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Gold-medal performance wins it for Suns

July 27, 1999|By BOB PARASILITI

The game of baseball turned into a decathlon on Monday at Municipal Stadium.

Justin Davies won the sprint. Ryan Bundy threw a hammer. And two umpires looked to make a long jump to safety after the Hagerstown Suns won a marathon.

Davies' speed turned a two-bounce, double play special into a game-winning fielder's choice - with the help of a Bundy takeout block on second baseman Jeff Powers - to score Orlando Hudson with the winning run in the Suns' 6-5 victory over the Columbus RedStixx at Municipal Stadium.

"I don't know if I've ever ran faster before in my life," said Davies, who ended a game marred by controversial calls. "I was just trying to put the ball in play. I wanted to hit a fly ball, but luckily, I hit a chopper. I knew it was going to be tough."

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With the bases loaded and one out, Davies only needed a deep fly to end the game against Rob Vael (2-3). But instead, with a 2-0 count, Davies topped the ball and bounced it to second.

Powers charged the ball, moving him into the baseline. Bundy held his line and ran into, Powers for the force out.

"I saw the ball in front of me and I knew I had to stay out of the double play," Bundy said. "I knew I had to take the guy out. The last thing I wanted to see was a ball on the ground ... I just tried to get him."

The block slowed Powers' attempt for the double play, giving the speedy Davies the split second he needed to reach base for the game-winning RBI.

After the play, Columbus players charged umpires Todd Parker and Joe Johnson, who had controversy following them the last half of the game. They were swarmed and bumped leaving the field.

"When I saw that he had to tag Bundy, I knew it would be easier because it turned him around," Davies said. "I was just trying to get there to prevent the double play."

The victory allowed the Suns to salvage a game they had won five innings earlier.

Starter Pat Lynch controlled the RedStixx for seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits. But Carlos Alvarez clubbed a game-tying two-run home run with two outs in the ninth off closer Jarrod Kingrey to keep Columbus alive.

Hagerstown took a 3-0 lead after three innings on an RBI double by Joe Dusan in the second and a run-scoring single by Tyler Thompson and RBI double by Hudson in the third.

Columbus got two runs back until Jeff Maloney led off the fifth with a his sixth homer. Orlando Woodards (6-3) got the win with one inning of relief.

"I saw they had the midfielders back and knew it would be tough for them to turn a double play," Suns manager Rolando Pino said. "Bundy did a great job and it's tough to double up Davies on a grounder."

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