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Suns edge Cats

May 22, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

Jake Wald showed multiple personalities on Wednesday.

The Hagerstown Suns shortstop went from clutch hitter to aggressor to sacrificial lamb to hero in a matter of 30 seconds when he singled with one out in the 10th and avoided what could have been an embarrassing rundown as Randy Walter scored the winning run in a 2-1 victory over the Charleston Alley Cats.

"It was a good and lucky play," Hagerstown manager Mike Ramsey said. "Waldo picked a good time to make his move."

With some quick thinking, Wald allowed the Suns (21-21) to reach the .500 mark one more time.

With one out, Walter was awarded first on a catcher's interference call. With nothing to lose, Ramsey sent Walter on a hit-and-run play, which forced Alley Cats shortstop Raul Tablado to break for second base.

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Wald lined a shot through the hole vacated by Tablado, and the ball started rolling to the left center field gap. Walter headed to third at full speed and Ramsey was looking to send him home.

"I was running hard and was thinking I was going to score until I saw (Ramsey's) stop sign," Walter said.

The intention was to get the run in using a more conventional manner.

"I wanted to wave him home," Ramsey said. "But with one out, I didn't want to risk it, so I put up the stop sign. Waldo kept it going."

Wald rounded first and started sprinting to second when he saw what looked like center fielder Miguel Negron's throw heading for third base. But the throw was cut off by Tablado, who threw to second baseman Willie Rivera, setting up an apparent rundown to get Wald.

"I was going hard and saw the relay going to third," Wald said. "Then, when it was cut off, I tried to get into a rundown to help the run score. I tried to get him to come to me. I needed him to commit to coming over to get me to get the run in."

Walter was ready to score if Rivera took Wald's bait.

"I tried to read the second baseman," Walter said. "Once he made his second pump to throw the ball, his back was to me. I didn't think he could make the throw to get me."

Walter easily beat the throw home.

It was almost a fitting end to a game where both teams had troubles offensively and the pitchers ruled the game. The Suns dipped into their bullpen after starter Glenn Woolard was hit on the back of the left shoulder with a second-inning liner by Rodney Medina. He pitched through the third before leaving the game.

The Suns took a 1-0 lead in the first when Karl Jernigan hit a drive to deep center that Negron went back before slipping and falling. With the center fielder unable to get up or make the play, Jernigan reached on a triple. He scored on Derin McMains' grounder.

The Alley Cats tied the score in the fourth off Josh Cram. Tablado walked, took third on Justin Owens' single and scored on Maikel Jova's grounder.

Matt Palmer (4-0), Hagerstown's fourth pitcher, retired Charleston in order in the 10th.

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