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GASTONIA RACES AHEAD EARLY, TAKES THIRD STRAIGHT

A series of mishaps led to the Gastonia Honey Hunters pulling away early, and the host club cruised to a 13-4 victory over the Lancaster Barnstormers Sunday afternoon at CaroMont Health Park in North Carolina.

It was Gastonia’s third straight win after the Barnstormers grabbed Thursday’s season opener.

Johnny Davis led off with a single into right against Brent Teller (0-1) and promptly stole second.  One out later, Joseph Rosa rapped a base hit into right for the first run.  Luis Roman walked with Rosa on the move.  Rosa, thinking he had been tagged out on his slide into second, began to leave the field.  Melvin Mercedes touched him, and, after a conference, Rosa was ruled out.

However, Reece Hampton walked to add a second runner.  Then, the Barnstormers simply could not reach anything the Honey Hunters put into play for the next four batters.  Jake Skole dumped an RBI single into shallow center in front of a diving Devon Torrence.  A desperation throw home by Mercedes allowed runners to advance to second and third.  Alex Holderbach followed with a slow grounder on the left side which ticked off the end of Andretty Cordero’s glove while the third baseman raced to his left.  The ball deflected past shortstop Trace Loehr as two runs scored.  Connor Owings dropped a base hit into left center, and Holderbach scored the fifth run as the ball jumped past Anderson Feliz.  To add the proverbial insult to the injury, Eric Jones dunked a bloop single barely fair down the right field line, and it was 6-0.

A triple by Jack Reinheimer and Roman’s Sac fly created the seventh Gastonia run.  The eighth and ninth tallies scored when Mark Zagunis lost Holderbach’s two-out fly ball to right in the sun.

Gastonia capped its scoring with back-to-back homers by Rosa and Roman with nobody out in the third.  The damage was done; Gastonia managed only an infield single for the remainder of the game.

Cordero was responsible for the entire Lancaster offense.  The third baseman belted a three-run homer to left center in the second, bounced a single off the left field screen in the seventh and capped the day with a solo shot to left center in the ninth.

Spencer Bivens (1-0) fired three shutout innings for the win.

The Barnstormers are off on Monday then open a three-game series against the High Point Rockers on Tuesday at 6:35 from Truist Point.  Cam Gann (0-0) will make the start for Lancaster against fellow right-hander Jheyson Manzueta (0-0).  Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, starting at 6:30.

NOTES:  Cordero is 6-for-15 with the two homers and five RBI…Feliz singled in the eighth to become the only Barnstormer to have hit safely in all four games…The Barnstormers played with only nine available position players for the third straight game…Gastonia did not commit an error in the final 33 innings of the series.