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Lancaster Wins Spring Opener

Kelly Dugan slammed a three-run homer, and Lancaster’s reassembled bullpen retired 13 straight in one stretch as the Barnstormers took down the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, 6-4, in the exhibition opener for both clubs.

Dugan, who was on a club and league record home run pace in 2022 when he sustained a season ending foot injury, took an 0-1 pitch from Sandro Cabrera over the tents in right field after Shawon Dunston, Jr. doubled to right, and Melvin Mercedes flared a single into right center.  The Barnstormers tacked on an additional run when Joseph Carpenter grounded a single up the middle to score Ariel Sandoval from second.

The four-run surge in the bottom of the first erased a quick start by the Blue Crabs.  Michael Wielansky banged a one-out double off the wall in right.  Player-coach Braxton Lee grounded a double inside third, and former Lancaster first baseman K.C. Hobson banged Southern Maryland’s third straight two-base hit on a liner into the right field corner.

Trace Loehr scored an additional run on a throwing error in the second, and the Barnstormers made it 6-2 in the sixth when Chris Proctor raced home from third on a mishandled throw on Loehr’s steal attempt.

Jacob Lemoine and Cole Aker pitched two perfect innings apiece for the Barnstormers in relief of Nile Ball.  Brian Marconi surrendered a one-out walk in the seventh to break the string of outs.  Travis Lakins, Sr. yielded a one-out single to JT Reed in the eighth, but it was not until the ninth when the Blue Crabs posted their other two runs.

Michael Baca led off with a walk from newcomer Mike Adams.  Jose Rosario punched a single into right, sending Baca to third.  A passed ball allowed Baca to score, and, following an infield hit by Fox Semones to the hole at shortstop, Rosario scored on a wild pitch.  Adams then struck out the side to end the game.

NOTES:  Lancaster pitching, which averaged over a strikeout per inning in 2022, fanned 13 Wednesday afternoon…Aker struck out four in his return to the Barnstormers…Loehr had a perfect day at the plate with a single and two walks…He stole two bases…The Barnstormers host the Black Sox on Thursday afternoon at 1:00.