‘Stormers Swipe Seven in 5-4 Victory
The Lancaster Barnstormers stole a franchise record seven bases Friday evening en route to a 5-4 victory over the New Britain Bees in the opener of a three-game weekend series at Clipper Magazine Stadium.
It was the Barnstormers’ fourth consecutive win and moved Lancaster to a 1 ½ game lead over the Sugar Land Skeeters in the Freedom Division.
Paced by Darian Sandford’s three bags, the Barnstormers also got two from Vladimir Frias in the same inning while Lastings Milledge and Anderson De La Rosa grabbed one apiece.
Still, it was the long ball that gave the Barnstormers their first run as Blake Gailen bounced his second of the season off the TV truck beyond the right center field fence.
Lancaster went ahead, 3-1, in the fourth. K. C. Hobson picked up a one-out walked and raced to third on a long single by Gailen off Mike Lee (0-2). Lee then made a wild pickoff throw to first, allowing Hobson to score. Milledge picked up Gailen with the second run of the inning on a single flared down the right field line.
In the fifth, Frias picked up a leadoff walk and immediately stole second. Lee struck out De La Rosa. Then, with Sandford at the plate, Frias bolted for third, beating James Skelton’s throw. Sandford drilled a single up the middle through the drawn in infield for a 4-1 lead. A Garrett Weber triple and De La Rosa double produced the ‘Stormers final run in the seventh.
Elih Villanueva (3-1) pitched the first five innings for the Barnstormers, yielding a run only on his first pitch of the game as Skelton roped a line drive over the wall in right.
Daniel Moskos backed him up with two perfect innings that included four strikeouts. Kevin Munson picked up the first two outs in the eighth quickly, but suddenly New Britain came to life. Conor Bierfeldt singled and scored on a triple to left center by Craig Maddox. Jovan Rosa nailed a ground rule double to right center to cut the lead to 5-3. Jon Griffin stood in as the tying run but struck out to end the inning.
More drama was in store for the ninth. Three-year Barnstormer Yusuke Kajimoto launched a fly ball to deep right that was caught at the wall on a leaping grab by Caleb Gindl. Jamar Walton followed with a homer on a 3-2 pitch to trim the lead to one. Anthony Carter struck out pinch hitter Paul Kronenfeld on three pitches, but Skelton singled and Michael Crouse walked to put the tying and lead runs aboard.
Bierfeldt hesitated on Carter’s first offering, taking a half swing and lobbing a soft pop up on the right side. Weber darted in to make the catch, ending the night with the Lancaster win.
The two clubs meet again on Saturday with Jarret Leverett (1-0) taking the hill for Lancaster against right-hander Brian Dupra (3-0). Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 6:15.
NOTES: Sandford has stolen 21 bases in 25 games played…He also leads the team in batting with runners in scoring position at .478…Gailen’s homer was his 65th in a Barnstormers uniform and 51st at Clipper Magazine Stadium…Gailen now has 486 Barnstormers hits…De La Rosa extended his hitting streak to eight games…Barnstormers pitchers struck out 11, the 11th time this year the staff has reached double figures in a game…Lancaster scored at least three runs for the 24th consecutive game.