|Edenton Steamers Baseball History|
Throughout the 1940s and 1950s the Edenton Colonials called Hicks Field home. The Colonials played in three different leagues: the Albemarle, the Virginia, and finally the D-class Coastal Plain League in 1952, folding after that season.
In 1997 Pete Bock visited Edenton and during lunch he overheard talk of an old baseball field that was in disrepair but had great potential. Bock, who was commissioner of the newly formed Coastal Plain League, was actively looking for places within the Carolinas and Virginia to place new franchises. From that lunch conversation, the idea for the Edenton Steamers was born.
In 1998 the Edenton franchise opened its inaugural season playing a 47-game schedule and finished 14-33, placing them sixth in the Coastal Plain League. The Steamers enjoyed its first winning record the second year of operation with a 27-23 mark in 1999.
The 2000 and 2001 summers were not as successful, dropping back to 20-24 and 21-29, respectively.
The 2002 campaign started more promisingly with the Steamers winning its first North Division as champion for the first half of the season. But the second half was plagued by injuries and the Steamers struggled in the latter stages, ending 9-15 and a 24-25 record for the season. The Edenton closer that summer, Ryan Sadowski, would later go on to pitch in the Major Leagues with the San Francisco Giants in 2009 as the second Steamer alumnus to reach The Show.
2003 was a frustrating year for Steamer fans as they produced the worst win-loss record ever in Edenton history at 12-34, placing last in both halves of the season in the North Division.
The tide turned in 2004 with manager Joel Tremblay at the helm. A preview of what was in store came in the form of a 13-game winning streak to start the season, a feat that still stands as a league standard. The Steamers garnered both the first and second-half divisional titles en route to a 32-11-1 ledger and a then-record .739 winning average; it now ranks fifth all-time for a single season. In a "worst to first" turnaround, the Steamers also won the Petitt Cup Championship for the first time in franchise history, defeating archrival Outer Banks 13-2 in the title game. Edenton also boasted the individual ERA leader that summer in Daniel Gemma at 1.05.
With a first league championship under its belt, the momentum continued in 2005 with the return of manager Joel Tremblay. Edenton won the North Division first and second halves again and finished with a record of 34-19 for the season, the most wins ever in the CPL for a single season at the time. Edenton secured the top seed in the Petitt Cup tournament and defended its title, beating Florence in the championship game by a score of 9-2 under the direction of promoted assistant coach David Scoggin, who assumed manager duties midseason following a collegiate promotion for Tremblay. Mid-summer signee and second-half closer Joe Smith would go on to become a third-round draft selection of the New York Mets in 2006. He was the first former Steamer to appear in the Majors when he debuted for the Mets the following spring in 2007. Smith is currently part of the Cleveland Indians bullpen.
The Steamers strived to make the 2006 season a Coastal Plain League benchmark with a third consecutive championship. David Scoggin returned to lead the team to a fifth straight divisional title winning the first half of the season in the North. The five consecutive half titles represented a league record until 2013. Edenton battled Peninsula in the second half for a sixth in a row but finished a game behind the Pilots. With a 34-20 tally going into the league playoffs, Edenton's run at history came to an end and the team was ousted in the first round of the tournament. This staff produced two more Major League relief pitchers when closer Greg Holland appeared in 2010 for the Kansas City Royals and rotation ace Evan Scribner debuted with the San Diego Padres in 2011. They were the third and fourth former Steamers, respectively, to reach the Show and Holland became the first Edenton alum to appear in a Major League All-Star game in 2013.
Edenton hired a new manager for the 2007 season named Marty Smith. With his guidance Edenton repeated its first and second-half divisional titles. Edenton recorded the best half-season record to date in franchise history (23-5 in the second half) and won the North by six games over Peninsula, finishing with a record of 39-16. Unfortunately, Edenton was dismissed again in the first round, this time by the Martinsville Mustangs. The win total stood as the most in club history until 2011. The passing of Edenton's organizational heart and soul, Gayle Gieseke, in the preceding fall inspired the creation of the Gieseke Gold Award and its inaugural winner was Brian Conley (pictured left). Conley became the first Steamer to win a CPL batting title (.372). Edenton also featured the league leaders in on-base average (Conley, .472), stolen bases (Kevin Mattison, 30), and ERA (J.P. Primus, 1.22). Conley (Orioles) and Mattison (Marlins) went on to become professional minor league ballplayers. Pitcher Bobby Lanigan became the highest-drafted Steamer player ever when the Minnesota Twins selected him 92nd overall (third round) in 2008.
