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Bombers burned by Suns

July 29, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

The Capital City Bombers went on a suicide mission on Monday and crashed.

The Hagerstown Suns poured on a little of Fred Lewis' gas to make sure the Bombers burned, too.

Lewis scored the winning run on Kevin Kelly's two-out single to shallow left field in the ninth inning as Hagerstown capitalized on Capital City's botched suicide squeeze play in the top of the inning for a 4-3 victory.

The Suns (52-51, 17-19) scratched out their fourth straight win after losing nine in a row, despite squandering a two-run lead in the ninth. Lewis' speed and third-base coach Willie Aviles' by-the-book aggressiveness pulled out the victory.

"I was just thinking about home, getting home, getting home," Lewis said. "I saw my third-base coach and I was going all the way. I was either going to be out or safe and (left fielder Derran Watts) was either going to make a good throw or a bad throw."

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Lewis drew a one-out walk and took second when Capital City closer Javier Ochoa (0-1) was called for a balk with two outs. After Carlos Sosa drew a walk, Kelly ripped a grounder though short into the wet Municipal Stadium grass.

Watts came up throwing, but fired the ball to the foul side of the plate, allowing Lewis to slide to the inside safely.

"It was two outs and he was going on any base hit," Aviles said. "I kept working his lead because they weren't holding him to second base. When Kelly got the hit, I was set. He scored because he got a good secondary lead."

Capital City tied the game on four straight hits off reliever Scott Munter. With runners at first and third with one out, Bombers manager Tony Tijerina called for Brandon Wilson to execute a suicide squeeze bunt against Hagerstown closer Matt Palmer (5-0).

Wilson missed the ball, leaving baserunner Alhaji Turay out to dry for catcher Brian Munhall to tag before throwing to second to cut down Andres Rodriguez's steal attempt.

"That squeeze play was a good call, but it just backfired," Suns manager Mike Ramsey said.

Lost in the victory was an outstanding seven-inning start by Merkin Valdez, who struck out 13 with an overpowering fastball and enough breaking balls to make the Bombers honest.

"He used the fastball more and challenged them," Ramsey said.

Capital City took a 1-0 lead in the second on a double steal. The Suns tied it in the third on Jake Wald's home run and took the lead in the sixth on Julian Benavidez's two-run triple.

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