‘Stormers Take First Playoff Tuneup Game
Brooks Hall and the Lancaster Barnstormers bullpen did exactly what will be needed when things are for keeps next week.
Hall (6-1) and four relievers combined on a four-hitter on Friday evening as the Barnstormers defeated the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in the opener of a three-game series at Clipper Magazine Stadium a precursor of the North Division series that will begin on Tuesday.
Southern Maryland opened the scoring as Jack Sundberg reached Hall for a two-out solo homer in the third. It would be the only hit allowed by Hall over the first five innings.
The Barnstormers finally reached Mitch Lambson (8-9) in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Joseph Carpenter banged a line drive to right that went as a double when Jared Walker lost his footing on the play. Jake Hoover singled home the run to tie the game at 1-1 then went to third on a single by Chris Proctor that deflected off Lambson. Melvin Mercedes crept a two-strike single through the right side to score Hoover. The runners advanced on a wild pitch, and Proctor scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Andretty Cordero.
Southern Maryland was given an opening in the seventh when Jacob Barfield misplayed a Joe DeLuca grounder for an error. Zach Collier hit a shallow pop fly to left that was dropped by Carpenter in the midst of a sliding try, and Santiago Chirino drew a walk to load the bases. Brandyn Sittinger struck out the next two before walking Sundberg on a full count pitch to force home a run. Michael Wielansky grounded into a force to close the inning.
Cordero slammed a homer to left with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, and the Barnstormers scored another insurance run as Trayvon Robinson singled through the hole at shortstop, Anderson Feliz walked and Barfield pulled an RBI single into left.
Cam Booser worked through a tough top of the eighth. The lone Lancaster lefty yielded a one-out single to David Harris then walked DeLuca on five pitches. Collier struck out on three, bringing up Chirino as the possible tying run. The recent arrival hit a grounder on the right side which was chased down in the hole by Mercedes. No one covered first, but the Barnstormers got Harris in a rundown.
Dominic DiSabatino, the scheduled starter for Sunday, pitched the ninth for his first save.
Cameron Gann (8-8) will take the mound for the Barnstormers on Saturday against right-hander Eddie Butler (12-5). Fireworks will follow the game. Fans may also tune into the Barnstormers YouTube channel at 6:25.
NOTES: Cordero tied for second in Atlantic League history with 180 hits in a season…He now has 116 RBI…DiSabatino became the fourth Barnstormer with a save in the last 11 days…Lancaster has won Hall’s last eight starts…The Barnstormers still have a chance, with two more wins, to post the best half-season record in franchise history.