Right hander Zack Littell pumped a fastball into the strike zone for the first pitch of the Mariners’ season against the Catawba Valley Stars. Following an early inning hiccup, the Mariners took control of the game with both hands en route to a 10-3 victory
Littell appeared shaky in the opening frame. The Catawba Valley Stars jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on the strength of a single by DH Bryson Ward that scored Dom Williams. Williams reached third on an error by centerfielder Chase Nyman.
Mistakes followed the Mariners into the bottom half of the first. Gianfranco Wawoe singled on a blooper that fell between the left fielder, third baseman, and the left field line. Following the single, Wawoe reached scoring position with a stolen base. Estarlin Morales ripped a liner back through the middle which should have scored Wawoe. Instead, Wawoe hesitated on the base paths and was forced to settle for third base. Later in the inning Wawoe was thrown out at home in his attempt to score on a wild pitch, and the Stars escaped an early jam without yielding a run.
The pendulum of luck swung back in Pulaski’s favor in the bottom of the 2nd. The Mariners would take their first lead of the game after a two-run inning. Two errors by Catawba Valley — one on the infield and the other on a throw home — directly led to both runs.Pulaski hung yet another crooked number on the scoreboard in the third inning. Estarlin Morales led off the inning with a bomb to right center field. Two Mariners-Alexy Palma and Torres-came home on a single by Jay Baum followed by a fielding error centerfielder Dom Williams
Mariners’ pitchers settled into a groove over the next three innings. The trio of Littell, Ryan Yarbrough, and Ugueth Urbina combined for three scoreless innings and retired nine straight batters on the strength of four strikeouts as the Stars managed only a whimper at the plate. In the middle innings the game settled into a flow as Mariners’ pitching got the better of the Catawba bats more often than not.
Pulaski tacked on two runs in the bottom half of the fifth inning to further increase their wide margin of victory. Daniel Thieben came in to pitch the final inning and a third and held the Stars in check for the first win of 2014 for Pulaski.
The regular season begins on Thursday for Pulaski as they open the Appalachian League season. Prior to the game the team will be presented with their championship rings and the official pennant.