Pilots Surge Past Mustangs, 10-8

HAMPTON, Va. (July 14, 2022) – The Peninsula Pilots rallied from a 3-0 deficit by scoring all 10 of their runs in the fifth through seventh innings, then held on for a 10-8 win over the Martinsville Mustangs on Thursday night at War Memorial Stadium.

Trailing 3-2 in the sixth, the Pilots exploded for six runs to take the lead for good. Lincoln Ransom (Old Dominion) tied the game with an RBI single. Elijah Dickerson (Towson), who had earlier singled and then advanced to third on Ransom’s hit, scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.

The Pilots weren’t done. After a hit batter and walk loaded the bases, Ty Swaim (VMI) had the big hit of the inning, a three-run double to right-center. Trey Morgan (VMI) capped the rally with a single to score Swaim and put the Pilots up 8-3.

The Mustangs closed the gap with three runs in the top of the seventh, but the Pilots tacked on two more in their half of the seventh. The runs came on one swing of the bat. Dickerson reached base on an error to start the inning, and one out later, catcher Huck Wathan (Charlotte) launched a two-run homer off the scoreboard in left field to put the Pilots up 10-6.

Martinsville kept it close by adding two runs in the eighth. The Pilots then turned to all-star reliever Nate Varnier (William Peace) in the ninth. The Mustangs got the leadoff runner on base, but the Pilots held on to win in spectacular fashion. A fielder’s choice accounted for the first out.

Morgan, the first baseman, then turned a highlight caliber double play to end it. He tracked down a foul fly ball down the right field line, making a twisting, diving catch for the second out. The runner at first tried to tag up, but Morgan sprang to his feet and threw out the runner at second for a double play that was as impressive as it was improbable.

The Mustangs scored three runs in the second inning to take the early advantage. Justin Fugitt singled in two runs and then scored on a double steal of home and second.

The Pilots got on the board in the fifth. Dickerson walked to start the inning and scored on a groundout by Harrison Povey (Florida Gulf Coast). Ransom singled and later scored on a balk to bring the Pilots within 3-2.

Swaim and Ransom each went 2-for-4 to lead the Pilots. Swaim had three RBIs and Wathan two. Dickerson scored three runs and Tevin Tucker (West Virginia) swiped three bases.

Vincent Bashara (Old Dominion), the third of seven Pilot pitchers, earned the win by pitching a scoreless sixth inning. Varnier notched the save.

The Pilots take to the road to face Asheboro at 7 p.m. on Friday night.