Suns, Legends split

April 14, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

Leave it to a guy named Columbus to take the Hagerstown Suns to a new world of offense.

Jason Columbus pointed the Suns in the right directions, switching them from patience to power with one swing as he blasted Billy Westoff's first pitch in the eighth inning over the right field wall for a walk-off grand slam Saturday to lift Hagerstown to a 7-3 win over Lexington in the first game of a doubleheader at Municipal Stadium.

Until Columbus' first homer of the season - and only the Suns' second - Hagerstown (4-3) relied on walks, scratch hits and pitching to keep pace with Lexington. Until the home run, only 11 of the Suns first 47 hits were for extra bases, eight of which were doubles.

Randy Walter followed Columbus' lead in he nightcap with a two-run homer in the fifth but the Legends managed the split with a 5-2 victory.


Jon Fagan hit a two-run homer in the second for Lexington.

The Suns broke the game open with a help of a break in the eighth. Kevin Kelly collected his third hit of the game with a sharp grounder up the middle that bounced off the second base bag off reliever Mark McLemore (0-1). The single was sandwiched between walks to Aaron Hornostaj and Travis Ishikawa, which loaded the bases and chased McLemore in favor of Westover.

Columbus made Westover's stay on the mound short with his shot over the right-field fence.

Until then, the Suns' offense revolved around patience.

Hagerstown used five walks from starter Jailen Peguero to merry-go-round around the bases for all three of their runs. Kevin Kelly led off with a single that third baseman Ryan Kochen prevented from going for extra bases with a diving stab that went off his glove.

Ishikawa, Columbus, Carlos Sosa and Walter - along with a passed ball - scored the Suns first two runs. Brian Munhall grounded into a double play to score the third.

Starter Clay Hensley went into the sixth inning by staying ahead of Lexington, largely on his own defense as he fielded five grounders back to the mound. He left runners in scoring position in the third, fourth and fifth innings before leaving after allowing two walks to open the third.

Lexington capitalized when Steve Checksfield lined a drive to left off reliever Scott Munter that Carlos Sosa let sail over his head for a two-run triple. Kochen tied the game with a RBI single to center.

Closer Matt Palmer pitched two innings, allowing no hits and two walks while striking out four, to claim his first win of the season.

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