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Clams set to begin 2018 season

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By Malcolm Shields
Sports Editor

Thursday, May 31, 2018

As soon as the head coach position became open for the Edenton Steamers, Russ Burroughs was interested.

Burroughs, who served as the pitching coach under 2017 head coach Dustin Coffman, was ready for the opportunity to lead the Clams.

“It was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up,” Burroughs told The Daily Advance on Tuesday.

Last October, Burroughs was named head coach of the Steamers.

Burroughs is set to lead the Clams for the 2018 season.

The Coastal Plain League season, if weather permits, is set to begin today at Hicks Field as the Steamers will host Holly Springs at 7 p.m.

The coach is excited about the crop of talent the Clams will feature this summer.

That includes University of Arkansas product Jack Kenley.

Burroughs noted that he believes Kenley, an infielder, will be an every day player for the Steamers this summer.

First baseman Ben Whetstone, from Missouri State, will be a big left-handed bat for the Clams.

Kenley and Ben Whetstone are two in a group of players that will not be available during the opening weekend for the Steamers because their schools are playing in the NCAA Division I baseball tournament.

“We have a lot of heavy hitters,” Burroughs said.

The coach likes the pitching on the roster that includes Middle Tennessee State’s Ryan Scharf and AJ Spencer.

TJ Satterly, a product of Morehead State, is expected to come out of the bullpen and could start this summer.

Burroughs, who guided the Clams to the CPLs No. 3 ranking in fewest hits allowed and in strikeouts, noted that what he learned during his first year in Edenton was the value of relationships and developing those relationships with players.

He added that every player is different.

PACE OF PLAY

The Coastal Plain League announced on Tuesday it will implement new pace of play measures for the 2018 season. These rules were discussed and voted in during the CPL Team Owners meetings in February.

“The Coastal Plain League and its member clubs are continuously evaluating all aspects of our operation, as well as identifying baseball-specific trends that help make our games more fan friendly,” said Justin Sellers, Coastal Plain League COO/​Commissioner. “The sport of baseball is taking strides to speed up the game and the policies we’ve implemented for 2018 should factor in on that goal. We hope these changes will be well-received by our players, coaches, and fans.”

As players continue their journey to professional baseball the CPL prides itself on providing every avenue for them to better prepare themselves for the next level. Given the recent pace of play changes at the Minor League and Major League ranks, CPL executives felt the following rules would be applicable to the CPL in 2018.

Some of those new measures include no-pitch intentional walk, base coaches staying in their box, limits on mound visits (including player conferences), limits on warm-up pitches, in-between innings time limited to two minutes and use of international tiebreaker during extra inning games.

According to the CPL, each team will now be limited to six mound visits, including player conferences, per game, plus one additional mound visit for each extra inning played. The extra mound visit per each extra inning is limited to one per extra inning and they do not carry over from inning-to-inning.

One of the notable exceptions to the mound visit rule is if it relates to an injury or potential injury. The penalty for exceeding mound visits is the batter is awarded first base.

Starting in the 10th inning, runners will be placed at first and second. The runner on second will be second-to-last player that batted or pinch ran the previous inning, while the runner on first base will be the last batter up or pinch runner in the previous inning.

NEW DIVISIONS

With the addition of the Macon Bacon to the CPL, the league re-aligned divisions following the end of the 2017 season.

The Steamers are now in the four-team CPL North Division with Peninsula, Martinsville and Wilson.

The other divisions are the CPL South (Florence, Lexington County, Macon and Savannah), East (Fayetteville, Wilmington, Holly Springs and Morehead City) and West (Gastonia, Forest City, Asheboro and High Point-Thomasville).

Last season, the CPL was divided by East-West division format.

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