Sharks Reflect on Successful 2016 Season
The 2016 Wilmington Sharks continued their streak of success in the Coastal Plain League, making the playoffs for the fourth time in the five years. This season was exceptional however, as the Sharks chased pennants and league records. It may not have the storybook ending, but there was a lot to be remembered from 2016.
The Sharks started a little slow, losing six of their first nine games. However as college teams finished up their post seasons, new players arrived and the Sharks went on an incredible hot streak. They would win seven in a row, moving their record well above .500, and set a precedence for the season. Win streaks were the name of the game for the 2016 Sharks, as won three or more games in a row five times. The Sharks had their chances, but were unable to secure the first half title as the Peninsula Pilots topped them by three games.
By the time the All-Star break rolled around, the Sharks were quite literally in mid season form. Six Sharks were named to the CPL all star team, with Mike Castellani (Bucknell) named the East team’s starting pitcher. Alec Bohm (Wichita State) and Cletis Avery (Presbyterian) also started while Mark Donadio (Fordham), Connor Riley (USC Aiken), and Ryan Kelly (St. Joseph’s) were substitutions. Prior to the game, Bohm participated in the CPL home run derby. Saying that Bohm won the derby wouldn’t be doing his performance justice. Bohm was the clear favorite throughout, as he was the leader through all three rounds on his way to the title.
Coming out of the all star break, a couple Sharks had their sights set on the CPL record book. Connor Riley continued his dominance of batters, even striking out 16 batters in a game against Wilson. With his school inning limit forcing him to cut his summer short, he made his final start on the mound with 89 strikeouts. Riley would pitch the complete game, and with the final out of the game, notch his 100th strikeout of the year. Alec Bohm finished the year as the CPL’s leader in RBI’s and was tied for the most ever in a single season with 51.
After securing a two seed in the CPL East playoff, the Sharks looked forward to hosting the CPL playoff first round. Prior to that though, they would set another record. In the season finale, 3309 fans watched the regular season finale, the largest crowd ever to watch a home Sharks’ game. With a pregame concert, $1 beers, and postgame fireworks, it’s no wonder so many people came out for this game.
In the Petitt Cup Playoffs, they would host the Wilson Tobs, the East’s three seed. Unfortunately, the game didn’t go as the Sharks had planed. The Tobs offense came prepared and scored 14 runs to down the Sharks and end the season. However, nothing in the game can take away from what was a historic season for the Wilmington Sharks. League records, historic attendance figures, and a great team gave the fans a summer they won’t soon forget.
About The Wilmington Sharks
Set in the picturesque Cape Fear region of North Carolina, the Wilmington Sharks are one of the charter members of the Coastal Plain League. Providing affordable family entertainment in a minor league atmosphere, the Sharks have been consistently in the top 25 in attendance in all of summer-collegiate baseball.
About The Coastal Plain League
The Coastal Plain League is the nation’s premier summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 20th season in 2016, the CPL features 16 teams playing in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The CPL has had nearly 1,300 alumni drafted and 87 of those – including 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander – make their Major League debut; while another notable alum – Russell Wilson – won Super Bowl XLVIII. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at www.coastalplain.com and follow us via Twitter @CPLBaseball.
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