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Friday night’s game between the Lancaster Barnstormers and Southern Maryland Blue Crabs would be exactly what the gurus of baseball are seeking to create.

Lancaster reliever Gabriel Moya struck out Joe DeLuca with the tying and lead runs on base in the ninth inning to preserve a 5-4 victory for the ‘Stormers in the opener of a three-game series.  The contest was the lowest scoring in 22 games in Lancaster during 2021.  There may not have been the nightly slugfest, but it never lacked for drama.

The win improved Lancaster’s record to 22-23 and kept the Barnstormers within 3 ½ games of the division leading Long Island Ducks.

With the Barnstormers up, 5-3, Moya got the opportunity for his first Atlantic League save.  He walked Rubi Silva to start the inning.  Dario Pizzano stroked a grounder toward third, but the ball leapt over Nick Shumpert’s shoulder for a base hit, putting the tying run aboard.  David Harris was hit by a pitch to load the bases, placing the lead in jeopardy.

Moya fought back, striking out Alex Crosby and Josh McAdams.  The 1-1 offering to DeLuca skipped past Anthony Peroni for a wild pitch, but Moya battled back to fan DeLuca on the 3-2 to end the night and send Lancaster to its second straight win.

It was DeLuca who staked Southern Maryland to its early lead, launching a two-out pitch from Dominic DiSabatino (6-3) over the fence in dead center for a two-run homer.

Nick Shumpert’s RBI double down the left field line got one run back for the Barnstormers in the second, but the Blue Crabs were able to retrieve that run in the fourth on a double to right center by DeLuca nd Jake Luce’s lined single to left.

Daryl Thompson (4-2) held the 3-1 lead until the bottom of the sixth.  Alejandro DeAza placed a perfect bunt single down the third base line to get a Lancaster rally started.  Kelly Dugan grounded to first, but the Barnstormers stayed out of a double play when Crosby’s throw toward second hit De Aza.  Anthony Peroni drove home one run with a long double to right center.  Shumpert reached on an error by McAdams at third.  Cleuluis Rondon loaded the bases with a pop fly single down the left field line which Luce failed to collect with a diving try.  Caleb Gindl grounded into a force play for the second out, but Melvin Mercedes dropped a single into shallow center for a 4-3 lead.

A needed insurance run scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the eighth.

Saturday will feature a doubleheader at Clipper Magazine Stadium.  The Israel Olympic team will take on the Susquehanna All-Stars at noon.  At 6:30, the Barnstormers will again play host to Southern Maryland.  Cody Boydstun (1-1) will take the hill for Lancaster against right-hander Kolton Mahoney (3-1).  Fireworks will follow the game which will be carried on the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, starting at 6:25.

NOTES:  De Aza extended a hitting streak to eight games with his bunt single…Rondon is 9-for-20 in his last six games…DiSabatino threw his third quality start and won his fifth straight…He has taken the league lead with six wins…Jordan McCrum threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings and stranded two inherited runners for his fourth hold…The game featured three stunning defensive plays…Mercedes took an RBI single away from Harris in the third with a diving catch on a pop up to dead center in the third…Luce made a diving catch on a potential three-run double from Kelly Dugan in the bottom of the same inning…Alex Crosby ended De Aza’s on base streak at eight at bats with a diving catch of a liner in the seventh.