Lancaster Clinches Best Overall Freedom Division Record
The Lancaster Barnstormers achieved another milestone in a successful season on Tuesday evening, defeating the Long Island Ducks, 3-2, to clinch the best overall record in the Freedom Division for the season.
However, in their bid to make the playoffs, they were unable to make up any ground on the York Revolution, who defeated Southern Maryland, 6-1, at People’s Bank Park. The Revolution remains two games ahead of Lancaster in the second half chase.
Overall, the win on Tuesday was Lancaster’s 73rd of the season against 62 losses.
Long Island drew first blood off left-hander Tommy Shirley on Tuesday night. Delta Cleary, Jr. led off the third inning with a single to right. He moved to second on a slow grounder by Dan Lyons. Giovanny Alfonzo smashed a base hit into right, and Cleary was able to score on a bobble by Cole Garner. Elmer Reyes beat out an infield single on a roller past the mound, but Shirley escaped the inning on strikeouts of Lew Ford and Angelo Songco around a walk to Marc Krauss.
Josh Bell tied the game with a leadoff homer in the fifth off John Brownell (10-5), but the Barnstormers could manage nothing else until the seventh.
Steve Clevenger banged a one-out double into right center and took third on Bell’s bloop hit into center. Lance Zawadzki walked to load the bases. Brownell got Darian Sandford to bounce into a force play at home, but Beau Amaral delivered an RBI single to right on an 0-2 pitch.
Cole Garner drove home an insurance run was a four-pitch walk for a 3-1 lead.
However, Long Island struck back in the eighth. With one out, Krauss doubled into the right field corner. Daniel Moskos retired Songco on a fly out to right center, but Ruben Gotay walked. Alex Burg rapped a sinking line drive into left center. Amaral attempted a diving catch but came up short. Krauss scored easily, but pinch runner Jordan Hinshaw was cut down at home with the tying run on a perfect relay throw from shortstop Nate Coronado.
Anthony Carter retired the side in order, two on strikes, in the top of the ninth for his 31st save.
R.J. Hively (6-0) retired all six batters he faced after replacing John Kuchno, who left with an injury after three pitches, to earn the win for the Barnstormers.
The Barnstormers host the Ducks again on Wednesday with left-hander Scott Sebald (0-1) taking the hill against right-hander Matt Larkins (9-7). Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 6:15.
NOTES: Hively lowered his ERA at home to 1.00…Bell has four homers in the last nine games…The Barnstormers need two more wins to tie 2006 and 2015 for the third most wins in a season in franchise history (only 126 games played in 2006)…Garner has 17 RBI in his last 16 games.