Whitaker Walkoff Wins Game One for Lancaster
The Lancaster Barnstormers rallied for a walkoff win in the first game of a Sunday doubleheader, but they could not repeat the magic in Game Two.
Josh Whitaker doubled home Caleb Gindl for the deciding run in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 5-4 Lancaster victory in the first game, but the New Britain Bees bullpen would not let it happen a second time, holding on to a 2-1 triumph for the visitors.
Lancaster’s early 2-0 lead was erased in the opener as Jon Jones keyed a two-run fifth with a double into the right field corner, and the Bees scored twice in the top of the sixth without the benefit of a base hit off Mark Lamm and Ryan Dennick.
The Barnstormers fought back. Two walks and a single loaded the bases, and Charlie Cutler reached Craig Stem for a single up the middle to drive home the tying runs. Jeff Kobernus walked to reload the bases, but Stem got both Travis Witherspoon and Michael Crouse to end the inning.
Whitaker gunned down Jovan Rosa at the plate on a Jonathan Roof single in the top of the seventh to keep the game tied. Gindl opened the bottom of the inning with an infield single as Roof made a wide throw to first after a good stab to his right. A wild pitch sent Gindl to second with one out, and the Bees opted to have Stem (0-1) walk Josh Bell to get to Whitaker. The Lancaster DH smoked a double to deep right center, plating Gindl with the winning run.
Mike Lee (1-1) was the beneficiary, picking up the Game One win.
It was New Britain that took the 2-0 lead in the nightcap. Steve Carrillo and Greg Golson rapped singles through the left side of the Lancaster infield with one out. Austin Biben-Dirkx got Rosa on a topper to third, but Jon Griffin found the same hole on the left side to drive in a pair for the lead.
Witherspoon, who had a homer in the first game, doubled off third baseman Norberto Susini’s glove with one out in the third and later scored on Gindl’s single to right.
Brian Dupra (1-0) got the Bees through 5 1/3, striking out eight, before Bees manager Stan Cliburn went to his bullpen. Shawn Gilblair walked Gindl and allowed a single to Mike McDade in the sixth before he and Grady Wood combined to escape the inning. Wood retired the side in order in the seventh for his first save.
Bibens-Dirkx (1-2) went the distance for Lancaster, yielding six singles and one walk. The right-hander struck out five in the effort. He retired 13 of the final 14 New Britain batters.
Newcomer Terry Doyle, who went 16-2 in the Baltimore system in 2015, will make the start on Tuesday against Southern Maryland. The game will be carried live on Blue Ridge Cable 11 as well as the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 7:00.
NOTES: All three games of the series were decided by one run…New Britain is 6-6 in one-run games on the year while the Barnstormers are 2-6…Bibens-Dirkx threw the second complete game by a Barnstormer this season and the seventh quality start…Gindl took the club RBI lead with 12…Dennick made his Atlantic League debut in the opener, working 2/3 of an inning…Lancaster is 0-5 in series finales.