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Just when you thought the Lancaster Barnstormers’ opening homestand could not get any crazier, it did.

Gastonia drew 20 walks, and Mike Papi slugged a pair of two-run homers as the Honey Hunters beat the Lancaster Barnstormers, 16-14, in a game that lasted five hours, four minutes.  It was the longest nine-inning game in Lancaster franchise history by a whopping 49 minutes.

All totaled, there were 35 walks, 13 pitchers, 119 batters, 35 runners left on base and 506 pitches.  Of those 506, there were 243 called balls in the contest.

Oddly, with all the runs, Gastonia was never headed after posting a single tally on an RBI single by Jason Rogers off Andro Cutura (2-1) in the top of the first.  Six more runs scored in the second, two on a triple by Boog Powell, and the Barnstormers could do no better than nip at the Gastonia heels for the rest of the night.  They never pulled closer than within two, which they did at 12-10, 14-12 and 16-14.

Papi went deep against Cutura in the third and again off Lancaster-area native Gavilan Fogarty-Harnish in the seventh.  Powell and catcher Jesus Sucre knocked in three runs apiece while Rogers, Joshua Sale and William Salas knocked in two apiece.

Part of Lancaster’s comeback was spurred by pitcher Yoel Espinal’s first professional home run, on only his third at bat, a two-run blast off Jay Gause in the third.

Anderson De La Rosa was 4-for-5 for Lancaster while Blake Allemand picked up three hits, including his third home run of the season.  Trayvon Robinson was a baserunner six times in the game and hit his first homer.

Reliever Matt Marsili (1-0) earned the win for Gastonia.  Robby Scott earned his second save.

The two teams meet again at 6:30 on Wednesday evening with right-hander Dominic DiSabatino (0-1) on the hill for Lancaster against right-hander Jailen Peguero (0-1).  The game will be carried live on Blue Ridge Channel 11 and the Barnstormers YouTube Channel.

NOTES:  Melvin Mercedes reached base for the 11th straight game…There have been 87 walks in the four games of the homestand…Scott Shuman struck out the side for the Barnstormers in the ninth and now has 10 K’s in six innings on the season.