The 2018 Coastal Plain League Petitt Cup Championship gets underway tonight, August 9, with Game One of the best-of-three series being hosted by the High Point-Thomasville Hitoms in Thomasville, N.C. They will face off against the Morehead City Marlins who will host Game Two and if necessary Game Three in Morehead CIty, N.C. on August 10-11.
It is a true battle of pitching vs. offense as the HiToms enter the game with the second best offense in terms of batting average (.272) and runs scored (311) in the entire league, falling just behind the team they beat in the SouthWEst Region Final, the Savannah Bananas. Where the HiToms dominated was Home Runs, leading the league with 56 total on the year - highlighted by Myles Christian (Middle Tennessee) breaking the All-Time CPL Single Season Home Run Record with 19 total on the regular season, passing the previous mark set by Jason Debois in 1998.
Meanwhile on the other side will be the Marlins and their dominant pitching staff who leads the league with a 2.46 team ERA, the next closest team being the Bananas coming in at 3.06. They finished the regular season leading the league in hits allowed (315), runs allowed (143) and sit third in home runs allowed (30), which may be an important stat given the HiToms prowess in this area. Leading the staff is All-Star Zach Keenan who held a miniscul 0.92 ERA during the season while striking out 48 batters in 48 1/3 innings pitched, Keenan was the starter in the teams opening round 16-inning marathon win over the Fayetteville SwampDogs.
Game One of the series will start at 7:00 p.m. at Historic Finch Field in Thomasville, N.C. before shifting to Big Rock Stadium in Morehead City, N.C. The Marlins hold the better regular season winning percentage and thus are the higher seed in this matchup earning them the right to host Game Two and a pivotal winner-take-all Game Three should the series need it.
About Coastal Plain League:
The Coastal Plain League is the nation's premier summer collegiate baseball league. Heading into its 22nd season in 2018, 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 116 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.