Walker's long run lifts Suns, 5-4

May 08, 2001

Walker's long run lifts Suns, 5-4


Mark Walker didn't live up to his name.

It's a good thing, too. Otherwise, he would have been out at the plate by a mile.


The Hagerstown right fielder scored from second base Monday on Nick Wilfong's grounder cued along the first base line for the winning run in the eighth inning to give the Suns a 5-4 victory over the Hickory Crawdads.

"(Manager Bill Hayes) always tells us to anticipate a ball like that," said Walker, who also tripled and scored in the sixth. "When you run like that, they could always make a mistake. They did and they forgot about me."


In a play that was remincient of Willie Mays Hayes' score at the end of the movie "Major League," Walker was off with the crack of the bat after walking and stealing second base against Ben Levesque. Wilfong topped a grounder to first, that bounced off Jeremy Cotten's glove over to second baseman Efrin Espinoza, who threw to Levesque for the putout.

But while the ball was pinballing around the right side of the infield, Walker hit third base with no intentions of stopping and Hayes waving him to the bag.

Levesque fired to Jose Hernandez, but Walker sprinted by the catcher, stepping around the foot he used to block the plate to break the 4-4 tie.

"There was no decision for me," Hayes said. "(Walker) made that play by the way he was running the bases. We talk about running hard and running through bases. When you do that, good thing happen."

It was a great thing for the Suns, who tied their season-high win streak of three games while getting ahead of the .500 mark (16-15).

Hagerstown won more on maneuvering than it did on offense. The Suns scored single runs in five different innings - two on double plays, another on a controversial sacrifice bunt and a fourth on Deivi Santos' RBI single in the seventh after an intense one-on-one battle with pitcher Mike Bumatay which lasted 11 pitches.

"We put ourselves in position and put the ball in play," Hayes said. "We got big hits when we needed, especially from Santos. He battled that lefty, who was really tough, and got the big hit. That's the importance of putting the ball in play."

Jackson Markert allowed two inherited runners to score in the eighth before slamming the door on Hickory in the ninth for the win in relief of starter John Thomas and Julio Pavone.

The Suns scored in the second on singles by Trey Lunsford and Derek Bell and a throwing error before Walker's double play grounder. Lunsford's bases-loaded double play in the third scored Jason Ellison for a 2-0 lead.

Hickory tied the game with two in the fourth, highlighted off Josh Bonifay's RBI single.

Hagerstown regained the lead in the sixth on Walker's triple to right and Wilfong's sacrifice bunt.

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