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Suns fight better fight, still lose

June 16, 2002|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

You could classify it as resistance.

For the last two days, Hagerstown manager Mike Ramsey was hoping the Suns would make it tough for Hickory to claim at least a piece of the South Atlantic League Northern Division's first-half title. Instead they fell as flat as a bogie board.

Saturday, the Suns finally put up a fight. Unfortunately, it was like getting up on a nine count in the final round of a 12-round affair.

The Crawdads continued their march a title with the help of nine walks, overwhelming Hagerstown for the third straight night, this time by a 12-5 count. Hickory has outscored the Suns 35-9 in the first three games of the series.

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Hagerstown (33-36) fell behind 12-2 after the eighth, ending any chance of finishing the first half at .500, but managed a three-run homer from Justin Knoedler for an air of respectability.

"We showed some fight, but after going down by a couple of touchdowns, it was going to be too late," Ramsey said. "(Hickory) is just swinging the bats too well. The late innings gave us something to build on, but they whacked us again."

Suns starter Anthony Pannone was off his game before Hagerstown's largest home crowd of the season - 4,396 fans - with four walks in five innings that came back to haunt him.

Two of the walks led to Hickory's first runs, scoring on a Pannone wild pitch and Manny Ravelo's RBI single. The Crawdads doubled the lead on Jeremy Harts' two-run homer in the fourth.

Hickory chased Pannone after the fifth inning with three unearned runs, highlighted by Chris Shelton and Harts RBI doubles.

"If Pannone doesn't walk four, he'd had given us a better outing," Ramsey said. "Even down 7-0, we had a chance to get back into the game. They just hit all our mistakes."

Todd Uzell allowed five runs in his Hagerstown debut to extend the deficit to 12-0.

The Suns finally showed life in the seventh on help of run-scoring singles by Tomas Garrido and Bryan Carter. In the ninth, Hagerstown greeted Brian Jackson with a lead-off single by Robbie Meyer and a double by Mark Walker before Knoedler's fourth homer.

"We've made it easy on them because we haven't hit well or pitched well," Ramsey said. "I still think things will be better in the second half."

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