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Suns rev up the comeback train

June 26, 1999|By BOB PARASILITI

Someone forgot to tell Mike Kremblas that he's a catcher with marginal speed, not a leadoff hitter.

For the matter, tap Justin Davies on the shoulder and remind him he is that leadoff-type hitter, not a power monger.

For the Hagerstown Suns, it's a good thing both suffered from momentary amnesia. Kremblas laid down a crucial, two-strike sacrifice bunt to advance runners, allowing Davies to muscle a deep sacrifice fly to left to score the winning run Friday in a three-run eight inning and give the Suns a come-from-behind 9-8 victory before 3,010 Bat Day fans at Municipal Stadium.

It was a victory in first-half fashion for the Suns, who again came back from a six-run deficit in the late innings against an opposing team's bullpen. But this time it was different. It was the new-look Suns starting the second half of the South Atlantic League season.

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"This victory here ... it might be the biggest win for us," Suns manager Rolando Pino said. "I know we won the first half, but this was a game we got behind, could have hung our heads and started this half 0-2. We showed what kind of character. Only time will tell how important this will be."

A bold statement, considering this was the first-half Northern Division champions' 49th win in 73 games this season. They are used to games like this.

"How many times have we done this in the first half?" Davies said. "We have confidence we can do this every time. We got into their 'pen and it's a matter of who's at the plate at the time."

It was Davies' turn, but not before a steady flow of action which muddied the waters beforehand.

The Suns (1-1, 49-24) trailed 3-0 and then 8-2 after a five-run seventh inning capped by Wally Harris' three-run homer, his first in his first game with Delmarva. The Suns scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh, highlighted by Jorge Nunez's opposite-field three-run shot to left.

After Mike Stafford (3-1) slowed Delmarva in the eighth, the Suns went back to work.

Orlando Hudson led off with a double to chase reliever Jordan Romero. Joe Dusan greeted Randy Perez (0-2) with an RBI double, followed by walk to Matt Logan and an RBI single by Ryan Fleming to cut the deficit to 8-7.

"Before his at-bat, Kremblas came up to me and said that he was going to go up there and do his job and move the runners over," Davies said. "Then he said that would set it up for me to knock in the winning run so we could all go home early."

Kremblas got three straight bunt signs from Pino at third base. He fouled off the first two and pulled back on a high pitch from Simon Theodile for a 2-1 count. Pino took off the sign, and Kremblas fouled off the fourth pitch.

But on the fifth, Kremblas decided to bunt on his own, pushing the ball down the first base line to move the runners.

"I consider myself a pretty good bunter and was mad that I didn't get the job done," Kremblas said. "When I swung and fouled off the pitch, I gave the idea I wasn't bunting. I felt real comfortable about going down the first-base line."

Davies held up his end of the bargain, the Suns and the full stadium home happy.

"That was teamwork right there," Kremblas said. "I could strike out four times in a game and I'll still come up the next time and give myself up to move runners. I'd do that any day for a win."

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