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Buscher big off the bench for Suns

July 31, 2003|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

Brian Buscher sat on the bench for 8 2/3 innings watching a pretty good baseball game between Hagerstown and Capital City Wednesday night.

When his number was called in a pinch-hitting role, Buscher delivered a clutch RBI single to give the Suns a 6-5 South Atlantic League victory, their second ninth-inning win in the four-game series.

"It didn't bother me to watch the game from the bench," Buscher said. "I got a little nervous when I was told to be ready in the eighth. It feels good to help the team with the hit."

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Buscher, one of the Suns' newbies in recent weeks, was batting from the left side for Jay Knowlton as manager Mike Ramsey went with the lefty-righty theory against Capital City pitcher Tim McNab. Buscher knocked his hit into right to send off a wild home plate celebration, which continued to the locker room area where he was pummeled with a pie in the face while doing an interview.

If it weren't for Capital City's recklessness in the ninth, the game might have gone on. The Bombers (19-18) were guilty of three errors, two on errant pickoff attempts by McNab that allowed Wald - who reached base on Corey Ragsdale's error - to third with no outs.

A.J. LaBarbera, who made two outstanding defensive plays at second base, grounded out as the Bombers went with five infielders.

Lefty Fred Lewis was intentionally walked and Kevin Alexander hit a short flyout to right that kept Wald from trying to score. The Bombers then intentionally walked lefty Carlos Sosa to set up the bases-loaded, two-out situation.

"The good thing about tonight was we got clutch hitting in the win," Ramsey said. "We had early leads but they kept coming back. We pitched well, but giving up the leads is the only things that disappoints me."

After squandering opportunities in the first two frames, Lewis tripled in the third and scored on Alexander's single. After Alexander was cut down stealing, Sosa roped a four-bagger to center for his team-leading sixth home run.

The Bombers came back in the fourth off Brad Hennessey on Aaron Baldiris' double and a single by Joe Jiannetti.

Hagerstown regained the lead in the fifth on the Lewis-Sosa double-single combination, but Capital City tied the game 3-3 in the sixth on a triple by Jiannetti that scored Alhaji Turay.

Again, the Suns battled to take a 4-3 lead on a double by Brian Munhall and a single by Wald in the sixth, and stretched it to 5-3 in the seventh on a long double by Sosa that scored Alexander from first after he walked.

The Bombers tied the game in the eighth off Suns reliever Jason Schmidt, who should have escaped without allowing the two runs.

With two runners aboard, Edgar Rodriguez lifted a fly to short left that sent Wald hustling out from short and Sosa in from left. The ball fell in front of Sosa after he called off Wald and allowed both Bombers to score.

"Hennessey pitched pretty good with six quality innings and that pop fly shouldn't have dropped in on Schmidt," Ramsey said.

Three players, Lewis and Sosa from the Suns and Jiannetti from the Bombers, each had opportunities to hit for the cycle.

"I saw some good fastballs," Lewis said of his hits that were against southpaw starter Yunior Cabrera. "I'm just trying to get my stroke down. I haven't done much lately so this helps."

Pitching a perfect ninth inning in relief, Jason Waddell (2-2) got the Hagerstown win.

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