Suns win

July 31, 1998|By BOB PARASILITI

It had all the feel of baseball's version of ancient water torture.

Rip. Rip. Rip. In slow, agonizing fashion, the Hagerstown Suns took their time beating up on Cape Fear starter Edward Quezada in the third inning on Wednesday.

It took 25 minutes and five singles for the Suns to score three runs, but it was more than enough to support a very patient John Sneed in a 9-1 South Atlantic League victory.

The Suns played fundamentally sound, station-to-station baseball as runners circled the bases in merry-go-round fashion. It was one of the most deliberate rallies of the year for Hagerstown (17-23, 61-49 overall), which notched its season-best third straight win over the Crocs.


"I love an inning like that," Suns manager Marty Pevey said. "Usually we score six runs on five hits, including a three-run home run and a solo shot. This time, we were taking what he was giving us, staying back and hitting line drives."

The long wait between innings was about the only thing that stopped Sneed along the way of his league-leading 12th victory. The right-hander came out of the dugout during the long rally to throw and keep his arm warm along the right-field fence.

"I love the runs, but the flip side to it is your arm can get stiff while sitting on the bench," Sneed said. "It's happened to me before, but I got up and got a couple of throws. The run support was great and our defense was outstanding behind me today."

Sneed's 6-1 lead after three innings was more than enough to rock the Crocs (20-20, 63-47). He pitched eight innings, allowing one run and striking out nine, while Hagerstown's defense turned four double plays to finish the job.

"John really labored in the first four innings, but I think the extra rest in the third really helped him," Pevey said.

The win didn't come without cost for Hagerstown.

The Suns started the game without Mike Strange, who is out for a week with a sore shoulder, and Chris Hayes was scratched from the lineup after being hit in the ear with a ball during pregame drills. First baseman Greg Morrison left the game in the third inning with a deep cut on his throwing hand.

And to top it off, Mike Rodriguez was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse after the game to help with the SkyChiefs' injury problems.

But on Wednesday, fun was fun.

Tony Peters gave the Suns a 1-0 lead with a solo homer in the first. Hagerstown upped the lead to 3-1 in the second without benefit of a hit and Josh Phelps' sacrifice fly.

Phelps scored a run in the sixth and drove in the final two of his three RBIs with a double in the seventh to close the scoring.

In the third, Randy Albaral led off with a single and took second on Quezada throwing error. One out later, the Suns used four consecutive singles to take the 6-1 lead.

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