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Suns blotted out by Cats, showers

August 21, 2004|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

The Hagerstown Suns tried to weather two storms Friday.

They got washed out twice.

It continued to pour when it rained on the Suns as Hagerstown failed to protect a 3-2 lead before thunderstorms swept across Municipal Stadium. Then the Suns never got the chance to plug the dam after Charleston's late rally in a 6-3 loss which was halted after 5 1/2 innings because of unplayable conditions.

The half-hour deluge seemed to be the least of the Suns' problems after a three-run third. A pair of two-run innings by the Alley Cats in the fifth and sixth, powered by home runs by Jermy Acey and Mike Galloway off Hagerstown starter Omar Anez (2-7), swept away the Suns' chances.

"Omar had trouble getting ahead of hitters," Suns manager Mike Ramsey said. "He was getting in a lot of 2-1 and 3-0 counts, forcing him to come in with pitches and he got hit around. I thought if the rain would hold off, he might get things going."

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Wild pitches and Suns errors didn't do much in helping Anez settle. Hagerstown's three errors prolonged two innings, setting up three runs. One scored on a wild pitch, while antoher wild pitch set up a fourth run.

None of it seemed to hurt the Suns, who have lost 11 of their last 12 games, until they got the lead.

Charleston took a 1-0 lead in the second, starting with Rodney Medina's bunt single and Anez's first wild pitch. Medina took third on Galloway's grounder and scored on Juan Peralta's sacrifice fly to center.

The Alley Cats went up 2-0 in the third with the help of infield errors by Jay Knowlton and Pat Dobson. Joey Reiman worked around to third and scored on Clint Johnson's grounder.

The Suns struck back to take a 3-2 lead in the third by unveiling a new weapon - the bunt.

Mike Wagner singled off Charleston starter Dan Core before Dobson was hit by a pitch and Brian Munhall laid down a perfect bunt down the first-base line for a single to load the bases.

Knowlton followed with a walk and Tim Hutting singled to right to tie the game at 2-2. Jason Columbus added the go-ahead run with a one-out fielder's choice.

"One of the keys for us was when we got the bases loaded and one out and only got three runs," Ramsey said. "I thought we might get four or five, but that's all right, we got three and got the lead."

Acey hit his two-run homer over the wall to left center in the fifth to give Charleston a 4-3 lead.

Anez faced three batters without recording an out in the sixth as Galloway homered to right to lead off the inning. Peralta reached when Anez threw away his bunt for an error. Peralta followed by stealing second before scoring on Willie Rivera's single, which ended Anez's day.

Brian Wilson came on in the rain and retired the Alley Cats to end the sixth before the field was covered and the game was eventually called.

"I was hoping for Omar to shut them down there, but the rain ended up getting us," Ramsey said. "He was a little frustrated by his performance, but that's good. A lot of guys are frustrated with the way things are going right now."

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