WILSON, N.C. – The Wilson Tobs welcomed over 3,200 into Historic Fleming Stadium on Sunday night for its 2018 home opener against the Fuquay-Varina Twins of the Carolina-Virginia Collegiate League. The Tobs would send the crowd home happy following a 7-6 victory against the Twins along with a post-game firework show courtesy of Thomas Law.
Catcher Steven Zimmerman delivered the eventually game-winning hit for the Tobs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Zimmerman laced a single through the left side to plate Carson Freeman and Brenton Doyle and give Wilson a 7-5 advantage.
The Tobs and first-year head coach Bryan Hill sent nine different pitchers to the mound, allowing the coaching staff and the pitchers to get a feel for the ballpark and the mound.
Chris Kernen got the opening nod for the Tobs but would see the Twins rally for three runs in the top of the first inning. Fuquay-Varina's Coy Barnett and Gunnar Tolsten delivered a pair of run-scoring hits, with Tolsten plating two runners off a double against Kernen.
Wilson responded by scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning as Doyle singled to left field to score Dudley Taw and Kevin McGowan. With the deficit trimmed to 3-2, the Tobs saw the Twins score a run off a wild pitch in the top of the third inning to retake a two-run advantage.
Starting catcher Shamoy Christopher would help to give the Tobs' offense some momentum in the bottom of the third by launching his first home run of the season over the wall in right-center to cut the Twins' lead to 4-3. Cameron Norgen helped to give Fuquay-Varina a two-run cushion once again with a run-scoring single in the top of the fourth inning against Ethan Collins.
Wilson rallied to knot the score 5-5 in the bottom of the fifth inning against Fuquay-Varina's Derek Jackson. Taw laced a double down the right-field line to score Christopher, while Jacob Nester tallied a sacrifice fly to center that would allow Ben Faso to score from third.
Zimmerman would give the Tobs their first lead of the night against Twins reliever Trey Holland. With the bases loaded, Zimmerman singled to left field to allow Freeman and Doyle to score and make it 7-5 Wilson. The Tobs bullpen closed the game by allowing only one run through the final five innings of the contest.
Austin Vernon started the strong finish for the Wilson bullpen, fanning the side in order in the top of the sixth inning. Cody Smith and Luis Acosta finished the game by yielding just one hit over the final two innings of play. Acosta recorded the save for the Tobs after loading the bases following a two-out walk. Acosta would get the Twins' Nate Estes to hit a fly-ball to center field to end the game.
Doyle finished the night 4-for-4 with two runs batted in and one walk for the Tobs, while five other Wilson batter recorded a hit. At the plate, the Tobs worked seven walks compared to just five strikeouts. The Pitching for Wilson came together as the contest moved along with Tobs pitchers fanning 12 Fuquay-Varina batters and walking only five. Vernon was handed with the win after tossing a scoreless sixth frame.
The Tobs are home on Tuesday, May 29th as they host the Catawba Valley Stars at 7 p.m. It will be the first Tobs All You Can Eat Tuesday of the season at Historic Fleming Stadium courtesy of Da Bayou. There will also be Two Dollar select SweetWater Pub Beers from SweetWater Brewing Company. Gates will open at 6 p.m. with the first pitch to follow at 7 p.m.
The Wilson Tobs enter their 22nd season as a founding member of the Coastal Plain League. The upcoming season for the Tobs will see an expanded community outreach effort, increased participation in helping the less fortunate, a Pettit Cup Championship team, and more exciting entertainment for the Wilson Community. We would like to dedicate each successful season to the Wilson Community, Coastal Plain League Organization, Host Families, Corporate Partners, and the Dedicated Fans throughout the city of Wilson. The Wilson Tobs have played host to over 100 alumni taken in the draft and have produced a dozen players who have gone on to play in the MLB, including Cy Young & MVP winner Justin Verlander. For more information on the Wilson Tobs, visit our website www.wilsontobs.com.
Season tickets and ticket packages are on sale now and can be purchased by calling (252) 291-8627, or by visiting www.wilsontobs.com/tickets.