Morehead City, NC – The Motorboaters prevailed in a close contest Friday night as they defeated the Salamanders 7-5. The home run ball proved to be the deciding factor as the Boaters hit two big bombs en route to a win.
Joe Miceli (Kent State) got the start for the Boaters and started the first inning with a 1-2-3 frame with two strikeouts. With a 0-0 score headed to the bottom of the first, the Boaters got the offense rolling with a bang. Parker Morgan got the start for the Salamanders and walked the first three batters he faced. With the bases loaded, Dylan Rogers (Appalachian State) hammered a ball into left field that found the gap for a 2-RBI double. The Motorboaters would hold a 2-0 lead until the bottom of the third when newcomer Jeremy Piatkiewicz (East Stroudsburg) hit a laser over the left field wall for a home run. The home run was Piatkiewicz’ first hit of the year, and it propelled the Motorboaters to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third.
The Salamanders would strike back in the top of the fourth inning against Miceli. With runners at second and third, Ben Jones hit a chopper that bounced off the heel of the glove of Dan Tauken (Murray State). Henry Koehler crossed the plate to cut the Boater lead to 3-1, but the Salamanders weren’t done there. Logan Murphy (Catawba Valley CC) came on in relief of Miceli with two runners on base and gave up a big three-run blast to Salamanders slugger Ryan Picollo.
The Salamanders would take their new 4-3 lead into the bottom of the fourth, where they would be met with a renewed Motorboater offensive attack. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with Motorboaters for Trent Youngblood (Transylvania), who launched a majestic rainbow shot into the sky that sailed beyond the right field fence for a grand slam. The long home run gave the Motorboaters a 7-4 lead.
The Salamanders would try to chip away in the top of the sixth inning after they put two runners on with back-to-back walks. Mika Petersen singled to bring home Picollo to cut the deficit to 7-5.
Maintaining their 7-5 lead with two outs in the top of the eighth, the Boaters brought Sebastian Mejia (Texas Rio Grande Valley) out of the pen to lock down the four out save. Mejia got the last out in the top of the eighth on a flyout, and came on in the top of the ninth with the lead to finish off the job. Mejia allowed two base runners in the top of the ninth, but got Cole Zak to pop out to short to end the game. The save was Mejia’s fourth of the season. With the win, the Motorboaters improved to 29-14 on the year. The Motorboaters return as the Marlins on Saturday to face the Sharks in Wilmington from Buck Hardee Field. The game will be available to stream on the Marlins Mixlr channel. First pitch is scheduled for 7PM.