THE MELVIN SHOW, NOT ENOUGH - Lancaster Barnstormers
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THE MELVIN SHOW, NOT ENOUGH

Melvin Mercedes put on a spectacular defensive display on Saturday evening at Clipper Magazine Stadium.

The Lancaster second baseman took away three hits up the middle and another in the hole, but his efforts were not enough as the Long Island Ducks beat the Barnstormers, 6-2, sending the host club to its seventh straight loss.

On the first two plays of the game, Mercedes robbed Vladimir Frias and Steve Lombardozzi on grounders up the middle, making throws from shallow center after racing to make lunging backhanded stops.

Perhaps an even better play came to close the Ducks third when Mercedes, in his first start since breaking his hand on July 18, went headlong into center to save a one-hopper by Chris Shaw and turned it into the final out.

For his final act, Mercedes raced into the hole to snuff out a base hit attempt by pinch hitter Jesse Berardi in the eighth.

He just couldn’t save everything.

In the top of the second, L.J. Mazzilli led off with a double just over the head of right fielder Blake Gailen.  Mercedes caught a harmless pop up by Deibinson Romero, but his best efforts could not pick up an out on the next play.  Shaw hit a ground ball to the second baseman’s left.  Mercedes reached the ball but found first base uncovered.  He raced to the bag barely missing the out on Shaw with a sliding attempt.

A wild pitch by Augie Sylk (4-5) scored Mazzilli, and Sal Giardina walked.  Ramon Flores stroked a liner into shallow left center on which Alejandro De Aza’s diving try came up just short.  Shaw scored, but LeDarious’ Clark was able to back up the play and cut down Giardina with a perfect relay.

A sacrifice fly by Romero in the third stretched the lead to 3-0.

Blake Gailen reached Joe Iorio (10-2) for a two-run homer in the home fourth, but Lancaster was shut down the rest of the night on only three other hits, two by first baseman Kelly Dugan.

Long Island pulled away in the sixth.  After Sylk retired the first two batters, Ramon Flores walked.  Johnni Turbo dribbled a grounder to third.  Blake Allemand was forced to rush the throw and skipped it into the crowd with runners reaching second and third.  Frias drove home both runners with a single just to the left of second base.  Giardina forced home the final run with a bases loaded walk in the seventh.

Sylk lasted 6 2/3 innings throwing a season-high 143 pitches.

The Barnstormers and Ducks will play a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon at 1:00.  Lancaster will send Dominic DiSabatino (9-6) and Brent Teller (3-0) to the mound.  Long Island counters with lefty Darin Downs (3-4) and right-hander Scott Harkin (5-0).  Fans may tune into the YouTube broadcast beginning at 12:55.

NOTES:  Scott Shuman pitched a hitless ninth and has allowed only one earned run since July 15, a stretch covering 22 innings…Gailen’s homer was his 15th of the season and 114th as a Barnstormer.