Halton Slam, Defensive Play Lead Barnstormers to 4-2 Win
Sean Halton’s bat gave the Barnstormers the lead. His glovework and, perhaps some acting, saved it at the end.
Halton slugged his third grand slam of the season in the top of the fourth inning then started a bizarre double play in the bottom of the ninth as Lancaster defeated the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, 4-2, Sunday afternoon at Regency Furniture Stadium.
The Barnstormers mustered little offense in the series finale, but in the top of the fourth, Drew Hayes walked both Rico Noel and Steve Clevenger to open the inning. Nate Coronado attempted to sacrifice and pushed the ball back toward Hayes. The pitcher found no one covering third base, nor did he find anyone at first, and Coronado reached on the bunt single. Halton took the next pitch off the picnic tent in left field for his 19th home run and a 4-0 lead. Trayvon Robinson followed with a single but was stranded at second. Lancaster managed only one other hit for the afternoon.
Michael Snyder answered the Halton slam with a two-run homer of his own off reliever R.J. Hively in the bottom of the fourth, but the Blue Crabs remained quiet until the ninth.
Anthony Carter, the sixth right-hander of the day for the Barnstormers, allowed a scratch hit to Jose Lozada leading off the ninth inning. L.J. Hoes grounded out, but Carter walked Snyder on four pitches, bringing Cory Vaughn to the plate as the winning run. After a lengthy battle at 2-2, Vaughn drilled a line drive to right. Halton charged in and trapped the ball. Garcia and Snyder were left in limbo. Halton fired into shortstop Nate Coronado. Garcia was tagged out in a rundown between second and third. A quick throw back to second retired Snyder, who was still forced out on the 9-6-5-4 double play.
John Kuchno made the start for the Barnstormers in lieu of Bryan Evans, whose contract was purchased by the Seattle Mariners following Saturday night’s doubleheader. Kuchno worked the first three innings. Hively picked up the next two with Kevin Munson, Kaohi Downing, Scott Shuman and Carter working one shutout inning apiece.
Hively (3-0) was awarded the win. Carter recorded his 21st save.
Lancaster returns home from the 6-1 road trip to host the New Britain Bees on Monday evening. Jarret Leverett (7-5) is scheduled to start for Lancaster against Kyle Simon (6-8). Fans may tune into Blue Ridge Cable 11, beginning at 6:30.
NOTES: Halton’s slam was his third of the season, tying the franchise record set by Ryan Harvey in 2013…He took the league RBI lead from K.C. Hobson with 63…Lancaster pitching struck out 12 in the game…Cole Garner left the game in the third inning after being hit by a pitch for the fourth time in five games…Carter has converted 20 saves chances in a row…The ‘Stormers are 21-10 in their last 31 games.