt Cup championships.
High Point-Thomasville and Savannah are knotted up at one game apiece in the West Divisional Championship Series. Game three is tomorrow night in Savannah, and if the HiToms win, they will host game one of the Championship Series and the Marlins will host games two and three. If the Bananas win, the Marlins will host game one and Savannah will host games two and three.