8-7 Squeaker Puts Lancaster in First
For the 2017 Lancaster Barnstormers, games like Wednesday’s are becoming commonplace.
The Barnstormers held on to the game’s sixth lead, albeit barely, surviving to beat the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, 8-7, in a schoolday game at Regency Furniture Stadium.
Wednesday’s win, coupled with a Sugar Land loss in the first game of a day-night doubleheader at Somerset, gave Lancaster sole possession of first place in the Freedom Division.
Lancaster pieced together five singles in the top of the seventh inning to grab their final lead. Darian Sandford opened the inning with a single to right off Austin Fleet (0-2). Jeff Kobernus moved him to second with a single to left center, and K.C. Hobson produced a tying run with a base hit into right center. Fleet got Sean Halton to fly out, and the Blue Crabs went to their pen for lefty Robert Carson. Blake Gailen spoiled the strategy, yanking an RBI single through the hole on the right side to score Kobernus for a 6-5 edge. Lastings Milledge also singled to score Hobson. Gailen stole third and came home on a Trayvon Robinson grounder to put Lancaster ahead by three, the biggest lead of the day.
Southern Maryland responded immediately. Michael Snyder led off the bottom of the inning against Kaohi Downing with a solid single into center and took third on a double off the left field wall by Zach Wilson. One run scored on a sacrifice fly by Cory Vaughn to cut the lead to 8-6. Devon Rodriguez produced another with a single into left center, bringing the Blue Crabs within one. After a walk to Patrick Palmeiro, John Anderson entered the game to face switch hitter Jose Lozada. Kobernus flagged a ground ball in the shortstop hole and got a force at third. Mike Blanke bounced back to the mound to end the threat.
Cody Hall pitched a successful eighth, but, after the Barnstormers failed to score with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth, Southern Maryland got on a roll against Anthony Carter in the bottom of the inning.
Vaughn lined a single into left center. He wheeled around to third on a single in the same direction by the lefty batting Rodriguez. With the tying run 90 feet from home plate, manager Ross Peeples drew his infielders halfway, and Palmeiro bounced into the defense with Kobernus firing home. Vaughn was caught in a rundown and tagged out by Anderson De La Rosa for the first out with runners parked at first and second. Milledge made a diving catch on Lozada’s shallow fly to left for the second out, and Blanke grounded into a force play to end the game as Carter notched his fourth save.
Milledge finished the day 4-for-5 with two RBI for Lancaster. K.C. Hobson contributed a tying homer in the top of the sixth while Zach Wilson gave Southern Maryland its first lead with a two-run home run to left center in the first inning.
Daniel Moskos (3-0) picked up the win after surrendering two unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth.
The Barnstormers and Blue Crabs wrap up the three-game series Thursday evening at 6:30. Rommie Lewis (2-2) will make the start against fellow lefty Pat McCoy. Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 6:15.
NOTES: For the seventh straight series, the Barnstormers have won at least two games…The club is 15-7 in the last 22…Hobson’s homer extended his hitting streak to 11 games, the longest by a Barnstormer this season…Milledge became the second Lancaster batter to have four hits in a contest in 2017…Sandford had his fifth multi-steal game of the year to temporarily take the league lead with 18…Wilson has driven home 10 runs against the Barnstormers in five games.