Southern Maryland Edges ‘Stormers, 3-2
Saturday’s game at Clipper Magazine Stadium was one where the raw data seemed to favor the Lancaster Barnstormers.
Each team committed an error. Both pitching staffs either walked or hit four opposing batters. Each side hit a home run. The teams turned two double plays apiece. In the only discrepancies, the Barnstormers outhit the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs by three and stole two more bases.
Those numbers could not add up to a victory for the ‘Stormers as the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs edged the host club, 3-2.
It was the second straight win for Southern Maryland over the Barnstormers coming out of the All-Star break. Both have been one-run decisions, a category in which Lancaster dropped to 8-20 on the season.
The first inning on Saturday night was ultimately what decided the contest. Antoan Richardson led off the game with a walk against Mike Lee (4-3), stole second and took third on a bunt by D’Arby Myers. Bryant Nelson plated the run with a ground out to second base.
Lancaster had the bigger threat. Jeff Kobernus reached on an infield single, and Kevin Ahrens followed with a ground ball to third that eluded Nelson for an error. The pair pulled off a double steal, putting runners at second and third with nobody out. Brian Burres (7-4) squirmed out of the jam, retiring Caleb Gindl on a weak grounder to third and striking out both Josh Bell and Mike Jacobs in succession.
The Blue Crabs stretched the lead to 3-0 in the fourth when Zach Wilson followed a two-out walk to Gustavo Molina with a home run into the screen in right center.
Sean Halton countered with a solo blast in the bottom of the inning. Lancaster narrowed the gap again in the bottom of the fifth when K.C. Hobson singled to right center and was forced at second by Kobernus. Kobernus swiped his second base of the night. Ahrens was hit by a pitch, and Gindl followed with a single to center.
The Barnstormers managed only one additional hit on the night, a single to center by Bell in the eighth. For the second straight night, Cody Eppley walked a batter early in the ninth inning but allowed nothing else. The Blue Crabs closer earned his 15th save.
Lancaster sends southpaw Kelvin De La Cruz (2-1, 5-7) to the mound on Sunday afternoon against right-hander Gaby Hernandez (1-6). Fans may tune into BRC 11 or the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 1:45.
NOTES: Halton’s home run extended his hitting streak to 14 games, tied for the second longest on the club this season…It was his 14th extra base hit in 17 games…Over the last seven games, Lancaster has scored only one run in 23 1/3 innings off the opposing bullpens…Kobernus has three steals in the series…LHP Anthony Fernandez made his debut for the Barnstormers and picked up four outs on three batters.