EDENTON — It seemed that the Edenton Steamers were going to waste David Bednar’s pitching gem.
Bednar struck out 12 and allowed just one hit in his six-plus innings of work, but left the game trailing after the one Peninsula batter to get that hit, Jimmy Kerrigan, came in to score on a wild pitch.
Those were the two missteps by Bednar in his 69-pitch outing, but they were proving to be costly ones.
Peninsula got another run later in the inning, and when the Steamers came to bat in the seventh, they had yet to score.
But with two runs in that frame to tie the game, and then an eight-run burst in the eighth, the Steamers defeated the rival Pilots for the fourth time this season and opened up a two-game lead in the Coastal Plain League’s East Division with a 10-2 win on Wednesday.
It was a tough-luck play that allowed Kerrigan to come in, according to Edenton coach Bryan Hill. Catcher Chance Shepard had called for an inside pitch, and Bednar missed with a 92 miles-per-hour fastball high and away, not giving Shepard enough time to react and catch it.
“There’s no way, with the way he pitched, and the way our team is, that I was going to let us lose that game on that,” Hill said. “As well as he pitched, we had to do everything in our power to do it, and patience paid off. Let them mess up. We didn’t try to do anything too aggressive.”
Bednar and and Peninsula starter Matt Outman didn’t allow a hit through the first three innings, and though both teams got runners to third in the fourth, it still stayed scoreless until Bednar’s wild pitch in the fifth.
Bednar was masterful as he moved pitches up and down, and side to side in the strike zone.
“I was just able to throw fastballs for strikes,” Bednar said. “Chance called a great game at the plate, I was able to throw off-speed stuff for strikes as well and the defense played great behind me.”
The Steamers got consecutive one-out singles from Shepard, Nick Maguire and Tony Rosselli in the bottom of the seventh before Julian Russell was hit by a Carson Herndon pitch to plate Shepard and their first run. After an Evan Rogers strikeout, Cole Gruber’s walk brought in Maguire to tie the game.
They broke the game open in the eighth, sending 13 batters to the plate and scoring eight runs.
“Last night we struck out too much,” Hill said, referring to the team’s loss to Gastonia on Tuesday. “And that was the main thing (Wednesday), we’re going to own our at-bats and make sure we don’t get ourselves out. We’re going to make him get us out, and the patience paid off.”
Chad Sedio, who had been 0-for-3 to that point, led off the inning with a triple, and Demetre Taylor singled next for what proved to be the only other run Edenton needed.
“I was sitting fastball, more middle away, but in the back of my mind, I knew he had struck me out (with a) fastball in,” Taylor said, “and I figured he’d try to get me to double-up or ground out, so I started early and just threw my hands like I normally do.”
But the Steamers weren’t close to being done.
Shepard walked, and then he and Taylor executed a double steal to put them on second and third, then with Maguire at the plate, both Taylor and Shepard scored on wild pitches to go up 5-2. Maguire and Rosselli walked before the Pilots got their first out of the inning. After Rogers walked, Maguire scored on another wild pitch. Two more walks brought in another Steamers run.
Then Sedio, who had already extended his hit streak to 10 games, hit a sacrifice fly to also put his RBI streak at 10 games and then Taylor hit a two-run single to give Edenton a 10-2 lead.
All that was left was for flame-throwing Dylan Zarosky to close the door. He allowed a double but got a pair of strikeouts and a groundout to finish off Peninsula.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game, but we just buckled down and we went back to the basics,” Taylor said. “We just kept it simple and made hard contact and let the ball do the rest.”