Captains sweep doubleheader from Suns

June 06, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

The Hagerstown Suns lost the game of give and mistake on Thursday.

Hagerstown went out to give the Lake County Captains a run for the South Atlantic League Northern Division race, but were mistaken.

Lake County took advantage of the mistakes - hitting five out of the park in the doubleheader - for a 5-2, 3-1 sweep of the Suns to clinch the North's first-half title handily.

The Captains used two blasts in the opener and three solo shots in the nightcap to eliminate the second-place Suns, who now sit 9 1/2 games back with nine games remaining. Nine of Lake County's 11 runs in the series have come off seven homers.


"That's unbelievable," Hagerstown Suns manager Mike Ramsey said. "Every mistake we made, they made us pay for them ... and we didn't make that many pitching mistakes."

Lake County's big fly attack took away all of Hagerstown's little ball possibilities.

In the opener, Jon Van Every hit his second homer in as many nights to lead off the third inning against Hagerstown starter Brian Stirm. Matt Knox clubbed a two-run shot to right for a 3-0 lead.

That was more than enough production for the Captains (43-18), who own one of the best records in all of baseball, to settle in behind starter Keith Ramsey (7-3).

Keith Ramsey stayed out of trouble until Carlos Sosa doubled to start a two-out rally in the fourth, before scoring on Randy Walter's single.

Jason Cooper's fifth-inning RBI double got the run back, ending Stirm's day with his first loss in five decisions. The Captains added an unearned run off Jason Waddell in the sixth.

Hagerstown, which has lost three straight after winning 15 of its previous 17 games, picked up a consolation run in the seventh as Walter singled and scored on Jake Wald's double.

"You can't win without getting scoring opportunities," Mike Ramsey said. "Wald (the No. 9 hitter) has been our best hitter lately and Walter has been hitting well, too. We are getting it all out of the bottom of our lineup."

Lake County jumped on Josh Habel quickly in the nightcap as Cooper unloaded a two-out shot over the center field wall in the first before Shaun Larkin homered in the second and fourth - for three in the last two days - to land the knockout punch on the Suns.

Starter Jake Dittler, who entered the game with a 1.87 ERA, kept the Suns in check with the early advantage. Hagerstown's only run came in the fifth when Brian Munhall drew a leadoff walk and eventually scored on Wald's grounder.

"We didn't give them a whole lot of bat pitches to hit," Mike Ramsey said. "We have good pitching and they have good pitching ... they've done more against our good pitching than we've done against their's."

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