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Rainout slows Suns' pursuit of first

June 10, 1998|By CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

Despite having both ends of Tuesday night's doubleheader rained out, the Hagerstown Suns were clearly the losers.

Instead of losing on the scoreboard, the Suns lost in the South Atlantic League Northern Division standings. Hagerstown trailed Cape Fear by three and a half games going into last night's scheduled action, and had an opportunity to close the gap by taking both ends of the twinbill with the first-half title on the line.

If the Suns win all of their remaining six games, Cape Fear would need to lose at least four of its last six for Hagerstown (38-26) to have a chance to claim the first-half championship.

"This hurts," said Suns manager, Marty Pevey of Tuesday's rainouts. "Being the second-place club, we wanted to play these games. But we have no control over the weather."

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To make matters worse, Hagerstown is playing perhaps its best ball of the season, winning 11 of their last 13 games and thrashing Charleston, 20-7, in the nightcap of Monday's doubleheader behind a 17-hit, five-home run attack, while Cape Fear - after a 15-game winning streak to start the season - has been gradually losing ground after its four-game sweep of the Suns in late May. But Pevey isn't too concerned about the possible loss of momentum.

"These players know how to handle that," said the Suns' manager. "We have a young team, but they're very mature. They know how to get ready to play."

While the Suns' scheduled starters tonight - Isabel Giron in the opener and Woody Heath in game two - haven't changed, Charleston has replaced Manny Solano with the more experienced Phil Merrell.

"Solano has only been pitching for about a month," said Pevey. "so they'll have a more experienced pitcher on the mound, which is an advantage for them. But Solano (2-0, 3.18) has a real good arm."

The Alley Cats' 23-41 mark on the season is tied for the worst record in the league, but they will have the opportunity to play the role of spoiler by hosting Cape Fear in the final four games on the first half beginning Thursday.

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