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Strange but true, Suns play to a tie

June 01, 2004|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

What started out as a baseball extravaganza became a John Lennon moment at Municipal Stadium on Monday.

It was a strange day, indeed.

The Hagerstown Suns were poised to make an improbable leap into the lead in a game which became official with the completion of 4 1/2 innings of play. The Suns had a runner at second with none out and Keith Anderson at the plate when ...

The skies opened up and a torrential rainstorm hit. And despite the best efforts to restart the game, it was suspended with the Suns locked in a 5-5 tie with the Kannapolis Intimidators at Municipal Stadium.

"We looked up in the sky and could see what was coming," Hagerstown manager Mike Ramsey said. "We just wanted to get Anderson's at-bat in with (Travis) Ishikawa at second. It just didn't happen. ... It was all kind of strange."

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As strange goes, that might rank lowest among the events that happened in a very odd game to start with ... and the completion might even be stranger.

Pending a South Atlantic League ruling, the game will resume at the point of suspension on July 5, the next time Kannapolis returns to play in Hagerstown. At that point in time, though, the SAL will be in the second half of its season, even though this was a first-half game. The game will be completed, not to have a bearing on the first-half standings, but because it could help decide any wild card positions for the playoffs.

"I'm not sure what is going to happen," Ramsey said. "I'd love to finish this game because we had a chance to win it and a couple of guys - like reliever Sean Martin - did some good work today."

One player who might not want to get his stats from the game is Hagerstown starting pitcher Juan Serrato. Serrato, who had been Hagerstown's most dependable starter, was out of kilter on Monday.

The right-hander allowed three runs in the first, while issuing three walks, and allowed two more runs in the second, capped by Thomas Brice's solo homer to right field. Serrato had trouble finding the strike zone, including two wild pitches - one that was a couple feet wide of the plate and the second which bounced off the umpire's foot.

"Serrato was strange today, too," Ramsey said. "He wasn't finding his rhythm and couldn't find the strike zone. He has been our most dependable starter so far. That's OK, though. Those things will happen."

To the Suns' credit, though, they overcame the freaky start and unloaded some strangeness on the Intimidators and their starter Dan Haigwood.

Hagerstown scored twice in the first on four singles and a run-scoring fielders' choice to stay within 3-2. Pat Dobson and Nate Schierholtz each had a one-out single before Jason Columbus drove in a run on a grounder to third. Jonathan Armitage and Mike Wagner followed with singles to bring home Columbus.

After the Intimidators got two runs in the top of the second, the Suns tied it in the bottom of the inning with three runs on just one hit, two Kannapolis errors and two walks. In fact, Hagerstown's runs came when Schierholtz drew a walk, Columbus was hit by a pitch and Armitage lofted a sacrifice fly - all with the bases loaded.

Martin retired eight of the nine batters he faced after coming on in relief of Serrato in the third inning. Ishikawa singled to start the fifth and moved to second before the rain drenched Anderson and the Suns' chance to win the game.

"The thing was we were down 3-0 and 5-2 and stayed right there and kept after it," Ramsey said. "The way we came back was nice, but I would have liked to have this win now."

The Suns announced opening day starter Kelyn Acosta was placed on the disabled list with a sore elbow before the game. He will be replaced on the roster by pitcher Brian Wilson, who will be coming from extended spring training to fill the spot in the starting rotation. Wilson was San Francisco's 24th selection in the 2003 draft, but didn't pitch last season.

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