2008 saw the Steamers register another first-half North Division championship with Jason Krug as manager. The season-ending 35-20 record earned Edenton the second seed in the postseason Petitt Cup tournament. Following two consecutive first-round eliminations, Edenton advanced to the final four before bowing out in the semifinals. A Steamer hitter took home the league batting crown for the second summer in a row when Brett Nommensen fashioned a franchise-record .377 figure; he also paced the circuit with a .462 on-base average. Closer Luke Demko led the CPL in appearances (27) and saves (15, a Steamer record) and was rewarded with the Gieseke Gold Award for that summer. Nommensen (pictured right) later played in the Tampa Bay Rays minor league system.
Edenton welcomed back Marty Smith as manager in 2009 following some of his record-setting success in 2007 but he encountered decidedly more adversity during his second tour. For the first time since 2003 the Steamers failed to win either division half-title or eclipse 30 wins. The 29-27 regular season slate did maintain the run of successive winning seasons and saw the Teal and Black enter the postseason as the seventh of eight seeds, only to lose in the first round once more for the third time in four years. A surprising number of player casualties to professional baseball, four in the June draft and one more as a free agent at the CPL All-Star game, provided the backdrop for a great effort of overachievement. Starting pitcher Todd Roth took home Gieseke Gold honors; Jake Magner slugged .540 with 12 home runs to establish franchise records in both categories; and Keith Couch (now in the Red Sox system) issued only four bases on balls in 67.2 innings pitched.
The 2010 Coastal Plain League campaign was a return to prestige of sorts in Edenton. Captaining the ship was Josh Scott, who had served as pitching coach in 2007 on Marty Smith's first staff. For the second straight summer however, Edenton did not bring home a North Division half-championship, though just barely. With identical 18-10 first-half marks, the Wilson Tobs defeated the Steamers in the tiebreaker contest. A 32-24 final ledger put Edenton in the sixth seed for the postseason and began a seemingly improbable run that ended in Forest City, taking the top-seeded Owls to a decisive game three at their stadium to decide the Petitt Cup champion. The magic ended there and the Steamers finished with great pride as league runner-up and an ongoing CPL-record seven winning seasons in a row.
2010 marked the first time in club history that a Steamer won either of the major individual postseason awards when relief pitcher Coty Saranthus (pictured left) was named Rawlings Defensive Player of the Year, which is the de facto CPL Pitcher of the Year honor. Saranthus led the league, and set or tied Edenton franchise records in the first four categories: in ERA (0.68), WHIP (0.51), batting average against (.107), wins (7), and appearances (30). For the third time in four years, the CPL batting title went to a Steamer hitter when shortstop A.J. Rusbarsky ended the regular season at .345; he also led the league in hits (69), sacrifice bunts (19) and assists (180); the latter two are also both franchise records in Edenton. He capped this remarkable performance by winning the first Goodman Glove Award for defensive excellence in a Steamers uniform. It is named in honor of the late Livy Goodman, a leader for many years on the Steamers ownership board who also organized the Clambake events, an annual mid-winter fundraiser for the team. Gieseke Gold Award winner Brian Billigen led the league and set a Steamer record with five triples. His status as the top five-tool talent (bat, power, speed, defense, arm) in franchise history was on display daily and later illuminated when he was named a 2010 CPL Top Ten Prospect by both Baseball America and Perfect Game CrossChecker. Brian Blasik scored the most runs in the CPL (39) helped by his then club record 15 doubles, while Mark Montgomery set the all-time league best for strikeout ratio by a reliever (1.93 K/IP) when he fanned 54 in 28 innings.
