The Lancaster Barnstormers fulfilled their mission as spoilers.
Lancaster bolted out to a 7-1 lead in the first four innings of Sunday’s doubleheader opener and held on for a 7-5 victory, knocking York out of the first half race in the Freedom Division.
The Revs rallied for a 7-1 victory in the nightcap.
With the Barnstormers’ win in the first game, Sugar Land was able to wrap up the first half crown at 35-35, despite an extra inning loss at New Britain.
Lancaster jumped on Ian Thomas (3-1) for six runs and nine hits in three-plus innings to start the day. Caleb Gindl was able to push home Darian Sandford with a force play grounder in the first inning, after Sandford had doubled and gone to third on a Dan Gamache single. Gindl then scored when Joe Terdoslavich banged a single into left, and the ball skipped by Welington Dotel for a two-base error.
Gindl slugged a two-run homer in the bottom of the third. Destin Hood tacked on an RBI single for a 5-1 lead, and Gamache made it 7-1 with a two-run line drive onto the right field deck in the fourth.
York, which had won 18 of its previous 21 games, got a run back off starter John Anderson in the fifth on a triple to left center by Henry Castillo and a single to center by Isaias Tejeda. Carlos Franco also singled to load the bases, and Lancaster went to the bullpen. Logan Sawyer induced a 4-6-3 double play out of Dotel to end the inning.
However, Sawyer could not get an out in the sixth. A walk, two cheap singles and a hit batsman reduced the Lancaster lead to 7-3. Matt Marksberry took over with the bases loaded and got a double play out of Castillo and a fly ball out of Telvin Nash to end the threat with the ‘Stormers up by three.
Tejeda greeted Cody Eppley with a leadoff homer in the seventh. Franco reached on an error to bring the tying run to the plate, but Dotel grounded into a double play, the fourth turned by Lancaster in the game. Eppley got the final out on Ryan Dent to earn his 12th save of the year and 100th in the Atlantic League.
In the nightcap, Dan Minor (5-4) fired five shutout innings, allowing only a leadoff single to K.C. Hobson in the fifth the day after making an aborted start in the rain. The right-hander walked none and struck out four.
The Revs scored three in the first. Alejandro Chacin (1-1) walked the first two batters of the inning. Tejeda got a double play grounder out of Tejeda, but the ball eluded third baseman Josh Bell for an error as a run scored. Franco and Dotel each singled home a run.
Garrett Granitz allowed an unearned run in the third inning. James Skelton and Tejeda each homered off Caleb Gindl in the fourth for the final three runs.
The Barnstormers avoided a shutout on a bases loaded walk to Bell in the seventh.
Lancaster is off the next four days for the Atlantic League All-Star break. Play will resume on Friday as the Barnstormers are set to play a doubleheader against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs at Regency Furniture Stadium to make up a rainout from May 5. Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 4:45.
NOTES: Gindl finished the first half with 51 RBI…Marksberry was awarded the win in the first game…He has retired 25 of the last 29 batters he has faced…Pedro Echemendia threw his fifth consecutive scoreless outing…Lancaster played the second game without Gindl, Gamache and Terdoslavich, three of the four All-Stars position players.