MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. – The Morehead City Marlins fell in the first round of the Petitt Cup Playoffs as they lost the win-or-go-home game 5-2 to the Wilmington Sharks. The Marlins fought hard all season long but just came up short.
The 17-year-old slinger Max Weber (Felician) started on the mound for the Marlins, while sixth-year senior Austin Skipper started for the Sharks.
The pitching was stellar for the first two innings before the Sharks scored the first run of the game in the top of the third. Drew Sturgeon led off with a single and moved to third base as the inning progressed before he came home on a wild pitch by Weber, putting the Sharks up 1-0.
No runs would be allowed until the top of the fifth, when the Sharks put up three on the board. Sturgeon walked, Lucas Johnson singled, and Stephen DiTamaso smacked a base hit to load the bases. Marlins pitcher Spencer Cipro (Belmont Abbey) then walked AJ Mendolia to bring Sturgeon home. Joe Miceli (Kent State) came in relief for Cipro with the bases loaded, and Connor Powell hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Johnson. The final run of the inning came from a Cam Burgess ground ball to Jeremy Piatkiewicz (East Stroudsburg), who mishandled the ball and allowed DiTamaso to score, giving the Sharks a 4-0 lead.
The arms would continue to reign supreme for both sides in the sixth and seventh innings until the Marlins scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth. Will Walsh (Nebraska) advanced to first on a misplay from Sharks second baseman AJ Mendolia, and Bobby Whalen (Virginia) walked to give way to Dan Tauken (Murray State), who ripped a double to score both runners, making it a score of 4-2 with the Sharks on top.
The Sharks scored their final run in the top of the ninth as Dylan Jeffries (Mount Olive) singled, and Sturgeon walked. Lucas Johnson then smacked an RBI single down the right-field line, making the score 5-2, Sharks.
The Marlins’ season did not end how they would have liked, but there is still plenty to look back on. They finished first in the first half, second half, and had the best overall record (32-15) in the Coastal Plain League this season.