Chris Crabtree blasted a three-run measuring tape home run that highlighted a five run second inning. However, it took an RBI fielder's choice in the seventh inning from AJ Hrica and some stellar defense to defeat the pesky Wilmington Sharks 7 – 6 Friday night at Ting Park.
The Salamanders plated the first run of the game in the first inning when Jake Holtzapple scored as a result of a throwing error from Shark catcher Aaron McKeithan. However, the Sharks answered quickly in the top of the second when designated hitter Chad Fairey hit an opposite field solo home run to left. McKeithan then followed with an RBI single to left scoring Tucker Greer for the second run of the inning. The RBI single would putting the Sharks up 2 - 1. The Salamanders answered in a big way in the bottom of the second inning. The Manders would send nine batters to the plate scoring Will Hoyle and Kyle Willman early in the inning. Then with two outs and Ian Bailey and Jake Holtzapple aboard, Chris Crabtree would take a third pitch fastball and deliver a tape measure three run blast to right field. This would be Crabtree's eleventh home run of the season and would tie him for the league's lead with Kendal McGowan of the Forest City Owls. The Sharks, however, would still not go away tying the game with two runs in the fourth inning and another in the fifth as a result of a Clemente Inclan home run to right field. The score would remain knotted at six until Salamander third baseman Jake Holtzapple would lead off the bottom of the eighth inning with a double to left center field. Holtzapple would then score two outs later from an RBI fielder's choice from AJ Hrica.
Brendan Bell would enter the game for the Manders in relief and pitch a scoreless eighth inning. Salamander closer Kyle Davis would come on in the top of the ninth to attempt to close out the win. A lead off base hit by Shark shortstop Tilo Skoal would put the tying run on base with no one out. Web gems by right fielder Ian Bailey and second baseman Charlie Benson would close the game out giving Kyle Davis his Coastal Plain leading sixth save of the year.
The 7 – 6 win would give the Salamanders their second win in as many nights as they begin to put additional pressure on the Sharks in the race to lead the Eastern Division of the Coastal Plain League.
The Salamanders will head to Asheboro tomorrow to face the Copperheads. The Sharks will return to Wilmington to host the Wilson Tobs tomorrow evening at 7:05.