Ross Peeples’ starting lineup for Sunday afternoon appeared to have a mistake.
It was not an error. It was just a sign of the lack of healthy bodies at the tail end of a long week.
The Lancaster Barnstormers, playing without a DH, dropped a 5-1 decision to the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs on Sunday afternoon as the North Division leaders completed a three-game sweep at Clipper Magazine Stadium.
Lancaster went without a DH, knowing that starter Chase Johnson had, at best two or three innings to give after throwing four innings in a spot start on Thursday night. As it turned out, the move was brilliant – the DH would not have batted.
Johnson (1-4) yielded three runs on a triple by Braxton Lee in the top of the first and was pulled after the opening inning. A Herculean effort by Bret Clarke kept Lancaster in the game. The right-handed reliever, who threw 2 2/3 innings on Wednesday and another 1 1/3 on Friday, checked the Southern Maryland offense on two hits over the next five innings.
Kelly Dugan, with his fourth homer of June and 16th of the season, pulled the ‘Stormers within two to start the fourth inning.
The Barnstormers were unable to draw closer. In the sixth, LeDarious Clark led off with a double off Daryl Thompson (5-2) before the right-hander picked him off second base. Andretty Cordero followed with a single to left, but Lancaster could make no more of the inning. Trayvon Robinson opened the eight with a double to left but never was able to vacate the second base bag.
Clarke left with Joe DeLuca at second and two outs in the seventh inning. Matt Hibbert greeted Tyler Suellentrop with a fly ball that landed inches fair down the right field line to extend the lead to 4-1.
A sac fly by Zach Collier in the ninth produced the final score.
Thompson pitched eight innings, yielding six hits and a run. He walked one and struck out five in notching his 81st career Atlantic League win, the all-time record.
Lancaster will host Staten Island in a three-game series starting on Tuesday. The Barnstormers will send RHP Oscar De La Cruz (2-0) to the mound. Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube channel, starting at 6:25.
NOTES: Dugan has homered five times in his last 12 at bats off Southern Maryland and has four homers and 11 RBI in five June games…Clark has hit safely in 24 of 28; Cordero in 16 of 19…Suellentrop was not charged with a run for the 10th straight appearance…Josh Graham was charged with his first earned run since May 18.