Suns drop guard, get clocked

June 27, 2005|by TIM KOELBLE

Clinching the first-half title Saturday night was a thrilling moment for the Hagerstown Suns.

Returning to reality on Sunday afternoon was a sleepwalk in the daylight hours.

Looking uncharacteristically lethargic in a 5-2 loss to the Lexington Legends, the Suns played as if they were ready to take their three-day vacation heading into the South Atlantic All-Star break.

"(This loss) was a major embarrassment today," said Suns manager Gene Richards. "The pitching wasn't too bad, but every position player should go and hide over their performance."

Hagerstown, now 2-4 in the second half, could only muster four hits, two off Lexington starter Ronnie Martinez, who the Suns battered around in two previous appearances.


It wasn't until the fifth inning - the last frame for Martinez, who was working with a 4-0 lead by then - that the Suns scored when Ryan Coultas singled, stole second, went to third on an infield out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Chris Gomez.

In the sixth, Hagerstown cut the deficit to 4-2 as Ambiorix Concepcion reached on a bunt single, stole second and third and scored on a wild pitch by reliever Evan Englebrook.

Lackadaisical effort hurt the Suns as they tried to rally.

Aaron Hathaway led off with a double and made it to third on a wild pitch after two outs were recorded. Gomez then struck out on a pitch in the dirt that bounced away toward third, but he failed to run to first. Had he done so, he would have easily reached base, allowing Hathaway to score and the inning to continue. Derran Watts replaced Gomez in right field in the eighth.

Gomez showed off his throwing arm in the first inning and would have cut down Lexington's Edgar Babilonia going to third on a fly ball, but Grant Psomas couldn't handle the throw. Babilonia later scored on Bryan Triplett's sacrifice fly for a 1-0 Legends lead.

Hagerstown's Rafael Cova (4-3) came back to strike out the side in the second inning, but yielded a pair of runs in the fourth when Ole Sheldon ripped a double and Luke Barganier followed with a home run, his first of the season.

"Today was a poor showing. ... These kids are young," said Richards. "But it is also a reflection on us as coaches. We didn't have them ready."

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