On a Roll: Steamers rout Pilots, win third in a row
By Malcolm Shields
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
EDENTON — After a slow start to the 2019 season, the Edenton Steamers have found their footing.
Edenton's recent strong play continued Monday night as the Steamers defeated rival Peninsula 13-2 at Hicks Field.
It has been a climb for a Steamers club that began the first half with a 1-6 record and was in last place in the Coastal Plain League North Division.
Since the slow start, the Steamers have boasted one of the top offenses in the CPL to go with a 5-2 record since the 1-6 start.
After Monday's result, the Steamers are a ½ game back of second place Peninsula in the CPL North Division.
Edenton head coach Russ Burroughs noted that key to the Clams' recent success is consistency.
“We're finally able to get comfortable with wood bats,” he said. “The offense is starting to click. We've got the lineup the way we want it. We've got guys protected the right way.”
The second-year Edenton manager noted that the team has its entire offensive lineup available.
“We're able to mix and match and change the lineup how we see fit,” Burroughs said.
Including Monday's result, Edenton has scored 39 runs in their last four games.
That includes a three-game winning streak in its last four games.
Their offensive ability was put on display on Monday.
Edenton took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a Justin Drpich RBI double down the right field line to score Ian Walters from second.
The Clams (6-8) added more runs in the bottom of the third.
With two two runners on base, Quincy Hamilton sent a David Erickson pitch over the right center field wall for a three-run home run to up the Edenton lead to 4-0.
Following the home run, Erickson left the game with an apparent injury.
Hamilton, from Wright State University, added a RBI double in the fourth inning.
He went 2-for-4 in the contest with four RBI in the win.
Burroughs noted that Hamilton joined the team after the start of the season.
When Hamilton was recruited to join the Steamers, the coaching staff knew Hamilton had gap-to-gap power.
The coach noted Hamilton's positive demeanor.
“The kid smiles non-stop,” Burroughs said. “That's the key for all of us. The more you have fun, the better you're going to be.”
Hamilton's run-scoring double in the fourth was part of a four-run fourth inning against Peninsula relief pitcher Douglas Palmer to increase the Edenton lead to 8-0.
Drpich also had two-RBI double in the frame for the Steamers.
Peninsula (7-8) scored two runs in the top of the fifth inning.
Outside of the two runs in the fifth, Edenton starting pitcher Alex Theis posted another solid start against the Pilots.
In his last outing against Peninsula on June 12, Theis pitched 6 1/3 innings, gave up four hits, a walk, two earned runs and posted 13 strikeouts.
The Steamers went on to secure a 3-2 win.
Although Theis, a Wright State University product, didn't have double-digit strikeouts Monday, he was in command.
He went five innings, surrendered seven hits, two earned runs, two walks with seven strikeouts for his first win of the season.
“Alex is really good at mixing his pitches,” Burroughs said. “They are not touching his fastball when he's able to locate. When he is able to keep it up in the zone, he's un-hitable... He's finding his groove.”
Burroughs acknowledged the importance of starting pitching to the Steamers' recent success.
“Any time our starting pitcher goes five innings, we've always got a shot at winning and our bullpen shuts it down,” he said.
After an off day Tuesday, the Steamers host Wilson for a doubleheader today at 6 p.m.
Right along with pitching a perfect game or a no-hitter, the immaculate inning for a pitcher is one of the rare events that occurs in the game of baseball.
Sean Hughes, from Boston College, was able to achieve the immaculate inning by throwing nine pitches to record three strikeouts to end the top of the eighth inning for the Steamers.
Hughes struck out Peninsula's Sy Snedeker and Luke Zimmerman looking for the first two outs and retired Nick Biddison on a swing and a miss to end the ½ inning.
Edenton added five more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Two of the runs scored on a Jordan Fitzpatrick double.
The big hit of the inning came from Edenton's Brycen Thomas, who crushed a three-run home run over the right center field wall to increase the Edenton lead to 13-2.
After the home run, Peninsula pitcher Brandon Schrepf threw his first pitch behind Edenton batter Anthony Stehlin.
Schrepf's next pitch would hit Stehlin.
Home plate umpire William Ward then issued warnings to both dugouts.
With Stehlin on first base, Schrepf threw the ball from the mound and hit Stehlin.
Schrepf, a right hander, was called for a balk and was ejected from the game, while Stehlin was awarded second base.
Edenton didn't retaliate as relief pitcher Cyle Clayton retired the Pilots in order to end the game in the top of the ninth.
“We pride ourselves in being professional on and off the field,” Burroughs said. “No matter what happens to us, we can be expected to carry ourselves like a pro.”
BARK AT THE PARK
Fans at Monday's game were able to bring their dog to the game. Many fans were in the stands with their dogs taking in the game.
The Steamers collected donations during the game that went to the Tri-County Animal Shelter.