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In long run, Suns longed for a run

May 14, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

This time, making history was anticlimatic.

The Hagerstown Suns got themselves in the South Atlantic League record books last Sunday, reluctantly.

Hagerstown claimed a piece of baseball history last Sunday by completing what became the longest game ever played in the South Atlantic League. Lakewood and the Suns played the final five innings of an 8-7 BlueClaws victory.

"It was fun to be in there," said Suns manager Frank Cacciatore. "It just fizzled out."

The game lasted 22 innings and 7 hours, 47 minutes of elapsed time. It surpassed the SAL standard of longevity of 22 innings in 6:45.

And after 194 combined plate appearances - 162 official at-bats, 24 walks, three hit batters and five sacrifices - Lakewood got the win in the most painful of ways.


The Suns issued four walks in the 22nd - two by Jason Appell and two by Grady Hinchman - to allow Jeremy Slayden to stroll across the plate on John Urick's free pass.

There were some other amazing numbers that were products of the game.

The two teams left a combined 48 runners on base, including 29 by Lakewood. Twelve of the 19 left on by the Suns were in scoring position with two outs. The two teams set the league record for combined runners left on and Lakewood claimed team honors in the dubious category.

Six players got at least 10 official at-bats in the game. For the Suns, Fernando Martinez was 3-for-11 while Elvis Cruz finished 1-for-10. Lakewood's Lou Marson boosted his average by going 4-for-8. The 11 at-bats was a league record.

A total of 260 hours, 11 minutes of actual time elapsed between the first pitch and the final run being scored.

The Suns traveled 1,022 miles on the buses before returning for the game, including an eight-hour trip from Lake County to Lakewood.

Thumb wrestled

Martinez is in a battle with his right thumb ... and the thumb is winning.

The Suns placed their 17-year-old center field prospect on the seven-day disabled list Thursday with a reoccurring deep thumb bruise. The Suns received center fielder Joe Holden from extended spring training to fill the roster.

Martinez was sent to have the hand examined and X-rayed in New York on Wednesday. The tests confirmed he was suffering from a strained ligament. He has been fitted with a cast and it's possible he could be out of action for longer than the required seven days.

The deep bruise has been an off-and-on problem for Martinez. He bruised the hand early in the season while hitting an inside pitch.

This is the third stint of missed games for Martinez because of the injury. The Mets organization is using the time off as a precaution to allow the to strain heal completely. Even though it is on his right thumb - which is the top hand on the bat for a left-handed hitter and doesn't provide the power of the swing - the Mets are trying to prevent Martinez from falling into bad hitting habits because he is trying to compensate for the injury.

Holden was one of two players who Gotham Baseball magazine speculated would be sent to Hagerstown at some point of the season to play center, allowing Martinez to move to left field.

When he's ready, Martinez won't have to earn his way back in the lineup. His everyday position will be waiting for him when he is healthy.

"It's the type of injury that won't heal in 2-3 days," Cacciatore said. "So he kept injuring it. It needed rest. It is different than a bruise. So the Mets decided to sit him down and let it heal."

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

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