Home opener sour for Suns

April 11, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

Hagerstown Suns manager Mike Ramsey was looking for a big eraser on Thursday.

It was one of those games that minor league managers swallow hard and chalk up to experience. Unfortunately for the Suns, the chalk was made with indelible ink.

A misplayed fly ball by left fielder Carlos Sosa led to seven unearned runs in the second innings, giving Hagerstown that "fingernails on the blackboard" feeling in a 9-1 loss to Lexington in the home opener at Municipal Stadium.

"Can we start over again?" Ramsey joked. "We had a tough inning where we gave them a couple of extra outs and they took advantage of it. I talked about how good our defense was and we made three errors today. Hopefully we won't have many of those innings this year."


Sosa's error didn't hurt the Suns (3-3) as much as the chain of events which followed. Hagerstown starter Daniel Portorreal (1-1) became upset with the play and lost his focus on the task at hand - getting the Legends out without any further damage. Instead, he added a walk, a balk and two hit batters onto the problem.

Lexington finished with seven unearned runs on just four hits - including two-run singles by Cameron Lackey and Brooks Conrad.

The inning started innocently enough with Steve Checksfield reaching on a one-out single. Ryan Kochen followed with a fly into the crosswind from right field. Sosa broke back and then began trotting in until the wind forced the ball straight down, where it ticked off of Sosa's glove to put runners on second and third.

Mark Obradovich flew to left as Sosa made a diving catch resulting in a sacrifice fly and the 1-0 lead. Without Sosa's error, that would have been the third out and the game would have remained scoreless.

"I thought (Sosa) was too casual," Ramsey said. "He started to come in and wasn't busting it when the wind took it down. But Portorreal could have cut down the inning, but he started to overthrow and hit a couple of guys. You talk about big innings and trying not to give extra outs. They got them and capitalized on it."

Meanwhile, Lexington starter Cory Doyne (1-0) kept the Suns from any semblance of a comeback. The right hander held Hagerstown to three hits over seven innings while striking out nine.

"We had a chance but we couldn't put anything together," Ramsey said. "You have to give credit to their pitcher. He did a nice job spotting his pitches."

After reliever Josh Cram pitched three scoreless innings, Lexington picked up an eighth unearned run in the seventh off Troy Ransom. Wilner Alverez singled and scored from first on Robinson Cespedes' infield single and throwing error by shortstop Jake Wald.

Justin Humphries greeted Jason Waddell with a home run to right to lead off the eighth for a 9-0 Lexington lead.

The Suns got their only run in the eighth as Randy Walter hit a triple down the left field line off reliever Rodrigo Escobar and scored on Karl Jernigan's grounder.

"It was just an inning that went bad from the start and we couldn't find any answers," Ramsey said.

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