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Barnstormers Fall, 7-6, in Extra Innings

Michael Crouse singled home Anthony Hewitt with the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning to provide the New Britain Bees with a 7-6 victory in the opener of a day-night doubleheader at New Britain Stadium early Thursday afternoon.

That single capped a three-run rally in the eighth after Lancaster had taken the lead in the top of the inning.

Pete Andrelczyk (4-2) opened the eighth, his second inning of work after driving from Lancaster to rejoin the club that morning. He walked Jonathan Roof and Nick Murphy in succession to open the inning, and Hewitt, who homered earlier in the game, followed with a drive off the right center field wall for a two-run double. Cory Burns took over on the mound and got two quick outs before Crouse stroked a line drive toward right center field. Right fielder Sean Halton raced over and made a sensational diving effort only to have the ball squirt off his glove as Hewitt scampered home with the winning run.

The Barnstormers, who were down, 4-0, through four innings, continually put pressure on the New Britain staff with walks and singles, but they never delivered the big blow, stranding 11 runners in their final four innings.

An error by young shortstop Jake McGuiggan kept the fifth inning alive. Blake Gailen singled home one run, and Kevin Ahrens was hit by a pitch to produce a second before the inning ended. Halton brought Lancaster within one with an RBI single in the top of the sixth, and the Barnstormers tied the game later in the inning on a pinch hit sacrifice fly by Mike McDade.

In the eighth, Charlie Cutler led off with a single up the middle and went to second on a one-out base hit by Gailen. Ahrens grounded out against Eric Fornataro for the second out of the inning. With Caleb Gindl on deck, Bees manager Stan Cliburn opted for left-hander Conor LeBlanc, on for his professional debut. LeBlanc walked Gindl on four pitches and did likewise with both Josh Bell and Mike Jacobs to force home runs, giving the ‘Stormers a 6-4 lead.

Brandon Fry (2-2) got Halton to bounce into a force out at third to end the inning.

The night game is scheduled for 6:35. Tanner Peters (4-3) will get the start for the Barnstormers against left-hander Anthony Marzi (1-0), making a spot start for the Bees. Fans many tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel beginning at 6:15.

NOTES: The Barnstormers drew a season high 10 walks…Lancaster has managed only one extra base hit in the series, a double by Josh Bell on Tuesday night in the ninth inning…Hewitt has the only two for New Britain…Bell is batting .385 (15-39) in his last 11 games…Gailen is 9-for-18 (.500) in the last five games on the road…Yusuke Kajimoto took over for Dean Wilson at second base in the sixth inning…He and pitcher Hitoshi Fujie arrived in the US on Monday and rode up with Andrelczyk.