BARNSTORMERS RETURN HOME
Lancaster Barnstormers fans had plenty of reasons to celebrate on Friday night as their team returned to the diamond at Clipper Magazine Stadium for the first time in 628 days.
Hugs and handshakes were seen as acquaintances were renewed between people who had not seen each other during those 90 weeks. The stadium was hopping with energy which remained through the fireworks show that capped the night for the 5,188 on hand.
The only thing not to celebrate was the game itself as the Barnstormers beleaguered pitching staff walked 17 batters in an 18-2 loss to the York Revolution in the opener of a three-game series.
Brooks Hall, who threw five stellar innings at Gastonia on Sunday, was the ticketed starter on Friday night, but his contract was purchased by the Milwaukee Brewers in the afternoon. That made him the sixth starting pitcher to depart to a Major League organization since the first of May.
Manager Ross Peeples went to 25 year-old Dominic DiSabatino to begin the game, two days after the former co-Player of the Year in Delaware threw two innings in High Point. DiSabatino (0-1) was reached for Nellie Rodriguez’ three-run homer in the top of the first, escaped a bases loaded jam in the second and proceeded to retired six straight before fading in the fourth inning. He would walk four in his 3 2/3 inning stint, but Lancaster still trailed by only three upon his departure.
Garrett Granitz could not satisfy the automated ball-strike system and walked three following a two-run single as York built a 7-0 lead. In the fifth, two Lancaster errors led to an eighth York tally. The sixth inning featured six walks and five additional York runs.
By the end of the night, the Revs had 33 different batters reach base, including shortstop Edwin Figuera seven times on four hits, two walks and an HBP. Lancaster brought outfielder Blake Gailen on in relief, not once but twice and also used utility man Blake Allemand who served the Revs a steady diet of knuckleballs in the top of the ninth.
The Barnstormers bats were not quiet. Lancaster did amass 10 hits, including a pair of doubles by Melvin Mercedes. Pitcher Yoel Espinal singled in the first plate appearance of his professional career. Cleuluis Rondon, experimenting with switch hitting, looped a single to left in his first at bat from the left side of the plate.
Trayvon Robinson and Anderson De La Rosa knocked in the two Lancaster runs with consecutive singles in the fifth.
Lancaster drew seven walks but left 15 runners on base.
The two clubs meet again on Saturday evening at 6:30. Austin Nicely (1-0) will pitch for York against Lancaster right-hander Danny Taggart (0-1). Fireworks will follow the game. Fans may tune in to the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 6:25.
NOTES: York has scored 38 runs in the last two games…Robinson hit safely for the fifth straight game while Allemand picked up a base hit in the sixth straight…Mercedes has reached base in every game and is batting .414 on the season…The game lasted 3:59…Lancaster’s average game time on the season is three hours, 29 minutes.