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Suns running strong

April 18, 2000|By BOB PARASILITI

Come to think of it, there's a reason why they call them runs.

The Hagerstown Suns have scored many since opening the 2000 season at Municipal Stadium. And the reason why is all in the name.

cont. from sports page

It's because of the way they run.

For such a youthful team, the Suns have shown the start of an expertise for navigating their way around the basepaths. It's even caught manager Rolando Pino by surprise.

"It's a big thing that goes unnoticed," Pino said. "It's gone far past my expectations. You can teach it, but a lot of base running comes from wanting to do it right and this team wants to do it write."

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The Suns (5-5) had a chance to cool their heels when an early shower canceled Monday's Businesspersons' Special afternoon start with the Greensboro Bats. The game will be made up during Hagerstown's May 13-16 trip to Greensboro, N.C.

But the Bats should be glad to get out of town with a 1-2 mark, especially with the way Hagerstown's starting pitching and efficient base running dictated the games.

The Suns scored 26 runs in the three games, an average of 8.67 per game. They did it with just two home runs that generated two of those runs and nine extra-base hits.

Most of the damage was done with Hagerstown's feet.

"We practice it all the time during batting practice and took extra time running the bases while hitting during the spring," Pino said. "The thing that surprises me is the way this team takes extra bases and runs smart to stay out of double plays."

The fleetest of them all may be leadoff hitter Shannon Carter. He opened Friday's home opener by slapping a shot into the left field gap and legged it into a triple. Reed Johnson's ground out gave the Suns a 1-0 lead to start the 13-5 victory

On Saturday, Carter legged out an infield hit to bring home the go-ahead run and set up Johnson's two-run double in a five-run fifth and a 8-5 win.

"It doesn't sound like much, but it can mean the difference of one or two runs a game," Pino said. "That's really important in close games."

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