Suns notes - Defense doesn't score runs, but scores wins

May 01, 1999|By BOB PARASILITI

Baseball fans - and sportswriters - can be a superficial lot.

It's a follow-the-ball mentality. Offense wins games. What's the final score, please.

On Monday, the Hagerstown Suns came from behind, using a four-run eighth inning, to take a 4-2 win over Augusta.

While Matt Logan's single drove in the winning run and took all the thunder, it was his and catcher Mike Kremblas' glovework put that the Suns fans - and writer - in a position just to look at the surface of the game.

Kremblas' contribution came in the second to help keep the game scoreless for starter Pasqual Coco. After Jeffrey Key's leadoff walk and two strikeouts, Carlos Rodriguez laced a double to left center field.

Key circled the bases as the Suns got the ball back to the infield. Justin Davies' throw was relayed home by shortstop Felipe Lopez.


"Actually, I thought we had a chance," Kremblas said. "I knew it would be close but if there were good throws, we could get him. I went to deke (decoy) him, but the throw was off line. Then instinct took over."

Key slid but was caught by the block of the plate set by Kremblas' foot. It spun him away from the plate before the ball reached home. Kremblas made the catch and tag for the out.

"I just tried to get a piece of him," Kremblas said. "I knew how the game was going. As a catcher, I knew this would be a big play, one to end the inning and keep them from scoring. They score, it could start a big inning. But Coco doesn't allow a lot of runs but if we didn't stay with their guy, it would be trouble."

Trouble was brewing again. Coco trailed 2-0 with one out, runners on second and third and the infield pulled in for a play at the plate.

Augusta's Angel Santos hit a solid line drive to the right side. Logan laid out for a diving catch to stop the runners in their tracks. Coco got a fly out to end the threat.

"In that situation, all I'm trying to do is prevent the run," Logan said. "I was trying to keep the ball in front of me. The guy hit it down the line and I reacted to it and tried to stop it from squirting through. If it gets by, it's two runs and I don't know if we can come back from four down. A play like that keeps everyone up, the pitcher focused and us alive because we are only two runs down and we get back in the dugout and at bat."

Sounds like good strategy, especially the way the Suns have played lately. Three innings later, Logan proved to be right.

And fans - and the writer - had the numbers to prove it.

This day in history

May 2

* 1998 - The Suns pull a Houdini act, allowing a win to disapear as two wild pitches after an intentional walk allow the Cape Fear Crocs to take a 6-5 victory in the bottom of the ninth.

* 1993 (First year with Toronto) - Mike D'Andrea holds the Suns to two hits in eight innings as the Macon Braves take a 2-1 victory.

* 1992 (Last season as O's Double A) - Manny Alexander's RBI single is one of the few bright spots for the Suns in a 7-3 loss to the New Britian Red Sox.

* 1982 - Suns starter Ken Dixon throws the first shutout of the season, handing the Peninsula Pilots a 3-0 loss in the first game of a seven-game homestand.

Suns alumni

Five former Suns players have played for the Toronto Blue Jays this season and four remain on the roster. Joining outfielder Shannon Stewart and pitcher Tom Davey are first baseman Kevin Witt and pitcher Steve Sinclair. Anthony Sanders, who had two hits in his major league debut, is now back in Syracuse.

At Dunedin, shortstop Cesar Izturus is third in the Florida State League in hitting at. .359 and is in the league's top five in RBIs, hits and triples. Lorenzo Bagley is hitting .353 and pitcher Leo Estrella has a 4-0 record for the first-place Jays.

A look ahead

On Tuesday, Hagerstown begins a six-game homestand with a four-game set with Hickory, the new affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Suns split four games with the Crawdads in Hickory, N.C. to end a season-opening eight game roadtrip.

The Crawdads are led by catcher Rico Washington, who is hitting .344 with four homers and 12 RBIs. First baseman Jay Hobbs is hitting .288 and third baseman Ben Risinger is at .281. Hickory has a strong bullpen, led bu Franklin Bravo with a 1.76 ERA and closer Tony Pavlovich with four saves.

Then the Delmarva Shorebirds come in for another two-game weekend series. The Suns split a pair of games with the Baltimore affiliate last weekend.

The Shorebirds are led by second baseman Craig Daedelow who is hitting .333. Rafael Tapia is their top pitcher at 2-0 with a 2.61 ERA.

At the Stadium ...

The Suns will give away honors and have their first giveaway of the season next week.

The Suns will hold Scout Recognition Night on Friday. Any child who wears a scout uniform to the game will be admitted free.

On Saturday, there will be a golf umbrella giveaway sponsored by Certain Teed Corp. The first 1,000 fans ages 14 and over will receive an umbrella.

Suns spots

* Augusta's four starters had a 0.79 ERA against the Suns, allowing two earned runs and striking out 23 in 23 innings while being swept last week. The bullpen was beat up with a 6.19 ERA, allowing 11 runs in 16 innings. Suns starters had a 2.25 ERA in the series while the relievers had a 1.92.

* Reliever Eric Place hasn't allowed an earned run in 11 innings.

* The Suns played 27 innings in two games on Thursday and Friday. It helped the pitching staff, allowing only four runs (1.33 ERA). It's hurt some hitters, such as Matt Logan, who went 0-for-9, and Juan Nieves, who was 2-for-12, in the marathons.

Bob Parasiliti covers the Hagerstown Suns for The Herald-Mail.

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