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Suns Notetbook - Clubhouse Chatter

May 01, 2005|by BOB PARASILITI

The Hagerstown Suns are the "Good News, Bad News, Most of the time Good News again and Sometimes Bad News" Bears this season.

There is no slamming the Suns' success rate. They are playing at a .750 clip through the first stretch of season and have been more exciting than any team that has played at Municipal Stadium in years.

The results aren't in question, but the methods can leave fans and manager Gene Richards with a queasy feeling.

Ever since the season-opening homestand, the Suns have fallen into a dangerous habit. It usually goes something like: Get a big lead early, go into a shell while the opponent comes back to tie and then find some switch to pick up a couple of late runs and the win.

Or the other scenario has been: Fall behind early, rally to tie and take the lead before getting too comfortable and losing late.

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It's tough to figure.

"I've talked to the team about that," Richards said Monday after the Suns' 4-3 win over Delmarva. "We can't keep being so resilient and hit a lull which allows the other team to come back. The good thing is that we recognize it and then someone becomes motivated."

There was a bit of that motivation on Monday.

The Suns led 2-0 early before relinquishing it at 3-2 after seven. But Hagerstown found the groove again, scoring two in the eighth - keyed by Ryan Coultas' game-winning single - to pull out the victory.

Five of Hagerstown's first 15 wins came in dramatic fashion while four of the first five losses came after the Suns had the lead and gave it away.

"We get a bit of a lead and then we kind of relax," Coultas said. "When it comes down to it, we get going when we get adversity on us. It's the sign of a great team."

As long as the Suns can keep their hands on the on-off switch, they will remain a great team. But, teams don't usually make a living by giving leads away and coming back - at least not for a full season.

"Good clubs have to be able to fight to come back," Richards said. "This is a good club, but we need to take better care of leads."

Suns spots


- One stat that might reflect the ebb and flow of the Suns this season is the ERA. Hagerstown has a 3.32 ERA, but Suns pitching carries a 3.28 mark in the first three innings, a 3.71 in the middle three innings and a 3.03 in the final innings of a game.

- Tyler Davidson got going once he finally got going. After starting the season with an 0-for-14 slump, Davidson has eight hits in his last 22 at-bats (.364).

- Grant Psomas has hit safely in 19 of 22 games this season, including seven multiple-hit games. In those seven games, he has 16 of his 28 total hits.

- Eleven of Mike Carp's 16 RBI have come off his six home runs.

- The Suns have six outfielders sharing playing time, who are hitting a combined .287. It doesn't mean the everyday players are leading the way though. The trio of Jesus Gamero, Ambiorix Concepcion and Carlos Gomez is hitting a combined .201. Meanwhile, the utility contingent of Dante Brinkley (the primary designated hitter), Derran Watts and Corey Coles is hitting a combined .429. Brinkley is leading the South Atlantic League with a .397 average while Watts is 17-for-31 (.548) in nine games.

Milestones


- Hesding into Saturday, Psomas is riding a 12-game hitting streak and reached base in all 22 games through Friday this season.

- Brinkley entered Saturday's game with a 20-game on-base streak as he has reached in every game he's played

- Suns on the South Atlantic League leaderboard: Batting average - Brinkley first (.397), Psomas tied second (.377); Home runs - Carp tied second (6), Psomas and Brinkley, tied fifth (5); Stolen bases - Gomez, first (14); Team batting - Hagerstown tied first (.269 with Ashville and Rome); Hits - Psomas, tied third (29); On-base percentage - Brinkley, first (.526); Slugging percentage - Brinkley second (.724), Psomas, third (.662), Carp fourth (.648); Extra-base hits - Psomas, first (12); Team pitching - Hagerstown, fifth (3.32 ERA); Innings pitched - Blake Eager (26 2/3).

Week ahead


The Suns close their current four-game homestand with Kannapolis on Tuesday before hitting the road for a nine-day, eight-game road trip, starting in Asheville (Rockies). The homestand ends with Family Day and Sundae Sunday today, Feed-your-face night on Monday and the first education game of the year, starting Tuesday at 10:35 a.m.




Bob Parasiliti covers the Hagerstown Suns for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2310, or by e-mail at bobp@herald-mail.com

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