The first game mattered only for pride. The second game mattered much more. Southern Maryland won both.
As the first half of the season drew closer to an official end, and the second half began, the Blue Crabs swept a doubleheader from the Lancaster Barnstormers, 8-3 and 6-0.
In the nightcap, the crowd was taken to the edge of their seats into the seventh inning as local star and longtime Blue Crabs starter Daryl Thompson had a perfect game in progress. He retired Darian Sandford for his 19th consecutive out setting up a battle against Lancaster shortstop Michael Martinez. Martinez fought to a 2-2 count before lashing a line drive off Thompson’s leg. The ball deflected into foul territory up the first base line. Catcher Charlie Valerio made a desperate attempt to get the out at first, but his throw was late. The perfect game and no-hitter were lost.
Thompson (7-6) calmly retired the next two batters to complete the one-hit shutout as the Blue Crabs took the second half opener from the Barnstormers.
The right-hander got all the support he needed in the bottom of the second. With one out Jonathan Albaladejo (1-5) walked Cory Vaughn. Valerio forced him at second before Rubi Silva took Albaladejo onto the picnic deck in left field for a two-run homer.
Jon Griffin walked, and Josh McAdams singled to right to continue the uprising. Kent Blackstone went down swinging on a 3-2 pitch, but the ball eluded Parker Morin who could not locate it until it was too late. Edwin Garcia capped the four-run inning with a two-run single to right.
The Blue Crabs scored two more in the sixth on an RBI bloop single by Garcia and a clean single to right by Valerio.
In the opener, a six-run fourth inning proved to be the difference. Garrett Granitz (0-1) retired Vaughn on a fly out to left, but Rubi Silva reached on a throwing error from shortstop Zach Shank. Tony Thomas doubled home the run for a 3-1 lead. Garcia singled into right, and catcher Mike Falsetti staked the Crabs to a 4-1 lead with a carbon copy of the Garcia hit. Granitz walked Blackstone to load the bases, ending his night. Christian Meister served up three consecutive bases loaded walks, and Vaughn greeted Caleb Gindl with a sac fly to right.
Four of Lancaster’s five hits off Kyle Simon (1-1, 2-4) were for extra bases, including Destin Hood’s first Atlantic League home run. Devon Torrence drove in the other two Lancaster runs on outs.
Dean Green homered in the second for Southern Maryland.
The Barnstormers and Blue Crabs continue the series on Saturday evening. Lancaster will send Buddy Baumann (2-7) to the mound against right-hander Michael Kelly (3-5). Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 6:15.
NOTES: Both Simon and Torrence went the distance…Pedro Echemendia allowed two hits but struck out four…The right-hander has logged eight scoreless innings since joining the Barnstormers in late June.