EDENTON, N.C. – Don’t be fooled by the final score: it was a classic pitcher’s duel for a majority of Monday night at Historic Hicks Field, as the Fayetteville SwampDogs dropped a tough contest to the Edenton Steamers 7-2.
SwampDogs starter Bennett Schiltz and Steamers starter Jeff Stoddard traded zeroes through the first five frames, with Stoddard retiring the first 12 batters he faced.
The Steamers were the first team to crack the run column, when they scored in the bottom of the sixth. Leadoff batter Jake Placzek reached on an error, then was sacrificed over by Ryan Raslowsky. Stefan Kancylarz advanced Placzek to third on a groundout to Jason Blum at second base. Blum made a terrific play to dive after Kancylarz’s groundball and make the out.
But the next batter, Orlando Olivera, would line a base hit into center to bring home Placzek with the first run of the game.
In the next frame, the SwampDogs would come back and even the score when Norm Donkin cracked his second home run of the season. Donkin appeared to have been hit on the foot by a pitch by Stoddard, but home plate umpire John Durante did not agree. Two pitches later, Donkin hit a shot that cleared the high wall in left field to tie the game at one.
The Steamers wouldn’t waste much time retaking the lead, as Bennett Schiltz walked Evan Rodgers, then after he stole second and third Schiltz hit Grant Tyndall with a pitch. That would be the last pitch Schiltz would throw, as he was replaced by Seth Laigast.
Laigast was greeted rudely by Placzek, who lined a single into center to bring home Rodgers with the go-ahead run. Tyndall went first to third on the play, and would come into score later in the inning when Laigast uncorked a wild pitch. Both of the runs were charged to Schiltz.
Schiltz’s final line for the game did not accurately reflect how well he pitched. He went 6.2 innings, allowed just three hits, walked two, struck out a season-high nine, but allowed three runs, though just two of them were earned.
The ‘Dogs would threaten to score in the top of the eighth, getting the leadoff man on base in the form of a walk to Sam Hall, who was pinch hitting for Rayne Raven. After pinch hitter Palmer Page lined to third and Chase Edwards took a called third strike, Alex Harris singled to left. Reliever Caleb Ross was then removed from the game in favor of Zach Eden, who struck out Jason Blum to end the threat.
The eighth inning would be the SwampDogs’ undoing. Laigast remained in the game and promptly surrendered a single to Olivera before walking Nick Kranick. Manager David Tufo then removed Laigast from the game and brought in Ryan Domingue, who hit Trooper Reynolds to load the bases with nobody out. Up next was Rodgers who cracked a grand slam over the wall in left to make it 7-1 Steamers. Domingue would settle down and retire the side.
In the ninth inning, Alex Westrick was in to pitch for the Steamers. With one out, David Palenzuela was hit by a pitch then took second and third bases on two wild pitches, then Norm Donkin walked. Lane Paul grounded a single into left to bring home Palenzuela. The hit for Paul extended his hitting streak to eight consecutive games, and his reached-base streak to 16 games.
Sam Hall was up next and drew a walk, and the bases were loaded, but the SwampDogs were unable to bring home any more runs.
Schiltz took the extreme hard-luck loss for the SwampDogs, and now has fallen to 1-1, while Stoddard got the win and moves to 2-0.
The SwampDogs return home to begin a three-game homestand on Tuesday with a matchup against the Wilmington Sharks at 7:05 pm. For tickets and more information call the SwampDogs offices at 910-426-5900.
The Coastal Plain League is the nation’s hottest summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 18th season in 2014, the CPL features 14 teams playing in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The CPL gives college players the chance to refine their skills with the use of wooden bats. Players are housed with local host families for the summer and past experiences have been very positive for both players and hosts. The CPL has had nearly 1,200 alumni drafted and 68 of those – including 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander – make their Major League debut; while another notable alum - Russell Wilson - won Super Bowl XLVIII. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at www.coastalplain.com and follow us via Twitter @CPLBaseball.
Joe Vasile/Fayetteville SwampDogs