Suns split first-half finishers...

June 18, 2000|By BOB PARASILITI

The Hagerstown Suns had a chance to end the South Atlantic League's first half in grand fashion.

But why ad-lib when you already know the script?

cont. from sports page

The Suns blew their opportunity to end the half with a 35-35 record as closer Hugo Castellanos was roughed up for four runs in the seventh to surrender a 6-3 victory to the Capital City Bombers as the rain-drenched four-game series between also-rans finally ended mercifully.

Hagerstown won the opener, a completion of Saturday's suspended game, using Chris Weekly's fifth-innng grand slam to overcome a 2-1 deficit for a 8-2 victory. It was the Suns' third-straight win and put them on the verge of their first series sweep.

Guess again.

"It's been the same thing all year," Suns manager Rolando Pino said. "We can't get past three. We win three in a row. We lose three in a row. We can't get past three."


The Suns looked primed to break the trend, especially while playing Capital City (26-44), which occupied last in the Southern Division. The Bombers obliged with some help.

Capital City first baseman Craig Brazell treated Mike Snyder's fifth-inning grounder like a greased pig, letting it squirt out of his glove to allow Reed Johnson and Ryan Bundy to score for a 3-2 lead. That erased Marvin Seale's two-run homer in the top of the inning against starter Matt Ford.

Hagerstown turned to Castellanos, the team's newly designated closer, to balance the record. But Castellanos (0-1) loaded the bases before hitting Williamport's Eric Guyton with a pitch to tie the game. Justin Stine replaced him and surrendered a base-clearing double to Pat Deschenes as the Bombers blew the game open.

"We had the lead and couldn't hold it," Pino said. "I went out to talk to Hugo and told him to relax and throw strikes, but he didn't have command of his control today."

Johnson and Bundy drew leadoff walks against Bomber closer Pat Gorman as rain began to pour. The Suns ended the first half with a whimper, failing to find the clutch hit to tie the game.

In the suspended game, the Suns failed to score Alex Rios, who tripled before the suspension of the Saturday's game, with no outs. Weekly righted the wrong with his blast to right field, which came on a 2-0 pitch that got reliever Scott Polk and Bombers manager John Stephenson ejected for arguing balls and strikes.

Hagerstown added three runs in the sixth keyed by an RBI single by Weekly and Brandon Jackson's sacrifice fly.

The Suns enter the three-day all-star break with a 34-36 record, good for sixth in the Northern Division. Ford is Hagerstown's only representative in Tuesday's All-Star Game in Charleston, S.C.

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