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Sandford’s Last Ditch Single Decides 11-10 Victory at New Britain

The 2017 Lancaster Barnstormers rose from the ashes once again on Wednesday evening.

Darian Sandford’s two-out, two-run single in the top of the ninth drove home the tying and winning runs as the Barnstormers fought back to a virtual tie with the York Revolution on the strength of a wild, 11-10 victory at New Britain Stadium.

The win marked the eighth time this season that Lancaster has won a game when down heading into the final inning, doubling the previous high water mark for the franchise.

Steve Clevenger opened the ninth with a single and advanced to second when Nate Coronado beat out a bunt on the right side.  Pinch hitter Trayvon Robinson laid down a sacrifice bunt to put the tying and lead runs in scoring position.  Shawn Gilblair (2-3) struck out Josh Bell on a 3-2 pitch, but Sandford smacked the first pitch he saw up the middle scoring both runs.

New Britain had just taken its first lead of the night in the bottom of the eighth.  James Skelton reached on a one-out infield single and moved up as Michael Crouse looped a single to right.  R.J. Hively (5-0) struck out Jovan Rosa for the second out.  Craig Maddox walked to load the bases, and Jon Griffin belted a triple just out of Cole Garner’s reach, driving in all three.

The bottom of the ninth provided a scare of its own.  Anthony Carter walked Yusuke Kajimoto and Skelton around grazing pinch hitter Tsuyoshi Fujiwara with a pitch, loading the bases with one out.  With rain pouring down on New Britain Stadium, Carter struck out both Crouse and Rosa, ending the night for his 30th save.

Lancaster held leads of 5-1, 7-3, and 8-5, but the Bees kept battling back.

Craig Maddox went 3-for-4 with four RBI for the Bees.  Cole Garner had three hits and three RBI for the Barnstormers.  But it was Sandford, in his second game back with Lancaster, who stole the show, going 4-for-4 with two walks, three runs scored, three steals and the two RBI in the ninth.

Lancaster and New Britain play the rubber game of the three-game series on Thursday night.  The Barnstormers will send left-hander Scott Sebald to the mound.  He went 9-2 with a 2.89 ERA for the Normal Cornbelters of the Frontier League earlier this season.  Sebald will be matched up against former Phillies right-hander Jonathan Pettibone.  Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, starting at 6:15.

NOTES:  Sandford tied Michael Crouse for second in steals with 37 despite playing in only 50 Atlantic League games…Sean Halton set a franchise record with his 11th sacrifice fly of the season…He also took the league lead in HBP, getting hit for the 12th time…Garner doubled for the 10th time in 12 games…He has 13 RBI in that stretch…Coronado went 3-for-5 and is now batting .400 (38-95) on the road…The Barnstormers have won all three of their games this season when both clubs have scored 10 or more runs.