EDENTON — The Edenton Steamers, at least as of Thursday evening, find themselves tied for first place in the Premier Collegiate League.
They reached that point by beating the other first place team in the Tarboro River Bandits at home Thursday by a score of 4-2.
It was Edenton’s first win in three tries against Tarboro this season and it was also the club’s sixth consecutive victory.
“Big win because they haven’t been beat but one time in the league we’re in,” Steamers head coach Justin Hill said, “So that’s tough competition and we stepped up and did the job today.”
The Steamers (12-4, 8-4 PCL), who reached first place by way of winning percentage Thursday, started the game’s scoring in the bottom of the second.
Tate Abbott led the inning off with an infield single to second base and with one out, Hunter Cole singled to right field against Tarboro starter Caden Parker.
Jackson Hipp followed with a hard-hit line drive into left-center field for a one-run double to give the Steamers the lead.
Bases were eventually loaded with two outs when Bryce Stephens worked a walk, but he would be the last batter Parker faced as he left the game with an injury to the arm.
New River Bandits pitcher Hazen Lancaster came in and got Chase Bruno to ground out to shortstop to prevent more Edenton runs.
Meanwhile, Steamers starter Nick Wohleking allowed just one base runner in the first three innings with a walk.
Tarboro’s first hit came on the first pitch of the fourth inning when Liam Mcfadden-Ackman went yard to left field to even the game 1-1.
But Edenton jumped right back in front in the bottom of the fifth inning after Tanner Thach led off with a looped double into left-center field
The designated hitter moved over to third when Jeremiah Boyd grounded out to shortstop and made it home on a sacrifice fly from Abbott to left to make it 2-1 Steamers.
Two more runs were added in the sixth starting with a Nate Paulsen two-out solo home run just over the left field fence.
Paulsen, who had a double in his previous at-bat, had his home run happen two batters after Cole launched a ball about 50 feet further to dead-center field but had a round-tripper robbed by Tarboro’s James Moses’ glove.
An error and stolen base then saw Stephens on second base as Bruno knocked him home with a double to make it 4-1.
“We’ve been hitting the ball well recently through the lineup,” Hill said. “Couple of guys have got it going that we’re expecting a lot out of and they’ve started to step it up.”
Wohleking pitched into the seventh inning with just the one run given up before back-to-back singles from the River Bandits (10-3, 4-2 PCL) led the frame off.
A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, but Wohleking struck out his fourth batter for the first out.
Hill then decided to bring in Gage Riddick, who allowed a sacrifice fly from Dane Hoggard to make it 4-2 with two outs.
Then, Ty Barrango singled to center, where Paulsen fielded the ball and threw a bullet to home to keep Hunter Mclean from coming in to score.
Instead, Mclean rounded third by a little too much and scrambled back to third, but Edenton catcher Boyd fired to third baseman Jared Beebe for the tag-out to end the rally and keep the game 4-2.
“It was a well-executed play right there and it was absolutely huge,” Hill said
Riddick got out of the eighth inning in four batters and Cole Bates earned the save by retiring three of the four batters he faced in the ninth.
“We’re playing well overall and hoping it can continue,” Hill said.