Mercedes' Big Day Closes Home Season
Melvin Mercedes left the Lancaster Barnstormers fans with a memorable afternoon.
The Lancaster second baseman went 4-for-4 with a decisive home run and a sparking catch to lead the Barnstormers to a 5-3 victory over the York Revolution Sunday in the home finale to the 2019 season on Sunday at Clipper Magazine Stadium.
With the victory, the Barnstormers' quest to retain the Community Cup stayed alive with York leading, 9-7. The two clubs meet again in York for a three-game series to end the regular season.
York grabbed an early 3-0 lead off Lancaster starter Nate Reed. League home run king Telvin Nash slammed a two-out solo homer in the first inning, his 39th blast of the season. James Skelton followed singles by Carlos Franco and Ryan Dent with a two-run double, staking Dan Minor to a 3-0 lead.
The Revolution appeared to be headed to another run scoring inning in the third. With one out and a runner at first base, Isaias Tejeda lifted a fly ball to shallow center. Mercedes raced back, made an over-the-shoulder catch on the dead run, spun and doubled Emmanuel Marrero off first base to end the inning.
Lancaster bounced back with one run in the bottom of the inning as K.C. Hobson lined a single to right and scored on Mercedes' one-out double over Melky Mesa's head in left. Hobson blasted a two-run homer in the fifth to tie the game at 3-3.
In the seventh, the Barnstormers were put in jeopardy when Ryan Dent led off with a double, Zach Sullivan was hit by a pitch and Skelton walked to load the bases. Pedro Echemendia (3-0) took over with nobody out and the infielders playing at the edge of the grass. Justin Trapp ripped a line drive toward the shortstop hole which was flagged by Michael Martinez on a diving backhanded catch. Marrero fouled out to Hobson for the second out, and Echemendia won a 3-2 battle with Nash, striking him out to end the threat.
Rob Carson (5-1) retired the first two batters in the home seventh. Caleb Gindl kept the inning alive with a two-strike single up the middle. Mercedes also fell behind in the count before hitting his second homer of the season, his fourth hit of the afternoon, on a fly ball that bounced off the metal decking above the home run fence down the left field line.
Echemendia survived a throwing error in the top of the eighth. Scott Shuman was summoned for the ninth and struck out two, following a leadoff pinch single by Henry Castillo. However, on a 1-1 pitch to Trapp, he dealt a high, awkward pitch and was forced to leave the game. Matt Marksberry came in and walked both Trapp and Marrero, setting up another battle with Nash. Marksberry jammed the slugger with a 1-1 pitch, getting a slow roller to short, which Martinez converted into the final out of the afternoon.
The Barnstormers open a four-game series with Southern Maryland on Monday evening. Connor Overton (2-4) will take the mound against fellow right-hander Dusten Knight. Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 6:15.
NOTES: Hobson needs two more homers to become the first Barnstormer to reach 20 in three different seasons...Reed threw the club's 52nd quality start...Martinez has hit safely in six straight...The season attendance at Clipper Magazine Stadium finished over 285,000, the most since 2014.
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Atlantic League Stories from September 15, 2019
- Matusz Masterful But Blue Crabs Rally Late in Series Finale - Long Island Ducks
- Mercedes' Big Day Closes Home Season - Lancaster Barnstormers
- Crabs Walk-Off Ducks, Keep Playoff Hopes Alive - Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
- Paredes Overpowers Rockers in 6-3 Win - Somerset Patriots
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