Tarboro’s River Bandits won two of three games in an otherwise wet week for baseball, toppling Edenton’s Steamers, 5-4, on the road Friday night before splitting a twin bill with Fuquay-Varina on Saturday at Municipal Stadium when Tarboro was the visiting team on the scoreboard.
After rainouts on Monday and Wednesday at Municipal Stadium, the River Bandits hit the road to head east to face Edenton’s Steamers, who play in the Tidewater League this summer after more than 20 years in the Coastal Plains League. It was the season opener for the Steamers.
Tarboro struck first in the top of the second with runners on the corners when centerfielder Phillip Boykin (Norfolk State) came home on a delayed double steal.
In the third and with no runners on-base, River Bandits’ second baseman Thomas Fox (Paul D. Camp) hit a solo home run to left field to make the score 2-0.
Edenton got on the board in the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run to deep center.
The River Bandits responded in their half of the sixth with their second homer of the game, a solo shot to left-center by Boykin to make it 3-1
Tarboro stretched its lead to three in the top of the seventh with runners on the corners and two outs as the Steamers third baseman mishandled a slow-rolling ground ball.
The River Bandits added what would be the game-winner in the top of the eighth inning when Zack Whitacre (Potomac State) scored from third on a wild pitch.
Edenton scored three runs on two hits to bring the score to 5-4 in the bottom of the eighth but was unable to complete the comeback though as Trey Jernigan (UNC-Asheville) closed out the game by recording the final four outs. Cole Bates (Delaware State) got credit for the win.
Offensively, Jared Bingaman (Messiah) led the Bandits with a two-for-four plate slowing while as Boykin and Fox both got home runs. Boykin also had three stolen bases for the River Bandits. Overall, Tarboro had six steals.
On Saturday, Tarboro (8-2) faced a now-familiar for in Fuquay-Varina and jumped to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, with a two-out rally.
Brantley Cutler (Maryland-Eastern Shore) got an infield hit to short, followed by back-to-back-walks before Matthew Coker (Pasco Hernandez) was hit by a pitch to plate Cutler and leave the bases jammed.
The River Bandits just missed an opportunity to blow the game open when Grant Jarman (UNC-Greensboro) lined out to third to stifle the rally.
After Ryan Andrzejczyk (Union) retired the Twins in the first, Tarboro added a second run in the top of the second when Tre’von Smith (Glenville State) hit a blast to right-center off Tanner Montgomery (Johnstown State) to make it 2-0.
Tarboro managed to get runners to second and third before Montgomery struck out the last two batters to escape any more damage.
F-V was able to tie things up in the bottom of the second when a pair of singles to right field by Nate Slocum (Western Carolina) and Cameron Norgren (NC Central), and a throwing error by Fluno got the Twins back into the game.
The River Bandits added another run in the top of the third when Coker drew a one-out walk, stole second and advanced to third before scoring on a fly out to left by Jarman to make the score 3-0.
F-V came to life in the bottom of the inning, scoring three as the first three batters reached base safely and tied the game.
Tarboro’s bats stayed alive down the stretch, with Whitacre reaching base on a pair of singles in both the fourth and sixth innings, and then driving Bingaman home with the winning run on a sacrifice fly to right in the seventh.
Bingaman was pinch-running for Smith, who had singled to right.
Tarboro managed seven runs on 11 hits, while F-V had six runs on 12 hits in the bat-fest.
In game two, Fuquay-Varina jumped to a 3-0 lead in the second inning and never looked back, en route to a 10-4, lightning-shortened win.
In that game, Tarboro Head Coach Ryan Matthews was ejected for arguing a non-balk call in the seventh with the bases loaded and one out.
It was a potential game-changing call — until back-to-back lightning strikes forced the umpires to pull the players off the field.
Tarboro plays host to the Carolina Thunder on Wednesday, plays at Wilson on Friday and is at Fuquay-Varina for a Saturday doubleheader.
Tarboro heads into the week with an 8-3 record.