Wilmington, NC – The Motorboaters sent six pitchers to the mound and knocked nine hits in the 6-5 win over the Sharks. Noah Covington (Maryland Eastern Shore) got the start on the bump for Morehead City. He gave up six hits and four runs in his three and two-thirds innings pitched.
The Motorboaters started the game off with a run that came in a funky fashion. Joseph Mershon (College of Charleston) hit a leadoff double, followed by a single from Trent Youngblood (Transylvania) into right field to advance Mershon to third base. Phillip Bernstein (Richmond) struck out swinging, but Mershon capitalized on an error by Sharks first baseman Aaron Smigelski, sliding home to give the Motorboaters a 1-0 lead. The Sharks managed to limit the damage by retiring the next two batters, leaving Morehead City with one run on the board.
In the bottom of the first inning, the Sharks were unable to respond as Motorboater pitcher Noah Covington went three up and three down. Sharks starter Wes Earles would answer right back in the top of the second as he struck out Braylin Marine (Newberry College) and McGwire Tuffy (Quinnipiac) before Evan Leibl (West Texas A&M) lined out to center field to cause a one, two, three inning of his own.
The Sharks surged in the bottom of the second inning, tallying three runs on three hits. Smigelski was retired for the first out with a line drive to left field. Ethan Wilder followed suit, grounding out to the first baseman for the second out. However, Luke Nowak broke through with a single to third base, while Kyle Smith drew a walk. Drew Sturgeon then delivered a clutch single to left field, resulting in a run scored by Nowak. Tanner Leonard reached base on an error, allowing Sturgeon to advance and Smith to score. Connor Powell added to the rally with a single to left field, bringing Leonard home and extending the Sharks’ lead to 3-1.
The Motorboaters had a productive top of the third inning to respond to the Sharks. Scotty Young (Rutgers) drew a walk, followed by Mershon knocking a single to left field. Youngblood then added a base hit to right field, loading the bases. Bernstein reached first on a fielder’s choice, scoring Mershon and Young. Evan Scavotto (Portland) received a walk, and Dan Tauken (Albany) powered a single to right field, bringing home Bernstein. The Sharks made a pitching change, bringing in Andy Cook for Earles. Marine then reached first on a fielder’s choice, allowing Scavotto to score. However, the Motorboaters couldn’t add more runs as the inning concluded with a fly out by Leibl to center field. The Motorboaters now held a 5-3 lead over the Sharks.
Motorboater pitcher Noah Covington would carry the momentum onto the defensive side for the bottom of the third as he pitched yet another three up and three down inning.
Sharks reliever Andy Cook would continue to dominate in the top of the fourth as he put away the side in order.
The bottom of the fourth inning saw the Sharks make a push toward the Motorboaters. Nowak drew a walk to kick off the inning. Smith followed but was put out with a fly ball to left field for the first out. Sturgeon then singled to the pitcher, advancing Nowak to second base. Leonard kept the momentum going with a single to third base, loading the bases. However, Covington struck out Powell, resulting in the second out. The Motorboaters elected for a pitching change, bringing in Ryan Devanney (Sacred Heart). Devanney walked AJ Mendolia, forcing in a run as Nowak scored. Owen Petrich then hit a fly ball to center fielder Scotty Young, ending the inning. The Sharks managed to score one run on two hits, leaving the bases loaded. The Motorboaters maintained a slim 5-4 lead as the game progressed.
Both teams failed to add any runs in the fifth inning, as the Motorboaters’ batters were retired with ease, and the Sharks’ offense struggled against the Morehead City defense.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Motorboaters looked to extend their lead. Pat Montfort stepped onto the mound for the Sharks. Marine drew a walk to lead off the inning, followed by a Tuffy single to first base. Leibl grounded out to Smigelski, resulting in the first out. Scotty Young then chopped a single to third base to score Marine and make the score 6-4. Montfort’s day came to an end as Austin Skipped came out on the bump for the Sharks and rapidly secured the third out.
The bottom of the seventh came around for the Sharks with the score still set at 6-4 in favor of the Motorboaters. Wilmington attempted to make an attack at the deficit but came up short, only securing one run on two hits. Wilder singled, followed by a Nowak base hit that advanced Wilder to third. In an unusual play, Nowak stole second, and as catcher Mike Kenney (Mount Olive) threw the ball to second base, Wilder decided to dart home. Wilder slid in safely on the play at the plate to steal home and make the score 6-5. Reigning CPL pitcher of the week Hunter Stevens (Mount Olive) struck out three of the five batters he saw in the seventh to give up only one run.
Joe Miceli (Gardner-Webb) closed the final two innings out for the Motorboaters to secure a save. He held the Sharks scoreless, giving up just two hits and striking out two of the eight batters he faced.
The Motorboaters narrowly pinched out a victory against the Sharks with the final score of 7-6. Morehead City moves to 11-2 overall and 8-2 in league play with a ten-game win streak on the line.
The next game will be back at Big Rock Stadium in Morehead City to face the Holly Springs Salamanders. The game is scheduled for a 7 PM start time.