Lancaster Falls to Somerset, 3-2
The Lancaster Barnstormers were set up for the perfect end to an evening.
They had runners at first and third with nobody out in the bottom of the ninth, trailing by one. The biggest regular season crowd of 2016 was anticipating the enjoyment of a comeback victory before a post-game performance of the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo and a fireworks show.
That rally fizzled on a fluke play, and the Somerset Patriots held on for a 3-2 victory over the ‘Stormers in the opener of a three-game series at Clipper Magazine Stadium.
K.C. Hobson opened the inning with a double to right center off Jon Hunton, his 10th extra base hit in 14 games. Mike McDade ripped his fourth hit of the night through the right side, sending Hobson to third. Yusuke Kajimoto, pinch hitting for shortstop Dean Wilson took three pitches from Hunton out of the strike zone and looked at a strike.
Disaster struck the Barnstormers on the next pitch. Kajimoto nicked the top of the baseball with his swing. The ball began to spin backwards, then stopped at the front of the plate. Yovan Gonzalez grabbed it, fired to second, and shortstop Luis Mateo fired back to first for the double play. The entire play gave Hobson no chance to race for home. Hunton got Jeff Kobernus to ground to second on a 3-2 pitch to end the game for his 22nd save of the year.
Kajimoto’s double play was the fourth turned by the Patriots in the game. Two of the others, off the bats of Wilson in the second and Halton in the fifth, came with the bases loaded and one out.
Somerset’s first run scored in the third. Mateo bounced a single up the middle with one out. He stole second with Mycal Jones at the plate and took third as the pitch escaped McDade for a passed ball. Jones delivered a sacrifice fly.
McDade slammed a two-run homer off Shaun Garceau (2-1) in the bottom of the fourth for Lancaster’s only runs of the night.
David Vidal answered that with a two-run blast onto the tents in right off Kelvin De La Cruz (3-2, 6-8) in the top of the sixth.
De La Cruz yielded only three hits, a walk and a hit batter in six innings of work in the loss. Meanwhile, the Barnstorers, who outhit the Patriots, 9-5, on the night, had 11 runners off Garceau on six hits, three walks and two hit batters.
The series continues on Saturday evening at 7:00 with Holiday-themed fireworks following the game. Lancaster will send right-hander Bryan Evans (3-6) to the mound against right-hander Randy Boone, who will make his first appearance for the Patriots this season. Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 6:45.
NOTES: The crowd of 8,188 was the eighth largest for a Barnstormers regular season home game in club history…Hobson is 18-for-49 (.367) with five doubles and five homers in that 14-games stretch…Kobernus opened the night with a single to stretch his hit streak to seven games…He stole a base, his sixth in six games…McDade is 6-for-8 with two homers and five RBI in his last two games…He has nine RBI in seven games…Pete Andrelczyk moved to within one appearance of another Lancaster County native, Eric Ackerman, for second place on the club’s all-time appearances list…De La Cruz threw his fifth quality start in six appearances for the Barnstormers…Lancaster is 9-22 in one-run games.