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Suns come home with a bang

July 24, 1998|By BOB PARASILITI

The Hagerstown Suns took the easy way out on Thursday.

It was easier to grab extra bases than it was to steal them. Easier to explode for runs than to manufacture them. And most of all, it's much, much easier to trot around the bases than run them.

Hagerstown's John Sneed shut down Capital City's vaunted running game while Bobby Cripps and Mike Young provided major lifts with two hits and two RBIs each to carry the Suns to a 7-2 South Atlantic League victory.

The Suns (13-21, 57-47 overall) shut down the Bombers, who had stolen 225 bases entering the game, by scoring early with the help of seven extra-base hits, and Sneed earned his 11th win by slowing tempo of the game.

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"We do that a lot of the time in a lot of games," Suns manager Marty Pevey said. "On this team, I found out that when we run, we get ourselves into trouble."

Cripps led the way with his 23nd home run of the season - a two-run shot in the first - and a leadoff triple in the two-run fourth. Young continued his hot hitting with a pair of RBI doubles.

"It was one of those games where that was the team out there that won the first half," Cripps said. "We all contributed in our own ways. It was all about picking each other up."

The offense picked up Sneed, scoring early, while the right-hander changed his game to slow the Bombers on the bases.

"They had three guys in the lineup who had stolen 35 bags," Sneed said. "The running game is big for them. I was holding the ball a little longer and using the slide step to the plate to keep them close. They battled me good, but the run support made things a lot easier."

After the Suns took a 4-1 lead in the fourth, Sneed (11-2) got into normal rhythm with his fastball, dominating the game with eight strikeouts in seven innings. Colin Brackeen struck out four of the six batters he faced to seal the victory.

"The fans didn't understand what we were trying to do there," Pevey said. "I was the one slowing John down. Then we went out there and told him just to use the fastball because they were having trouble hitting him."

Greg Morrison stroked a two-out single off Bombers' starter Tyler Walker and rode home on Cripps' blast to right for the 2-1 lead. The Suns doubled the advantage in the fourth when Lorenzo Bagley scored Cripps on a fielder's choice before Young's first RBI double to left.

Young hit his second RBI double in the two-run sixth and scored on Luis Morillo's single for the 6-1 lead. After Capital City scored in the seventh, Bagley ripped his 11th homer to lead off the eighth.

Capital City took a 1-0 lead in the first as Maurice Bruce lead off with a single and took third when Sneed threw away a pickoff throw before scoring on Cesar Crespo's grounder to short.

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