Salamanders bats fend off Sharks for 5-2 win and 1st place in CPL East

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network
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HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. – The Holly Springs Salamanders beat the visiting Wilmington Sharks 5-2 in front of a Military Appreciation Night crowd of 1,724 at the North Main Athletic Complex on Friday.

It was the Salamanders’ fourth win in their last five games and gave them sole possession of the East Division in the Coastal Plain League (CPL) standings, currently sitting with a 7-3 record for the second half of the season and 19-19 overall.

“They’re startin’ to play in a rhythm every night,” Salamanders coach Andrew Ciencin said of his team.

“I think we’ve been averaging 10 hits a game. We’re putting out the same guys, not the same set lineup every night, but the same guys playing. So, it’s the same rhythm that they’re havin’ every game and they’re seeing pitches well. They’re just playin’ well right now.”

Starting pitcher Colten Duttweiller (2-0) earned the win with seven solid innings of work that included striking out five, with one run scored against on five hits allowed.

“He’s been unbelievable the last two starts,” Ciencin said of the six-foot-five-inch left-hander.

“He’s a different animal when he starts than out of the pen. He knows what he’s doin’. He keeps the ball down and we haven’t seen that many hard-hit balls off him.

Wilmington starter Caleb Johnson (2-1) absorbed the loss as the Salamanders broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the fifth, scoring two runs and adding another two in the eighth.

The CPL’s leading hitter Brian Miller (2-4, 1 R), along with Collin Woody (1-5, 1 R), Logan Porter (1-3), and Zach Cerbo (1-4, 1 R) all posted an RBI apiece, while Xyruse Martinez, Josh McLain, and Robbie Thorburn finished with matching 2-for-4 nights at the plate to power the Holly Springs offense.

“Guys are just bein’ more patient at the plate, being more relaxed, and just gettin’ the pitch they want to hit,” Miller said.

“I’m just tryin’ to stay consistent with my approach, balls are fallin’, and I’m gettin’ some hits.”

While the Sharks scored a run in the top of the ninth, they stranded runners as Woody’s work from the mound was enough to secure the win for Holly Springs.

The Salamanders will return to action at home against Martinsville on Saturday before taking a two-day break as CPL All-Star Weekend will take place Sparrow Stadium in Florence, S.C. on Sunday and Monday.

Notes: Miller and Woody will represent the Salamanders on the CPL East All-Star Team…Woody, second in the CPL in RBIs (34) and home runs (8) will take part in the Home Run Derby on Saturday…Miller will start in the All-Star Game on Monday, bringing his current .432 batting average along with him…The game will be televised live on Time Warner SportsChannel (TWC – 323) with the Voice of the Salamanders Chris Edwards doing the play-by-play and will be joined by on-field reporter Erin Summers.

Boxscore – CPL