Mercedes, Overton Pace Barnstormers
Melvin Mercedes has become a one-person York killer.
The Lancaster infielder went 4-for-4 against the Revs for the second time in a week, leading the Lancaster Barnstormers to an 8-2 victory Saturday evening at People's Bank Park.
Mercedes collected three singles, a double, a walk and a stolen base for the evening and scored three runs. He is now 10-for-12 in his last three games off York pitching.
His efforts provided the offensive thrust behind a superb pitching performance by Connor Overton (3-5). The right-hander allowed a run in the first inning on a two-out double by Carlos Franco before settling in and retiring 17 consecutive York batters, including nine via strikeouts.
The Barnstormers matched the first inning York run with one of their own in the second. Josh Bell ripped a one-out single into right and went to third on a double to left center by K.C. Hobson off Duke von Schamann (10-7). Devon Torrence tried to squeeze Bell home, but Franco was able to shovel the ball out of his glove to James Skelton for the out at the plate. With Darian Sandford batting, Torrence stole second. Skelton threw through to the bag, and Hobson snuck home behind the play.
Mercedes reached on a one-out single to center in the fifth and eventually scored the tiebreaking run on a double to the right field corner by Anderson De La Rosa. It was also Mercedes scoring in the seventh. He singled, stole second and raced all the way home on an infield single by Greg Golson.
Overton's string of success ran out in the bottom of the seventh when Franco lined a single to left center with one out. Melky Mesa walked on four pitches, and manager Ross Peeples went to Dylan Rheault out of his pen. The 6'9" right-hander allowed one inherited run to score on a ground out and wild pitch before getting Skelton on a grounder to first to end the inning.
Lancaster broke the game open in the ninth. Mercedes rolled a single through the right side in front of Destin Hood's ninth homer of the season. De La Rosa walked, and took second on a single by Greg Golson. Both runners advanced on a Bell grounder to first. Hobson launched a fly ball to deep right, which was misplayed by Zach Sullivan at the wall as both runs scored. A wild pitch eventually scored Hobson with the fifth run of the inning.
Casey Crosby loaded the bases on a single and two walks before paralyzing Skelton with a roundhouse curveball to end the game.
The season finale is scheduled for 1:00 on Sunday. Lancaster will send lefty Jared Lakind (7-9) to the mound against right-hander Jake Welch (0-0). Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel at 12:45.
NOTES: Mercedes has raised his season average from .228 to .266 over the last week...His stolen base in the seventh was his first since his ankle injury on May 3...The Barnstormers stole a season-high five...Hood's homer was his first since August 28...Overton's quality start was the seventh by the Barnstormers rotation in the last eight games.
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