Bombers blast away Sun offense

July 26, 1998|By BOB PARASILITI

When the Hagerstown Suns unload the heavy artillery, they have become tough to beat.

But on Friday, they wheeled out some of their lesser caliber offense ... and it's tough to conquer an opponent when you're wielding squirt guns and pea shooters.

Capital City starter Leoncio Estrella disarmed Hagerstown's suddenly rejuvenated batting order, holding the Suns to five singles through eight innings to help the Bombers to a 2-1 victory before 3,273 Firework Night fans at Municipal Stadium.

"You can't go into battle without your guns," Suns manager Marty Pevey said. "You can't just go out there and depend on hitting two-run and three-run home runs every night to win games."


Estrella allowed Capital City (21-14, 68-36 overall) to turn the game into a battle of chess, magnifying the importance of each hit and play.

Thomas Johnson greeted Suns reliever Brian Bowles (2-3) with a blast to the left-field wall, and Tony Peters fell trying to make the play. It turned into a leadoff triple, and Johnson scored on Brandon Copeland's sacrifice fly to center field for what proved to be the winning run.

The Suns (13-22, 57-48 overall) squandered a chance to tie the game in the eighth. Pinch hitter Chris Hayes was hit with Estrella's first pitch of the inning. Hagerstown tried to move the potential tying run to second with a bunt, but Peters pushed the ball to Estrella coming off the mound, who threw to second for a forceout.

With no runner in scoring position, pinch hitter Lorenzo Bagley flew to center and Greg Morrison grounded to second to end the inning.

"You have to be able to execute to win the war," Pevey said.

The game began as a pitching duel between Estrella and Suns ace Clayton Andrews.

Hagerstown took a 1-0 lead in the second as Vernon Wells drew a one-out walk before stealing second base and taking third on catcher Jason Phillips' errant throw. He scored on Jesse Zepeda's ground single up the middle through Capital City's drawn in infield.

After that, it was all Estrella (10-7), who allowed singles in the second through sixth innings while walking two and striking out three. Hagerstown had entered the game with six straight games of 10 or more hits.

"He just did a great job," Pevey said. "He didn't keep us off balance because he was throwing 91-94 mph, but he was doing that with good movement on his pitches and it was tough to hit."

Andrews wiggled out of two threats with the help of two pickoff plays. Catcher Josh Phelps gunned down Maurice Bruce, picking him off second base, in the first and caught Jersen Perez in a rundown between second and third base in the fourth.

Capital City broke through to tie the game at 1-1 in the fifth as Johnson led off with a double to right center, took third on Copeland's groundout and scored on Phillips' single past a diving Zepeda down the third-base line.


Capital City Bombers

(Todd Cutchins, 9-7, 4.03)


Hagerstown Suns

(Isabel Giron, 9-9, 2.68)

  • Game Time: 7:05 p.m.
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  • Homestand Ends: Thursday
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