by Jordan Lank
The Fayetteville SwampDogs' season came to a close Sunday night when they fell at the hands of the Morehead City Marlins in the East Divisional Round of the Pettit Cup Playoffs, 5-3.
In a game that teetered back and forth and had an atmosphere built for the playoffs, the SwampDogs pounced early when Cameron Phelts took the second pitch of the game for a ride over the right-field fence.
Morehead City evened the contest in their half of the third on a SwampDogs error, but Fayetteville made sure that would not last long. Brandon Talley rocketed the second SwampDogs solo shot of the game to left field to take a 2-1 lead.
The Marlins responded with a two-run fifth in which they got a solo home run of their own and an RBI single with a runner on second.
It took another full inning, but the 'Dogs made it 3-3 when Alex Kachler ambushed a fastball for the third SwampDogs solo home run of the night.
The pivotal blow came in the bottom of the eighth when Morehead City put runners on the corners with one out. The SwampDogs issued an intentional walk that led to a sacrifice fly, giving the Marlins a lead they would never relinquish.
Matt Vonderschmidt provided another strong start, throwing three innings of seven-hit ball. Vonderschmidt only allowed one run.
Corey Martinez pitched four innings in relief of Vonderschmidt, striking out two and allowing two runs on five hits.
With the loss, the SwampDogs were eliminated from contention for the Pettit Cup. It was the second time in as many seasons Fayetteville fell to Morehead City in the first round of the postseason, with the Marlins taking the former contest in 16 innings in 2018.
Fayetteville finishes the season with a 24-27 record, and appeared in its third postseason in as many years.
The Fayetteville SwampDogs are members of the The Coastal Plain League and are in their 19th Summer of fun. The Coastal Plain League is the nation's premier summer collegiate baseball league. Heading into its 23rd season in 2019, the CPL features 16 franchises playing in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. To date, the CPL has had over 1,450 alumni drafted and 122 alums – including 2017 ALCS MVP, 2017 World Series champion, 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young award winner Justin Verlander, as well as 2017 NLCS MVP Chris Taylor – make their Major League debut. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at www.coastalplain.com, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat @CPLBaseball.