Yard Gnomes Baseball

“Fitzwater Blasts Two Homers, Leads Pilots Past Yard Gnomes 14-6 As Greenville Sets Season High In Hits”

June 5, 2024  |  12:17 AM
Written by: Corey Hodges (Play-By-Play/Communications, X: @The_CoreyHodges)


It was a classic case of “twice as nice” for the Peninsula Pilots (6-3) on Tuesday night in their return trip to Greenville, NC to play the Yard Gnomes (1-10) for the second time this season as the team from Hampton, Virginia rode a big sixth inning on their way to a 14-6 win.

Early on, though, it was Greenville who looked to be in control as the Yard Gnomes led by a pair after two full innings on the strength of a two-run RBI double for Parks Bouck (Lipscomb University, 1-4) in the home first that plated Jack Herring (Rollins College, 2-4, walk) and Abdriel Delgado (Jacksonville, 2-5 with a double in his season debut).

RHP Brian Garmon (Georgia State) got the start on the mound for Greenville on Tuesday night and only gave up a single and a walk in the first two innings before Peninsula warmed up their bats in the third.

The inning started with a leadoff double (one of seven on the night for the Pilots) by Darnell Parker (Wichita State, 1-4) for Peninsula but that would be the start of an eventual three-run frame as Jorsixt Jimenez (Queens College, 3-6, three doubles, three RBI) doubled later to deliver Parker. Cam Pittman (Radford, 1-2, four walks) scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at two and then Chris Martinez lifted a pitch to right which counted for a sac-fly to bring Jimenez home.

Grayson Fitzwater (VMI) would ultimately prove to be the star of the evening for Peninsula as his third inning double was just the appetizer for what would eventually turn into a big meal of a game.

After the Suffolk, Virginia native notched a .294 mark with the Keydets this spring in Lexington behind an OPS of 1.079 (team-best 18 homeruns, 63 RBI), he was still looking for his first big flies of the season entering Tuesday’s game with Greenville.

Not only did the rising junior record his first homer of the 2024 Coastal Plain League season against the Yard Gnomes (a three-run blast to center), he also added a second of the same type in the ninth to finish with a sizzling 3-5 line which included a double and six RBI.

Fitzwater’s homer in the sixth followed an RBI double by Jimenez and a two-run RBI single off the bat of Chris Martinez (University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, 2-4, four RBI), a run of offense for the Pilots that had them leading 9-2 before Greenville found more offense in the home half of the same inning.

Aden Howard (Dallas Baptist University, 1-5 with a double), in his first start of the season with Greenville, grabbed two bags in the sixth and later scored in the same inning.

Joe Siervo (Western Kentucky, 1-3, RBI) homered to center in the sixth (his team-best third of the season) and momentarily cut Peninsula’s advantage to 9-4.

The Pilots got both of those runs back in the seventh off of a Jorsixt Jimenez RBI double that plated Cam Pittman and a Chris Martinez sacrifice fly that brought Jimenez around.

Already leading big entering the ninth, the visitors from two hours north of Greenville closed with a bang as they rode the second blast from Fitzwater and allowed just two Yard Gnomes runs in the ninth to win it by eight.

Haiden Walters (Felician, 3-6) accounted for three of Peninsula’s 15 total base hits on the night, second most this season for the Pilots.

The 12 hits that Greenville collected were their most since a home opening winning effort against Tri-City on May 24th, a victory that remains the Yard Gnomes’ lone such result of 2024.

Lefty Dalton Barham (Norfolk State) took over for RHP Bradley Link in the first inning and went on to record the best pitching line of the night (3.1 IP, three hits, two walks, six strikeouts) for Peninsula. Barham was the team leader in punchouts for his MEAC Spartans this spring and earned his first win of the Coastal Plain League variety on Tuesday.

RHP Brian Garmon (Georgia State) started for Greenville in his first appearance of 2024 and took the loss (3.0 IP, three earned runs, two walks, one strikeout).

It will be Peninsula’s chance to finally play the Yard Gnomes in someplace other than Guy Smith Stadium on Wednesday night as the Pilots host Greenville. First pitch is slated for 7 PM at War Memorial Stadium in Hampton.

NOTES: Total game time was three hours and thirty one minutes.