Pilots Start Fast, Top Tri-City 8-3

HAMPTON, Va. (June 17, 2022) – The Peninsula Pilots scored five runs in the first three innings and never looked back, coming away with an 8-3 win over the Tri-City Chili Peppers on Friday night at War Memorial Stadium.

The Pilots pounded out 13 hits from 10 different players en route to their second win in as many nights over Tri-City.

The tone was set in the bottom of the first as Chris Sparber (Louisburg) and Wyatt Langford (Florida) led off the night with back-to-back infield singles. After a Chili Peppers error, Mason Dunaway (James Madison) scored Sparber with a sacrifice fly and Robbie Petracci (Old Dominion) hit a groundout to score Langford.

The Pilots rapped out four more hits in the third to extend their lead to 5-0. Langford singled and stole second before Dunaway singled him in. After a Petracci single, Lincoln Ransom’s (Old Dominion) RBI groundout plated Dunaway. Elijah Dickerson (Towson) capped the rally with a two-out RBI single to bring home Petracci.

The Pilots stretched their lead to 7-0 in the sixth. Cole Ragone (William & Mary) hit an RBI double to score Dickerson, who led off the inning with his second single of the night. Sparber’s sacrifice fly then scored Huck Wathan, who also singled earlier in the frame.

The Chili Peppers finally found the scoring column with a three-run seventh. They benefited from two walks, a hit batter, a Pilot error and a pair of two-out singles by Kenny Mallory Jr. and Riley Motley to draw within 7-3. But Pilot reliever Nathan Light stranded the bases loaded with a fielder’s choice grounder to limit the damage.

Harrison Povey (Florida Gulf Coast) tacked on a run-scoring single for the Pilots in the bottom of the seventh to close the scoring.

The Pilots got a strong start by Jay Cassady (Christopher Newport). He pitched four shutout innings and struck out four before coming out of the game during a lightning delay following the fourth inning. Trey Morgan (VMI) picked up the win for the Pilots with a scoreless fifth inning which featured two strikeouts. Light pitched the final 2.2 innings without allowing a run.

Sparber and Langford each went 2-for-4 and Dickerson batted 2-for-3 for the Pilots. Langford scored two runs and Dunaway had two RBIs.

The Pilots will split their squad and play two games on Saturday. Half the team will hit the road to face the Holly Springs Salamanders at 7 p.m. The other half will play a home non-league game against the Tarboro River Bandits, also at 7 p.m., at War Memorial Stadium.