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Aviators keep playoff hopes alive with doubleheader sweep of Dillas

August 19, 2004 - Central Baseball League (Central League) - Coastal Bend Aviators News Release

ROBSTOWN, TX – The Coastal Bend Aviators kept the Amarillo Dillas from popping the champagne corks and stayed mathematically alive in the race for the second West Division playoff spot, taking both ends of a doubleheader Wednesday at Fairgrounds Field in Robstown, Texas. The Aviators won the opener in dramatic fashion, scoring three in the 6th and one in the 7th to beat Amarillo 4-3, then scored early and often to top the Dillas in the nightcap 6-2.

In game one, Amarillo jumped on Coastal Bend starting pitcher Mark Persails for a pair of 1st inning runs…then in the 4th Benny Craig socked his Central Baseball League-leading 19th home run to give the Dillas a 3-0 lead. Amarillo starter Keith Ferguson held the Aviators in check until the 6th – with the bases loaded and nobody out, Marcus Knight came home from third on a double play grounder off the bat of Trey Salinas…Cris Colon scored on a two-out base hit by Mike Guerrero…then following a walk to Andrew Kasperek, Edwin Maldonado’s bloop single plated Guerrero to pull Coastal Bend even. In the 7th the Aviators scored the game-winner – Eric Battersby’s two-out single knocked in Colon to give Coastal Bend the 4-3 victory. Dan Henderson (2-2 with the Aviators, 5-3 overall), who tossed three innings of scoreless relief, got the victory…Amarillo’s Cameron Flading (2-1) took the loss.

Battersby got the Aviators offense kick-started in the nightcap, bombing a two-run homer over the left field wall in the bottom of the 1st inning…then in the 4th Kasperek delivered a triple down the right field line to plate Salinas and Guerrero to give Coastal Bend a 4-0 lead. The Dillas cut the lead in half in the top of the 5th as Asdrubal Oropeza launched a two-run homer to left off Aviators starter Jorge Huerta, but Coastal Bend got both runs back in their half of the 5th – with runners at the corners, Colon singled home Greg Strickland…then with the bases loaded and two outs, Knight scored from third on a Steve Singleton wild pitch, putting the Aviators up 6-2. The Coastal Bend bullpen took it from there, as Henderson and Josh Stout shut down the Dillas over the final two innings to lock down the game two victory. Huerta (2-0) got credit for the win, with Amarillo starter John Tevey (4-3) taking the loss.

Wednesday’s wins improved the Aviators second half record to 18-27 (42-51 overall), while the Dillas dropped to 21-24 in the second half and 34-57 on the season. Amarillo stills needs just one win in the final three games with Coastal Bend to clinch the second West Division playoff berth, but the Aviators will try to keep their slim post-season hopes alive Thursday by sending righthander Jose Luis Lopez (9-5) to the mound in game three of the series…the Dillas are expected to counter with lefty Jason Stockstill (9-9).

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