Coming off a successful 2017 campaign that saw the Sharks head all the way to the Petitt Cup Finals, Wilmington was looking to make it to the postseason for the fourth summer in a row, while continuing to make strides to solidify themselves as the premier entertainment option for Wilmington families.
The Sharks played in front of twice as many sold out crowds in 2018 as they did the year before.
It was a hot start to the summer for the Sharks. Wilmington started 5-3 and was only looking up at the one loss Morehead City Marlins in the East Division. In the first week of the season, Wilmington beat everyone in the division at least once, including the Marlins on Opening Night. However, the First Half of the season did not go as well as the first week. Wilmington lost 15 of its next 17 games to end the first half 7-18 and in last place in the First Half.
Just after the midway point of the season, Wilmington had two players selected to the All-Star Game in Lexington County. Wichita State freshman Paxton Wallace and College of Charleston catcher Danny Wondrack represented the Sharks at the Mid-Summer Classic.
In the Second Half, the Sharks started red-hot seemingly putting the first half slump to rest. Wilmington won the first four games of half number two with a starting pitcher that went at least seven innings in all four wins. At the beginning of the Second Half, the Sharks starting pitchers went more than 25 innings without allowing an earned run.
As the second part of the season continued the Sharks stayed around the 0.500 mark and in contention for that second playoff spot in the East Division. However, late in the season the Sharks slipped again and dropped six in a row, essentially knocking Wilmington out of playoff contention.
Despite, missing the playoffs the Sharks accomplished a great deal in 2018. At the plate, Wilmington hit two grand slams, one by Dan Wilson of UNC-Asheville and one by Trent Alley of Furman University. In the final home game of the season, Ward Coleman of Davidson College played all nine positions in the field. On the hill, the Sharks pitching staff went 25-plus innings to begin the second half without allowing an earned run.
Danny Wondrack led the Sharks with 5 homers and Ward Coleman led the Sharks with 20 RBI on the summer. Ben Anderson led Wilmington hitting 0.310 and stealing 14 bases. On the mound, Sam Luchansky from Belmont Abbey College led the Sharks with 4 wins. Eddie Hiott from Charleston Southern made 20 appearances for Wilmington and he also lead the team with 43 strikeouts. Keith Gabrielson from Princeton University led the Sharks with 5 saves. Keith finished tied for fourth in the CPL in Saves. Eddie Hiott and Sam Luchansky both finished top 10 in appearances and wins respectively.
Overall, the Sharks finished 17-34 on the season. At home, Wilmington was 9-17 and 8-17 away from the Shark Tank.
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 22nd season in 2018, the CPL features 16 teams playing in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The CPL has had over 1,450 alumni drafted and 109 of those - including 2017 ALCS MVP, 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander as well as 2017 NLCS MVP Chris Taylor – 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 Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat @CPLBaseball