With head coach Dirk Kinney in command, the 2011 Steamers concluded their most successful regular season in our history. This summer saw the Steamers break 13 franchise records, including setting six different Coastal Plain League marks, send six representatives to the All-Star festivities, clinch both first and second-half North Division titles, earn the top seed in the Petitt Cup Playoffs and hold the ranking of #1 summer collegiate team in the nation for five straight weeks according to Perfect Game CrossChecker. The Steamers set new franchise standards for wins, with 44, and a .800 winning percentage for the regular season. They slugged .399 and had an OPS of .787 to go along with 12 triples as a team. They set team marks in total bases with 756, stolen bases at 131, and held opposing hitters to their lowest batting average against ever at .210. To go along with the eight new franchise team records, the Steamers established six CPL marks during 2011. Those included consecutive winning seasons and playoff appearances, with their eighth in a row, and wins in a half with a 25-3 mark in the second half of the CPL season. They also set a new CPL record for on-base percentage as a team at .388, runs scored with 370, RBI at 322, and bases on balls with 280. The Steamers finished the 2011 campaign ranked seventh in the nation according to Perfect Game CrossChecker.
On the individual level, Joey Wendle (pictured left) had one of the most impressive seasons in franchise history. He set a new record for hits in a single season in the CPL with 81, along with establishing a franchise best for assists by a second baseman with 158 and he tied the franchise mark for batting average in a season at .377. The lefty hitter also had a 21-game hitting streak and a 36-game on-base streak, as well as being named to the 2011 CPL National All-Star team. Wendle was the 2011 recipient of the Gieseke Gold Award and concluded his summer honors by being named a Perfect Game CrossChecker Summer All-American at second base. Ryan Brenner set the franchise mark for stolen bases in a season, with 35, and putouts by an outfielder with 124. Brenner was awarded the second annual Goodman Glove Award. Coach Kinney capped his season off by being named the 2011 CPL Coach of the Year after leading his Steamers to a 49-14 overall mark and making a run to the Petitt Cup Championship series.
The Edenton Steamers celebrated their 15th year as members of the Coastal Plain League with another outstanding season. Piggybacking on the success from the previous summer, Steve Moritz, who served as hitting coach in 2011 under Dirk Kinney, was hired on to lead the charge in 2012. On the way to finishing as the top seed for the CPL Petitt Cup Playoffs with a 36-17 record, the Steamers tied or broke 10 franchise marks, received the CPL Rawlings Hitter of the Week selection three times, sent a league-high six players to the All-Star festivities and clinched both first and second-half East Division titles. By clinching the two half-division titles in 2012, Edenton had then won four half-division titles in a row dating back to 2011 and had 13 in franchise history. Edenton also spent the entire summer ranked in the top 30 in the nation of summer collegiate teams according to Perfect Game CrossChecker and four straight weeks in the top ten.
The Steamers set new team standards in home runs with 44, slugging average at .423, OPS at .791; their 100 doubles tied the franchise mark from 2010 and they increased their CPL-leading streak to nine straight years with a winning record and a playoff appearance. Edenton also wrapped up as the league leader in several categories, including batting average (.280), runs (302), RBIs (266), and home runs (44).
Individually, Michael Camporeale (pictured left) led the offensive charge setting new team marks in slugging (.623) and doubles (19). He finished as the league leader in doubles, RBIs (42), total bases (101) and tied for the lead in home runs with nine en route to winning Coastal Plain League Hitter of the Year. He was an All-Star selection, as well as a CPL Rawlings Hitter of the Week for Edenton. Koby Kraemer set a new franchise OPS mark (1.050) while finishing second in the league with a .371 batting average and receiving All-Star recognition. Madison Beaird became the franchise record-holder for assists by an outfielder, throwing out 11 men on the base paths and was the 2012 recipient of the Goodman Glove Award. Jordan Egan, a returner from the 2011 squad, tied the single-season team record for saves with 15 and became just the second two-time All-Star in Steamer history when he was selected that season. Egan was honored as the 2012 Gieseke Gold Award winner. Jason Kanzler ended his summer ranked in the top five in the league in runs (38), triples (4), home runs (8), total bases (95) and stolen bases (21). He was a CPL Rawlings Hitter of the Week and an All-Star. Wes Meadows logged substantial time behind the plate, as well as in the infield for the Steamers down the stretch and earned CPL Rawlings Hitter of the Week honors, as well as the inaugural Katy Ebersole Heart and Soul Award, given to the Steamer player who best exemplifies the “heart and soul” of the team. Head coach Steve Moritz (pictured right) made it two in a row for Edenton skippers when he garnered CPL Coach of the Year honors.
