Dirty Birds Win, 5-4, in 10
Several times on Sunday evening, the Lancaster Barnstormers were one strike from a relatively easy win.
Charleston scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth, then won the game in the 10th, sending Lancaster to a 5-4 defeat in the finale of a six-game road trip.
The Barnstormers remained 2 ½ games ahead of Southern Maryland in the division race as the Blue Crabs fell to Wild Health, 2-0, earlier in the day. Lancaster lost ground to all other clubs in the wild card race and now stand in third.
Cam Booser picked up the first two outs in the ninth and had a 2-2 count on pinch hitter Yovan Gonzalez before a shallow fly ball dropped into center for a base hit. Angel Garced drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch, and Scott Kelly was hit by a pitch to load the bases, also with two strikes in the count. Nick Heath, on a 2-1 offering from Booser, hit a pop up behind shortstop which Jake Hoover dropped as two runs scored.
Heath stole second, putting the tying run in scoring position. Josh Graham took over for Booser, got the first two strikes on newcomer Cosimo Cannella, batting for the first time in the Atlantic League. On a 2-2 check swing, Cannella hit a slow bound toward shortstop. Hoover bobbled the ball on the transfer. Kelly scored easily, and Heath raced home ahead of the throw.
After the Barnstormers failed to score in the top of the tenth, Devon Torrence singled home Alfredo Gonzalez from third with the decisive run against Dominic DiSabatino (6-5).
The game’s ending spoiled a marvelous effort by Lancaster starter Oscar De La Cruz. The right-hander fired seven scoreless innings on four singles without yielding a walk. He struck out nine. Alfredo Gonzalez had three of the four hits off him.
Lancaster took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth off starter Kit Scheetz. Trace Loehr reached on a one-out bloop hit into left center and stole second. Melvin Mercedes bounced a ball toward third, and Alfredo Gonzalez made a wild throw allowing a run to score.
Reliever Ruben Garcia issued four walks and hit a batter in the top of the sixth. Hoover stroked a double inside the bag at third to drive home two runs. A third scored on a bases loaded walk to Trayvon Robinson.
Bret Clarke threw one pitch to get the ‘Stormers out of a bases loaded jam in the eighth to get the game to the ninth inning.
Ex-Barnstormer Ricardo Gomez (2-0) pitched the final two innings for Charleston to earn the win.
Lancaster will host Long Island on Tuesday at 6:30. Nile Ball (7-4) is slated to start for the Barnstormers against Ryan Meisinger (3-2). Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube channel, starting at 6:25.
NOTES: Peroni extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a double in the second…Jacob Barfield was ejected from the game over a called third strike in the seventh…De La Cruz threw his club leading ninth quality start…He has not allowed a run to Charleston in two starts…