Barnstormers Split After Venue Change
With the persistent rains in Lancaster and an already waterlogged field at Clipper Magazine Stadium, the Lancaster Barnstormers came up with an alternate plan.
Monday's doubleheader against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs was switched to Cooper Park at Millersville University, which has an artificial turf infield. Teams grabbed their gear, piled on buses and in automobiles and made a 15-20 minute drive to the west, all in the name of filling out the Atlantic League schedule following Sunday's rainout.
By the end of the day, the Barnstormers and Blue Crabs each enjoyed a win. Southern Maryland banged out 12 hits in the opener for a 7-2 victory while the Barnstormers took a 9-8 victory in the nightcap in a game shortened by darkness and continuing rain showers.
With the split, the Barnstormers dropped their magic number for clinching a wild card spot to two. Lancaster will also need a combination of two Sugar Land wins and York losses to reach the playoffs for the first time in three years.
The middle of the order produced the bulk of the offense for Southern Maryland in the opener. With Lancaster leading, 1-0, entering the fourth, Jon Griffin picked up a one-out walk from Brooks Hall (11-4). Frank Martinez drilled a single into right, and Angelys Nina dropped a double down the right field line to tie the game. Cory Vaughn singled home a pair for a 3-1 Blue Crabs lead.
That same group extended the lead to 5-1 in the fifth inning. With two outs, Griffin walked for the third straight plate appearance and took second on a single to left by Frank Martinez. Angelys Nina beat out an infield single up the third base line. Vaughn lifted a fly ball to shallow center. Darian Sandford raced in and the ball ticked off his glove as two runs scored.
Lancaster countered on a Blake Gailen sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth, but the Blue Crabs put the game away with two in the seventh. Martinez singled home one, and a second crossed on a wild pitch.
Craig Stem (7-8) threw five innings, allowing just three singles and two runs to earn the win.
The Barnstormers snuck out of the second game with the win, scoring twice in the bottom of the fifth inning before the game was halted. Carlos Garcia walked and raced to third on a wild pickoff throw by Drake Britton (0-1). Anderson De La Rosa singled past the drawn-in shortstop to tie the game. Rico Noel was hit by a pitch, and the runners moved up on a wild pitch. Stephen Perez drove in the run down with a smash down the third base line. Play was halted at the end of the inning.
In the nightcap, Southern Maryland struck for two runs in the top of the first on four singles, including a two-run base hit through the right side by Martinez off Ty'Relle Harris. Lancaster answered in the bottom of the inning off Zac Westcott. A ground out by Blake Gailen drove in one, and Trayvon Robinson tied the game with a single up the middle. Two batters later, K.C. Hobson put the Barnstormers ahead with the only homer of the afternoon, a two-run blast to left center.
Josh Bell singled home a run in the second to stretch the lead to 5-2, but, once again, Southern Maryland fought back with two in the third, keyed by a Devon Rodriguez double to right center. Darian Sandford picked up an RBI single for a 6-4 edge.
The Blue Crabs threatened in the fourth, loading the bases with nobody out, but Matt Marksberry was able to extricate the team from the peril with the assistance of catcher Anderson De La Rosa, who picked Cory Vaughn off first base. The lefty struck out Francisco Rosario for the second out and got Rodriguez to roll out to second ending the inning.
Southern Maryland scored four unearned runs against Daniel Carela (1-0) in the top of the fifth to grab the lead. Kalaika Kahoohalahala picked up one run with an infield grounder, and Jose Gonzalez cut the lead to 7-6 when his pop fly dropped into shallow right. Vaughn picked up the tying and lead runs with a double to the gap in left center.
Lancaster plays its fourth doubleheader in seven days and sixth in two weeks on Tuesday evening at New Britain Stadium. Lancaster will send right-hander Joe Gardner (5-10) and lefty John Anderson (5-3) to the mound. Southpaw Tommy Thorpe (1-0) will work the opener for the Bees, who have not announced the second game starter.
NOTES: Bortnick extended his on base streak to 23 with a walk and an HBP in the opener...Hobson's homer was his 56th as a Barnstormer...Lancaster stole seven bases in the doubleheader, giving the club 244 on the season, 20 shy of the league record with six games to play...Sandford has 77, and Noel has 49...
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Atlantic League Stories from September 10, 2018
- Barnstormers Split After Venue Change - Lancaster Barnstormers
- Blue Crabs-Barnstormers Even in Finale Doubleheader - Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
- Somerset Patriots Acquire Infielder Jose Sermo - Somerset Patriots
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