Suns go to well, but come up dry

July 20, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

It was getting to the point where Hagerstown Suns manager Mike Ramsey couldn't decide to shade his eyes or cover his ears.

It was one of those nights for the Suns. Inning by inning, Delmarva scored single run after single run - giving that feeling of a dripping faucet in the middle of the night.

The Shorebirds pecked away - run, run, run - in five different innings while Hagerstown's offense couldn't find a hit to plug up Delmarva in a 5-1 loss, the Suns' fourth straight.


"It was a little torturous," Ramsey said. "We didn't play well this whole series. There were a couple of breaks here and there we didn't take advantage of and they capitalized on the mistakes we made."

It wasn't a game that got out of hand as much as one that drip, drip, dripped out of reach of the Suns (48-46, 13-14), who fell below .500 in the second half standings.

Delmarva won three straight from Hagerstown after dropping 10 of the first 11 games the two teams played.

With the game tied at 1-1 after four innings, Delmarva started to break away like a stampede of earthworms inching away in a painfully slow progression.

Delmarva regained a 2-1 lead in the fifth when Gregg Davies and Randy Ruiz hit back-to-back doubles to chase starter Brian Stirm (8-3).

The Shorebirds moved to a 3-1 advantage in the seventh when reliever Erick Threets dropped the ball for a balk that allowed Levi Robinson, who had a one-out double, to score.

Singles by Ryan Hubele and Neal Stephenson were the prelude to a wild pitch by Threets which made it a three-run advantage.

The Shorebirds capped off the painfully tedious night with Gera Alvarez's leadoff home run against Bill Sadler in the ninth.

"We are still giving up runs late in the game, which we haven't been doing," Ramsey said. "But it's tough to deal with because we have been hot and cold hitting. We started out like this in the first half, but it gets frustrating watching it after awhile."

Hagerstown got its only run in the fourth to tie the game at 1-1. Fred Lewis, who was moved to the second slot in the batting order, led off with a double and scored on Kevin Alexander's single off Delmarva starter Jayme Sperring (4-3). The Suns were unable to turn the situation into a big rally.

The clutch hitting woes were just starting to compound for the Suns.

Kevin Kelly hit a one-out single in the sixth and got to third base, only to be left stranded when Julian Benavidez grounded back to the mound.

The most painful inning came in the seventh when Hagerstown greeted reliever Ben Knapp with a Steve Holm single and Randy Walter double to put runners on second and third with no outs. But Karl Jernigan, Jake Wald and Lewis followed with consecutive strikeouts to end the threat without a run.

"We were waiting for a chance and even at 3-1 we weren't out of it," Ramsey said. "We got runners on second and third and then got three punchouts. That's kind of tough to deal with."

The Suns ended the homestand with a 2-5 record, losing three of the games by two runs or less.

"We have got to find a way to score runs - and I think we are going to do it," Ramsey said. "We are tinkering with the lineup to try and find some scoring punch in the middle. We got to figure out how to score or we will end up just treading water."

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