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Barnstormers Finally Beat Southern Maryland, Extend Lead to Five

David Harris clubbed a game-tying two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, but the Lancaster Barnstormers were able to piece together two runs off Southern Maryland defensive mistakes in the top of the tenth to pull out a 5-3 win at Regency Furniture Stadium.

The win, Lancaster’s first in 12 tries against the Blue Crabs this season, gives the ‘Stormers a five-game lead over Southern Maryland in the North Division with 15 games left to play.  A tie sends Lancaster to the playoffs.

West Tunnell (6-1) took a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth.  Jack Sundberg whistled a line drive into Jack Sundberg’s glove for the first out.  Michael Baca walked, but Tunnell was able to retire Braxton Lee on a grounder to first for the second out.  Harris forced the count to 3-2, barely remained alive as two foul pop ups made it off the field, then belted his second homer of the night for a 3-3 tie, sending the game to extra innings.

For the first nine innings, the Blue Crabs played airtight defense.  That did not hold in the extra frame.

With Trace Loehr at second, Melvin Mercedes struck out.  Catcher Joe DeLuca dropped the pitch, then missed getting Mercedes at first.  Trayvon Robinson bunted toward the mound.  James Dykstra (0-2) dropped the bunt, then made a wild throw to first.  Ian Yestko backed up the play.  Loehr attempted to score, drawing a wild throw from Yetsko that allowed Mercedes to score as well for the 5-3 lead.  Dykstra retired the Barnstormers in order afterward.

Cam Booser slammed the door on the Blue Crabs in the bottom of the tenth, striking out two, for his first save.

Lancaster had taken a 3-0 lead in the fifth against starter Mitch Lambson.  With one out, Loehr and Mercedes drew consecutive walks.  Robinson banged a single, the second of his three hits into left center to score Loehr.  Andretty Cordero was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  Colton Shaver yanked a line drive to deep left.  Sundberg made a diving catch, but Mercedes tagged and scored.  Anderson Feliz added an RBI single for a 3-0 edge.

Erik Manoah was working on a one-hit shutout into the bottom of the seventh when Harris connected for the first time on the night with two outs.  Manoah finished the seventh with no walks and five strikeouts before turning the ball over to Josh Graham in the eighth.

Nile Ball (9-4) will make the start for the Barnstormers on Saturday against Daryl Thompson (13-3), who will be pitching on three days rest.  Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube channel, starting at 6:30.

NOTES:  Lancaster’s magic number fell to 10…The wild card leads remained at one-half over High Point and two over Kentucky…Long Island dropped to six back…Robinson has eight hits in the last three games…Cordero doubled in the first for his 164th hit, 10 from the team record…Booser has fanned five of seven batters over his last two appearances.