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Henry, Suns leave lasting impression

September 05, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

Many a deal has been created from first impressions.

But it's usually the final impressions that seal those deals.

Sean Henry and Jeramy Simmons made sure their final appearances at Municipal Stadium in 2006 were ones that will stayed etched in memories for some time to come.

Henry hit two two-run home runs Monday to lift Hagerstown to a 4-1 victory over Delmarva before 2,727 fans in the season finale. It game the Suns a four-game sweep of the Shorebirds in the final series and a 7-1 record in the season-ending, eight-game homestand.

The final victory came on the heels of a near no-hit effort by Simmons in the nightcap of Saturday's doubleheader. Simmons held the Shorebirds hitless for 6 2/3 innings, only to lose the no-hitter and the shutout on Mark Fleisher's two-out, two-strike, opposite-field single to right in the final inning of a seven-inning game.

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"First impressions are important, but so are last ones," Suns manager Frank Cacciatore said. "Ask a boxer."

Henry's homers were the final knockout blows to help Hagerstown end a season of learning and adjustment on an upswing. The Suns (58-82, 30-40) finished in seventh place for the second half in the eight-team South Atlantic League, 17 games behind first-place Lakewood and 2 1/2 games ahead of Delmarva.

They also became a nice way to say "So long" for Henry ... well, sort of.

"I wouldn't say I was trying to make a final impression," Henry said. "I have been hitting the ball well here, it was just at some guys some of the times. I think they just show that I can make adjustments and that I can play at this level.. There's no telling what will happen next year."

But then again ...

"If you want to go out in a good way, I can't think of any way better than this," the Suns center fielder conceded.

And it might help more than Henry even realizes.

"(The final impression) always helps, but for (Henry) it won't hurt," Cacciatore said. "When (the New York Mets' farm directors) get the report and see the stats from the game, they might think, "Hey, we might have something here."

Henry gave the Suns the lead in the fast-paced, "time to get out of town" game with almost accidental suddenness in the fifth inning.

Matt Anderson got to Delmarva starter Reid Hamblet (5-12) with a leadoff single to right for the Suns' third hit of the game. Henry hit the first pitch - a fastball - with two outs for a deceiving drive to left that was in doubt until it cleared the bullpen fence along the line for the 2-0 lead.

"I thought it was a routine fly," Henry said. "I was standing on second and then they started to give the home run signal."

Henry, who joined the Suns on Aug. 10 from Kingsport, was a little more sure on the second shot in the seventh, his third of the season.

J.R. Voyles reached on a fielder's choice against reliever Daniel Lonsberry advanced him to second with an errant pickoff throw. Henry worked the count, got what he wanted and made the adjustments for a drive that left the stadium over the left-field wall for the 4-0 lead.

"It was an 0-2 count and I was hoping he wouldn't throw me a fastball," Henry said. "I was looking dead curveball and he got it up. It gave me time to make the adjustments to hit it well."

The Shorebirds stayed off the board until the eighth when they scratched out a run against Jeff Landing, the fourth of five Suns pitchers to work.

Blake Davis led off with a single and took third on Fleisher's single to right before scoring on Ryan Finan's sacrifice fly.

Matt Durkin, who spent nearly the entire season on the disabled list, got his first start of the season and lasted three innings for the Suns. He was followed by Waner Mateo, Jim Wladyka, Landing and Steve Chaney. Wladyka (1-1) got the win with one-third of an inning of work.

"Wow," Cacciatore said. "To take seven of eight in the final homestand, I have to be very pleased. It's a good boost for the guys on this club. They have been through some good times and bad times here, but now they know what it takes to play a full season."

The Suns finished the season with an attendance of 149,811.

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