Suns provide own fireworks to sweep Hickory

May 30, 1998


Staff Writer

For a split second, Vernon Wells had more moves than a game of Twister.

The only thing that had more gyrations was the ball he hit.

It was all Wells and it ended Wells on Friday, as the Hagerstown center fielder drove in three runs with a first-inning home run and an eighth-inning double to lead the Suns to a 5-0 victory over Hickory to complete a four-game sweep before a season-high 5,466 fans for Fireworks Night at Municipal Stadium.

Wells' gestures wouldn't make anyone forget Michael Jackson or Carlton Fisk and his famous World Series home run, but they all but willed the ball out of the park. He slapped at Miguel Felix's pitch and shook, rattled and rolled while waiting to see the result.


"I didn't know what it was going to do," Wells said. "I have never had a ball that I pulled react like that before. I was hoping (Hickory) didn't think I was trying to watch it.

"I thought it was going foul and I was getting back into the box."

The spin off the end of the bat put an unnatural motion on the ball, slicing it back into fair territory. Hickory left fielder Brett Caradonna drifted over to try and make a play on the ball, but ran out of room as it flew over the 335 mark, just inside the foul pole.

"I wasn't sure it was out, but I thought it had a chance," said Suns manager Marty Pevey, who was coaching third base. "That ball started out five to 10 feet foul but came back and went over the fence fair by 10 feet."

Wells' sixth home run scored Jesse Zepeda, who reached on a one-out walk, and gave starter Woody Heath and two Suns relievers all the support they needed to shut down the Crawdads (17-38). It was the fourth straight win for the Suns (31-24), who are now in second place in the South Atlantic League's Northern Division.

"It was an outstanding job by all three of our guys," Pevey said. "Woody did an outstanding job. He pitched tonight, he didn't throw. He changes speed and works the ball in an out."

Hagerstown staked Heath to a 4-0 lead after two innings as Greg Morrison and Tony Peters singled and scored on Mike Young's two-out double down the left-field line.

Joe Casey and Matt Weimer followed Heath to the mound to work the final three innings to nail down the shutout. The trio scattered six hits and struck out 12 Crawdads.

Wells put the finishing touches on the scoring in the eighth after a 43-minute rain delay. With Zepeda on first, Wells lined Jose Lopez's first pitch after the delay into the left-center field gap to for his third RBI.

"We had great table setters today," Pevey said. "We did a great job getting on and they did a great job knocking them in. Zepeda's hit wasn't a big one, but it meant a lot to keep things going."

Young finished with three hits while Peters and Wells had two each.

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