In 2013 Edenton wrapped up another successful campaign on the diamond. Their 16th season in the CPL saw the Steamers complete their 10th consecutive season with a winning record and a playoff appearance, a league record. Along the way Edenton finished 40-11 overall, clinched both first and second-half East Division titles and entered the Petitt Cup Playoffs as the top overall seed for the third consecutive year. The two half-division titles gave Edenton six straight, also a league mark, and 15 in franchise history. Four Clams were selected as the Rawlings Player of the Week and a league-high eight Steamers received All-Star nods. Edenton also spent the entire summer in the top five of the summer collegiate rankings by Perfect Game Crosschecker, peaking at number three overall and finishing up the summer ranked sixth in the nation, the highest final designation in franchise history.
The record books continued to be rewritten by the Teal and Black in 2013, as the Steamers tied or broke 14 franchise records, both on the individual level as well as the team level. Along with its 10th straight winning season, playoff appearance and six straight half-division titles, Edenton set a new league mark, finishing with a .975 fielding average and tied its team WHIP mark at 1.10. The Clams as a team finished in the top five in the league in batting average (.261), slugging average (.399), OBP (.357), runs (286), hits (431), RBIs (258), doubles (81), triples (nine), home runs (43), total bases (659), walks (207) and sacrifice flies (16).
On the individual level, the Steamers' Nick Miller (pictured left) earned an All-Star nod and was a CPL Rawlings Pitcher of the Week selection, as well as setting new team standards for ERA by a starting pitcher at 1.02 and fielding average for a first baseman at a perfect 1.000. Miller was awarded the Gieseke Gold Award at season's end as the most outstanding player and person in 2013. Third baseman Josh Hampton led the league in RBIs (42), tied for first with four triples, second in home runs (nine) and set a new Steamer record with 123 assists at third base. Hampton was the CPL Rawlings Hitter of the Week for week one of the season and brought home an All-Star selection, as well as being honored with the Goodman Glove Award, given to the most outstanding Steamer defender throughout the season. Nick Thompson paced the league in runs (42) and his 41 free passes set a new Steamer season mark. Thompson led the league in slugging (.594), second in OBP (.471) and along with the walks, set a new franchise record with a 1.065 OPS, which also led the CPL. The infielder/outfielder earned an All-star selection and the Ebersole Heart and Soul Award at summer's end, given to the person who most exhibits the "heart and soul" of the club throughout the summer. Trent Miller led the club and finished second in the league with a .347 batting average; his .540 slugging average and seven home runs were good for fifth in the CPL and he was selected to the All-Star squad, as well as earning a CPL Rawlings Hitter of the Week award. Adam Kirsch led the league and set a new Steamer standard with 22 doubles, was selected as an All-Star and was the winner of the CPL All-Star Hitting Challenge, the first Steamer ever to do so. Jake McCoy, the hard-throwing closer tied the Steamers franchise record with seven wins and led all closers with 11 saves during the summer. His work on the mound netted him a 2013 All-Star selection. Jacob Reese excelled defensively for the Teal and Black, tying the franchise mark for fielding average at the position at .995 and earning an All-Star nod. Right-handed pitcher Jeremy Bales proved to be one of the most reliable Steamer relief pitchers. He logged 19.1 innings on the mound and allowed just one earned run, good for a 0.47 ERA, tying a Steamer mark. Steamers Head Coach Bryan Hill (pictured right) became the third Steamer skipper in a row, and fourth overall, to bring home the CPL Coach of the Year award at season's end.