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Suns see another win slip away

May 24, 2000|By DAN SPEARS

Hagerstown Suns manager Rolando Pino is almost at a loss for words when it comes to explaining how his team allowed another late lead slip away - almost.

Tuesday night's 6-5 loss in 10 innings to the Hickory Crawdads at Municipal Stadium was another lesson in frustration for the Suns (22-24), one Pino thought they would avoid.

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"This one's real tough," Pino said. "I can't tell you how many times we've done this. The guys keep fighting, but it's tough when you can't hold onto one."

Of all people to teach them the lesson, it was Hickory shortstop Jose Castillo.

Castillo had already made four errors in the game, leading to three Suns runs. He had been caught stealing. In the 10th, though, he hit a solo homer into the Suns bullpen to win the game.

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"Hey, give the guy credit," Pino said. "He got something to drive, and he hit it out."

Castillo's improbable move from goat to hero capped a thoroughly weird night.

Threatening storm clouds hovered for the last seven innings, but only opened for about two minutes. Meanwhile, the Suns had hits in every inning but the first on the way to a 4-2 lead after seven.

Newcomer Paul Chiaffredo hit a solo homer in the third before the Suns got unearned runs in the third and fifth, thanks to Castillo. In the seventh, Chris Weekly's double drove in Reed Johnson for a two-run cushion that Rob Hamann promptly blew in the eighth.

Relieving Justin Stine with one on and one out, Hamann got a strikeout before an RBI single by J.R. House and a two-run homer by Jeremy Cotten, his second of the night, made it 5-4 Hickory.

The Suns tied it in the eighth on another unearned run that was knocked in by Aaron Fera's double. They had a shot to win in the ninth, but, right after the clouds finally opened, Robert Cosby grounded into a double play with the bases loaded.

After Castillo's homer, Chiaffredo doubled with one out in the 10th for his fourth hit of the night, but D.J. Carrasco got the next two Suns batters for the win.

"It's a shame, because Aaron Dean (6 2/3 innings, five hits, four Ks) pitched a heck of a game," Pino said. "But we've played real well for 10 days, and blown leads will happen. You just have to bounce back. And I think we will."

Tonight




Hickory Crawdads

Justin Reid (1-2, 3.96)

at Hagerstown Suns

Travis Hubbel (4-2, 3.53)

Promotion: Reduced-price beverages throughout the park

Time: 7

Radio: WHAG 1410

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