BARNSTORMERS OUTLAST HONEY HUNTERS
It was another long, wild night at Clipper Magazine Stadium. This time, the host Lancaster Barnstormers came out on top.
Alejandro de Aza keyed a six-run fifth inning with a three-run homer, and the Barnstormers escaped with a 15-12 win over the Gastonia Honey Hunters in the middle game of a three-game series. The win moved Lancaster back to .500 and within 1 ½ games of the division lead in the North.
Saturday night’s game was the 14th in 17 contests in Lancaster this year where the winning team has reached double figures. Both teams have gotten there in five of those games.
Gastonia struck for eight runs in the first three innings on two-run homers by Joshua Sale and Emmanuel Tapia and a five-hit second. Lancaster managed to hang in, scoring two runs in each of those three frames. Four walks produced the runs in the first. Blake Gailen slugged a two-run homer in the second, and Anthony Peroni’s double got the ball rolling again in the third.
It was the fifth inning that decided the game. After Dominic DiSabatino (5-3) froze the Honey Hunters in place over his final two innings, the Barnstormers got ignited in the fifth on a one-out bunt single by Devon Torrence. Torrence stole second and then third as Anderson De La Rosa walked and moved to second on a bad throw. Torrence came home on a wild pitch to cut the lead to one. Nick Shumpert followed with a game-tying RBI single to right center. A walk to Cleuluis Rondon filled in first base. Lefty reliever TJ Goco (0-2) retired Caleb Gindl on a foul pop up before De Aza reached the picnic deck to put Lancaster in the lead. Gailen picked up a walk, and Trayvon Robinson greeted Kaleb Earls with a double to right center for a 12-8 lead.
Lancaster struck for two more in the bottom of the sixth on a double by Shumpert, a bloop hit to left by Rondon and a double to right by Gindl. The ‘Stormers got one more in the eighth.
The top of the ninth was rocky for closer Scott Shuman, who entered with a seven-run lead. Boog Powell opened the inning with a double. Gailen initially mishandled Mike Papi’s ground ball, then Shuman dropped the hurried throw. Shuman recovered to strike out the next two batters and appeared to end the game when Mike Osinski deflected a ground ball off the pitcher’s mound that eluded the second baseman Shumpert for the second error of the inning. Jesus Sucre doubled home two with a fly ball against the right field wall. Jake Skole followed with a double yanked to right before pinch hitter Will Johnson ended the night with a ground out to Gailen.
Lancaster and Gastonia conclude their season series on Sunday afternoon at 1:00. Cody Boydstun (1-0) will make the start for Lancaster against AJ Merkel (1-2). Fans may watch the game on Blue Ridge 11 or the Barnstormers YouTube Channel.
NOTES: Gastonia has scored 72 runs and hit 17 homers in five games at Clipper Magazine Stadium…Anderson De La Rosa, who had the Barnstormers’ longest active hitting streak entering the game was the only man in the starting lineup to go without…Shumpert had his first three-hit game as a Barnstormer…Peroni made two stunning defensive plays, one on a grounder by Jason Rogers down the third base line in the sixth and another on a short pop up by Jordan Howard in the eighth…Home plate umpire Freddy De Jesus had to leave the game after being hit in the face mask by a hard foul tip off the bat of Rogers…Warren Nicholson assumed the role 1 ½ innings later.