Pilots Win Wild One in Walk-Off Fashion over Wilson
HAMPTON, Va. (July 8, 2022) – Cole Stanford (Lenoir Rhyne) capped a wild night at War Memorial Stadium with a two-out, three-run double in the bottom of the 10th inning to carry the Peninsula Pilots to a walk-off 12-11 win over the Wilson Tobs.
In a game that saw a bit of everything, the teams combined to score 20 of the game’s 23 runs after the fifth inning. The Pilots – who were playing the game under protest after manager Hank Morgan disagreed with an umpire’s interpretation in the fifth – answered the bell each time in a back-and-forth affair.
The Pilots led 2-1 after five innings thanks to an RBI single by Michael Robertson in the third inning and a run-scoring double by Stanford in the fourth. Starter Jake Miller (Valparaiso) pitched five solid innings before giving way to the bullpen.
Both teams found their offense after the starting pitchers departed. Wilson plated four runs in the sixth, three coming on a bases-clearing triple by Scott Mackiewicz, to take their first lead.
The Pilots took advantage of some control issues by the Tobs’ bullpen in the sixth, as both Ty Swaim (VMI) and Trey Morgan (VMI) drew bases-loaded walks and Robertson delivered another run-scoring single. Morgan’s RBI knotted the scored at 5-all.
Matt Schark’s solo homer keyed a three-run seventh that gave the Tobs the edge again, at 8-5. But the Pilots answered an inning later, scoring three runs after two outs were recorded. Morgan started the scoring with an RBI single before Elijah Dickerson (Towson) ripped a two-run double to again square things, at 8-all.
After a scoreless ninth inning, the game went into extra innings which meant the deployment of the tie-breaker rule, with each team starting its half inning with two runners on base. The Tobs scored three runs without benefit of a hit, taking advantage of two Pilot errors and a wild pitch to push across three runs and surge in front 11-8.
Still, the Pilots weren’t done yet. Robertson opened the bottom of the 10th with his third RBI single of the night, scoring Swaim. It appeared the Pilots had loaded the bases when Morgan laid down a well-placed bunt. But he was ruled out on interference, dealing the Pilots rally a blow.
But Jack Dragum drew a walk, and despite the Pilots losing a base runner on a pickoff, Dickerson extended the inning by drawing another walk. That loaded the bases for Stanford, who blasted a fastball over the left-fielder’s head to score Robertson, Dragum and Dickerson and set off an infield celebration nearly four hours in the making.
Among the many heroes for the Pilots, Robertson tied the team single-game record with five hits. The feat had been accomplished seven times previously, most recently by Alden Mathes in 2021. Robertson finished 5-for-6 with three RBIs, while Stanford was 2-for-4 with four RBIs. Swaim went 2-for-3 and reached base four times, and Dragum scored three runs.
Samuel Rochard (Central Arizona) earned the win with two innings of relief work. He fanned six batters and did not allow a hit.
The Pilots are back home Saturday against Morehead City. Game time is 7 p.m.