Cape Fear keeps Suns adrift

June 28, 1998|By BOB PARASILITI

It's getting a little chilly in the Hagerstown Suns clubhouse.

While the rest of the area is sweltering in near 100-degree temperatures, the Suns are 70 degrees off the norm. They are downright frigid.

Another cold front rolled through on Saturday as Cape Fear swatted Hagerstown around for 11 runs before the Suns warmed to the task. It was a little too late though, settling for an 11-4 defeat for their season-high sixth straight loss before 4,585 fans at Municipal Stadium.

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"We went though one of these periods during the first half," Suns manager Marty Pevey said. "Every time we make a mistake, it just snowballs and gets worse. We aren't playing very good right now."


This snowball is the size of Alaska. The Suns (3-7) have stumbled through the last week of play as if they are suffering from snow blindness. And when it comes to playing the Crocs, it will be a cold day in Cape Fear before Hagerstown gets a win.

The Suns are now 3-12 against the Crocs (6-4). The latest slip came courtesy of starting pitcher Matt Blank and leadoff hitter Kenny James.

Blank held the Suns to one run on three hits for six innings while the Crocs' offense supplied all 11 runs by that time. James was the one-man gang, going 4-for-5 with four RBIs and three runs scored. His two-run home run in a three-run third was the beginning of the end of a rough outing for Isabel Giron.

"James has both of their home runs against us and now he's hit two off of Giron," Pevey said. "He just hurt us bad with that home run in the fourth."

That gave the Crocs a 4-0 lead. But Cape Fear followed with a single run in the fourth - with the help of two Josh Phelps errors - and added six in the fifth as Giron led the inning with four straight walks before being lifted.

Giron, who entered the game with the best ERA in the South Atlantic League, was largely ineffective. The right-hander's ERA jumped 82 points from 1.89 to 2.71, dropping from first to eighth in the league. The Suns' league-leading team ERA jumped from 3.09 to 3.20.

"Our guys seem to be getting a little tired right now," Pevey said. "This is the most games most of them have played in their careers. Usually their seasons are over by now. The pitching isn't as good as we had at the end of the first half right now either."

After the 11-run spot, the Suns scored on Greg Morrison's bases-loaded walk in the sixth, Mike Young's bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the seventh and Mike Rodriguez's two-run double in the ninth.

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