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Ball Takes Shutout Into Ninth

Nile Ball came one out short of the first Lancaster complete game shutout in over two years on Friday night.

Instead, he watched the Barnstormers win from the bench on a bases loaded wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth as Lancaster defeated High Point, 4-3, in the opener of the season-ending series at Clipper Magazine Stadium.

Ball allowed four hits and four walks over the first eight innings and took the 3-0 lead into the ninth.  He fanned pinch hitter Nate Blakeney for his fifth strikeout before yielding a single to Jared Mitchell.  Another pinch hitter, Randy Norris drew a walk to bring the tying run to the plate.  J.R. DiSarcina whiffed after a lengthy at bat for the second out, but Logan Moore deposited the first pitch of his at bat and #129 on the night for ball, into the Backyard in right center to tie the game.

The Lancaster starter remained in to face Johnny Field, and the High Point center fielder singled to center, forcing Ross Peeples to go to the bullpen for Scott Shuman.  Shuman (4-3) never finished a batter as Field was thrown out attempting to steal on a 1-2 pitch.

Nick Shumpert beat out a single to the shortstop hole to open the home ninth against John Hayes (2-4).  Melvin Mercedes dropped a bunt down the first base line.  First baseman Quincy Nieporte looked toward second and allowed Mercedes to beat a late throw to Hayes.  Both runners moved ahead on a ground out by Blake Allemand, and the Rockers chose to walk Caleb Gindl intentionally.  Hayes fired a 2-0 pitch inside and low to Kelly Dugan.  Moore could not corral it, and Shumpert sped home with the winning run.

Blake Gailen staked Lancaster to a 1-0 lead with a solo homer in the fourth off Jheyson Manzueta.  The other two runs came in a quirky bottom of the sixth.  Gindl walked and went to second when Dugan reached on catcher’s interference.  LeDarious Clark dropped a bunt down, which was fumbled by Manzueta to load the bases.  Huascar Brazoban took over and got Gailen to ground into a double play as Gindl scored.  After a walk to Anderson De La Rosa, Trayvon Robinson drove home Dugan with a ground single into right.

Lancaster will send Zach Smith (2-5) to the mound on Saturday night against Rockers right-hander Tyler Garkow (1-0).  Fireworks will follow the 6:30 game.  Fans may also join in on YouTube, starting at 6:25.

NOTES:  Ball was the first Lancaster pitcher to work beyond eight innings this season…He finished with 132 pitches…It was his fifth quality start…Buddy Baumann threw the last complete game shutout by a Barnstormer on July 25, 2019…De La Rosa lost a nine-game hitting streak…High Point’s opportunity to reach the playoffs increased when Long Island defeated York, 9-7…High Point only goes to the post-season if Long Island wins the North in the second half…The Ducks lead Southern Maryland by one-half game and York by one.