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BlueClaws crack past Suns in 11

June 03, 2005|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

Rip. Rip. Rip.

It was slow. It was agonizing. It was painful. Each connection of Lakewood's bats in the 11th inning was like a Chinese swatter torture.

The Hagerstown Suns were forced to endur an inning of station-to-station baseball - that they only prolonged with two throwing errors - as Lakewood trickled in three runs in the 11th to take a come-from-behind 6-3 victory before 2,401 Thirsty Thursday fans at Municipal Stadium.

"That's baseball," was about the best way Hagerstown manger Gene Richards could sum it all up. "Those things are going to happen."

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It happened once again to the Suns, who have created a trend of giving away leads in the late innings only to lose them in extra innings. On Thursday, Jason Jaramillo connected against Carlos Muniz for Lakewood's third of three solo home runs to force the game into extra innings.

The BlueClaws put Suns reliever Kevin Mannix (0-3) in the thumbscrews to squeeze out the victory for a split in the four-game series.

Lakewood batted around in the 11th, starting with Sam Orr's single before moving to second on Jaramillo's sacrifice bunt. After Doug Gredvig was given an intentional walk, Ryan Frith hit a high-hop grounder that shortstop Ryan Coultas threw wide to pull Mike Carp off first and load the bases.

Chris Klemm followed with a grounder to Carp, but his wild throw home pulled catcher Jesus Flores off the base for the first run. R.T. Plumsky and Timi Moni added RBI singles for the three-run lead.

"The first throwing error at short hurt us but the one to home ... That broke our backs," Richards said. "We had two guys throwing two well-pitched games and we were in control into the last inning and then gave it up with the home run."

Lost in the shuffle was another quality start by Jose Sanchez, the South Atlantic League wins leader with a 9-0 record. Sanchez cruised through seven innings, only allowing leadoff home runs to Gredvig in the fifth and Orr in the seventh, in six hits with no walks and four strikeouts.

Max De Los Santos matched Sanchez for eight innings, but was touched for all three Suns runs in eight innings while allowing six hits and striking out four. Neither got a decision.

Lakewood turned the ball over to left-hander Kyle Allen in the ninth and Jacob Barrack in the final two innings to snuff out the Suns. Left-handers and breaking balls have been sore spots for the Suns offense this season.

"If your left handed or a breaking ball that lands in the dirt, we always seem to offer at it," Richards said. "We have a lot of bad at-bats against those kinds of pitches. (Barrack) kept the ball down and we were done. We weren't able to do anything and then it didn't leave us any rooms for errors."

Hagerstown took a 1-0 lead in the second on Ambiorix Concepcion's line-drive homer to left. Aaron Hathaway doubled and eventually scored on Wilson Batista's bases-loaded double play for a 2-0 lead.

After Lakewood tied the game in the seventh, the Suns countered with a Flores double and singles by Coles and Hathaway to take the 3-2 lead.

With the loss, the Suns fall into a first-place tie in the SAL North Division with Lexington, who defeated third-place Lake County. The Suns play their next 13 games against those two teams - including two four-game road trips.

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