Salamanders season culminates in first-ever CPL playoff game

Chris Baird, Triangle Sports Network
Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network
Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. – Following a 6-1 win over High Point-Thomasville on Monday, Holly Springs Salamanders coach Andrew Ciencin summarized what the team’s inaugural regular season in the Coastal Plain League (CPL) was like.

“It’s been inconsistent, it’s been up-and-down, but at the same time, my guys have played the hardest – they’re the hardest-working group I’ve ever been a part of,” Ciencin said.

“That was the kind of thing I preached all summer – just hustle. It looks good to everyone that’s watching. Fans like to see that. They don’t like to see guys hot-doggin’ it, or whatever it may be. They played the game with respect and they did it well.”

With an overall record of 28-28, the Salamanders earned a spot in the 2015 Petitt Cup playoffs which begins on Wednesday at the North Main Athletic Complex.

Holly Springs will face the team they played in their home-opener back on May 28th, the Edenton Steamers.

Though they beat Edenton 7-6 back then, the two teams have taken different paths during the season.

While the Salamanders developed their roster and chemistry to become one of the top fielding teams in the CPL along with Edenton, the Steamers’ scoring power propelled them to become the CPL’s top team with an impressive 40-15 overall record.

Head-to-head, they’ve split their season series, and each possess two wins against one another.

To Holly Springs’ credit, the team’s individual contributions from players like UNC’s Brian Miller, second in hitting overall, and UNCG’s Collin Woody, who leads the league in RBI’s, have helped to mesh with the rest of a what has become a very cohesive group of players.

They’re “a hard-working group” as Ciencin put it.

Exactly what he wanted them to be.

The Salamanders have put together a number of impressive rallies to lead and to come back in many games, but have also lost a number as well, in heart-breaking fashion at times.

However, in front of their loyal following at the NMAC, they’ve played with excitement and energy that has earned them a home record that stands at 19-10.

Though a tall order, the Salamanders are fully capable of earning a win against the Steamers, particularly with the support of their fans.

Its something that Ciencin is banking on as the edge that could put Holly Springs out in front to start the series.

“It’s so good for the community to come out here and be able to watch this type of product on the field every night,” Ciencin concluded.

“I’m happy for the guys to play in front of the probably the best fans in the CPL. It’s great to see and have them still be here and still put in the hard work and care on a daily and nightly basis. It’s hard to do after a 56-game schedule and have another 56 on top of that. Being able to come out here with the enthusiasm they’ve had all summer, it’s really special for them. “