Lancaster Tops New Britain, 5-3, As Bullpen Shines
At one point on Sunday, it appeared as if the Lancaster Barnstormers’ pennant hopes in 2017 would have to rely on the second half.
Now, the Barnstormers are right where they need to be.
Caleb Gindl went 4-for-4, and the ‘Stormers bullpen fired 3 2/3 scoreless innings as Lancaster defeated the New Britain Bees, 5-3.
Meanwhile, Southern Maryland dropped a 12-3 decision at Somerset, moving the Barnstormers to within one game of first place in the Freedom Division. There are four games left to play for each club through Sunday, plus a makeup game against each other in late July. That makeup game will decide the first half title if the two clubs remain separated by a game or less at the end of play on Sunday.
Rommie Lewis (4-5) was touched for a pair of two-out runs in the first. Singles by Jovan Rosa and Craig Maddox plus a walk to Conor Bierfeldt loaded the bases. Jamar Walton came through with a base hit to left, scoring a pair for the early New Britain lead.
Lancaster responded immediately with some help. Lastings Milledge picked up a one-out walk from Kyle Simon (4-5), and Gindl followed with a double to the gap in right center. Simon struck out Sean Halton, but Garrett Weber hit a dribbler well to the third base side of the mound. Simon got there, but made a rushed, wild throw with two runs scoring on the play.
The Bees grabbed their second lead of the night on a delayed double steal where shortstop Vladimir Frias mishandled the throw from catcher Anderson De La Rosa for an error. Frias made up for it immediately, hammering Simon’s first pitch of the second inning out of the park down the right field line to again knot the game.
Lancaster broke the tie in the bottom of the fourth on the slightest of bobbles. With one out, De La Rosa crushed a double to the gap in left center. He moved to third on an infield single by Frias. Drew Doty scooted a grounder to second. For a brief instant, Yusuke Kajimoto had the ball squirt free, costing the Bees a double play as the tiebreaking run scored.
Singles by Milledge and Gindl set up a Sean Halton sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth.
Lewis gave way to the bullpen after allowing a double to Jamar Walton, who was thrown out at third, and a single to Michael Crouse to open the sixth. R.J. Hively, Daniel Moskos, Scott Shuman and Anthony Carter combined to fire 3 2/3 scoreless innings. Carter earned his 14th save.
The series concludes on Thursday evening with Jarret Leverett (4-3) making the start against Mike Lee (1-5). The game will be carried live on Blue Ridge Cable 11, beginning at 6:30.
NOTES: Lancaster will try for its first series sweep at home this season on Thursday night…Gindl had his second four-hit game of the season…Weber grounded out to short in the third inning, ending a streak of six consecutive hits…Carter converted his 13th consecutive save…Shuman stretch his home scoreless innings streak to 13 2/3…First baseman K.C. Hobson and lefty starter Nate Reed both had their contracts purchased by the San Francisco Giants earlier in the day and will report to Class AA Richmond…RHP Pete Andrelczyk will rejoin the club for the remainder of the week.