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Late fireworks lift Kannapolis

July 06, 2004|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

The Hagerstown Suns put a cap on a big holiday weekend of fireworks Monday.

Unfortunately, it was a detonator cap.

The Suns flat blew up and there was nothing pyrotechnic about it. It was like a wet firecracker that went "Pfffff" as Kannapolis erased a 7-3 deficit and scored six runs in the final three innings to grab an 11-8 victory.

Hagerstown handed a 7-6 lead over to closer Tim Alvarez with the bases empty and two outs in the eighth. The Intimidators lit the fuse, as seven of the 11 batters Alvarez faced reached safely. Cory Haggerty delivered the biggest bang with a two-out, three-run home run to right for the go-ahead and deciding runs.

"That club did a good job adjusting and hitting the ball the other way on Alvarez," Suns manager Mike Ramsey said. "He just didn't have it tonight. Tim was throwing strikes, they just weren't quality strikes."

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Kannapolis scored in six of the nine innings to run down the Suns (4-7, 32-46), who used a five-run fourth to take a 7-3 lead but failed to hold it. After the big inning, the Intimidators chipped away as Hagerstown's season-long maladies set up on the launching pad again. The Suns missed on clutch hits, defensive situations and quality pitching.

"Our hitting is starting to pick up, but our pitching wasn't there tonight," Ramsey said. "Our club hasn't blown many chances to win when we have them. When you get eight runs and 12 hits, you think it's enough to win, but it wasn't. We should have scored 12 runs but we didn't take advantage of our chances."

Hagerstown used a two-run double by Tim Hutting and a three-run homer by Travis Ishikawa - two of the Suns' hottest hitters of late - in the five-run fourth and handed the four-run lead over to reliever Jesse English.

English was hit for two runs in the fifth on an RBI double by Leo Daigle and a run-scoring single by Micah Schnurstein.

The Intimidators picked up a run in the seventh on Chris Young's leadoff triple and Schnurstein's sacrifice fly to get within 7-6.

Sean Martin got through the first two outs in the eighth before Ramsey went to Alvarez.

Ricardo Nanita greeted Alvarez with a single and Daigle followed with a hit that right fielder Mike Wagner misplayed and second baseman Pat Dobson threw away for a double error which allowed the tying run to score. Young, who was 4-for-4 and reached in all six of his plate appearances, doubled home the go-ahead run.

The Suns tied the game on Pat Dobson's double in the eighth off reliever Orinny Lopez (1-2), putting Alvarez in the situation to give Hagerstown a chance to win.

Brandon Bounds and Seth Morris singled before Haggerty hit his game-winning shot off Alvarez (1-5) just after the Suns failed to turn an inning-ending double play.

"With two outs in the eighth, I decided to go to the hammer and get Alvarez in to finish it," Ramsey said. "He just didn't have it today. I won't shy away from using him again, but he didn't have it and Kannapolis did a good job of hitting him the other way."

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