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Noel Scampers Home for 2-1 Victory
Rico Noel had to take a gamble that James Skelton did not know where the baseball was.
Noel raced home with the tiebreaking run in the top of the eighth inning on a Brandon League wild pitch to give the Barnstormers a 2-1 victory over the New Britain Bees in the opener of a four-game series.
The Barnstormers second baseman led off the eighth with a ground single through the right side and took third when Steve Clevenger lined a single toward the right field line. With the count 1-2 on Cole Garner, Brandon League (0-1) bounced a pitch that never left the home plate area, spinning to a halt in the left side batters box. Skelton, the Bees catcher, broke toward the backstop, and Noel raced home to break the 1-1 tie.
After misfiring on a pair of early opportunities, the Barnstormers grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth. Nate Coronado led off the inning with a single to left field. The Barnstormers shortstop stole second and went to third as Skelton’s throw bounced into center. Former Phillies right-hander Jonathan Pettibone retired Tyler Clark on a grounder to second with the runner holding at third, but Beau Amaral was able to get a ball through the middle for an RBI single.
New Britain tied the game on three walks and a bloop single off Kevin Munson in the bottom of the sixth, but Kaohi Downing entered the mound and notched two strikeouts to escape the inning.
Daniel Moskos (4-1) picked up the final out in the seventh to earn the win. Anthony Carter pitched a perfect ninth for his 19th save.
Tommy Shirley pitched five scoreless innings as the Barnstormers starter, allowing three hits and two walks. The lefty struck out four after shortening his windup before the start.
The clubs return to the field at 12:05 Tuesday afternoon. Lancaster will send Bryan Evans (6-3) to the hill against Brian Dupra (3-7). Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 11:45.
NOTES: Lancaster won for the first time this season without scoring three or more runs…The ‘Stormers are 10 games over .500 for the season for the first time…Sean Halton was hit by a pitch for the ninth time, taking the league lead…Noel stole second and third in the first inning and now stands just two behind Darian Sandford for the league lead…Noel has 31…Carter recorded his 18th straight save…Downing threw his 16th straight scoreless appearance.