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Suns' Maxwell turns the page

April 20, 2007|by BOB PARASILITI

Justin Maxwell did a little personal housecleaning Thursday.

It was time to vacuum away the dust bunnies that were clogging things up after Wednesday's four-strikeout performance in a one-run loss to Lake County.

"It was probably the worst game I have ever had, bar none," Maxwell said. "I wanted to brush it under the rug."

Maxwell showed up with a spic-n-span attitude and wiped his slate clean in his first two at-bats to help lead the Hagerstown Suns to a 9-5 victory over the Captains.

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The center fielder started with a solo home run in the second inning and added a key RBI single in Hagerstown's five-run third inning. The Suns built a 9-0 lead through four innings and coasted to the victory in their best and most consistent offensive showing of the early season.

"I wanted to come in with a better mental approach today," Maxwell said. "I gave away four at-bats last night. Today I came with a whole different mindset. The good thing about baseball is that you play a new game the next night and get a chance to turn the page. I have been told the key to success is how quickly you rebound."

It was a total rebound for the Suns (5-9), who did everything right early against the Captains.

It began in the first inning against Lake County starter Stephen Wright (0-1) as Joe Napoli walked and came around on Mike Daniel's double to left for a 1-0 lead.

Maxwell followed in the second with his one-out homer, a line shot to left for his third of the season. Stephen King drew a walk, stole second and came in on Jhonathan Solano's double for a 3-0 lead.

"It was really the first time we have played like this with the lead," said Suns manager Tommy Herr. "Even though it got rather ugly in the end, it was nice to have the lead. We have been scoring runs. That isn't the problem. The problem is we have been giving up runs because of poor pitching and poor defense."

The Suns blew the game open in the third, starting with Brett McMillian's RBI double before Maxwell dug in to get his single to right for the 5-0 lead.

"I just told myself that I wanted to go in and be a tough out every time up," Maxwell said. "That's what it takes to become consistent, to be a battler every time up."

It was a welcome sight for Herr.

"We had him marked down for three quality at-bats and that's good," Herr said. "When a player with his talent gets three quality at-bats, he's going to produce something. It was nice to see the way he bounced back after (Wednesday)."

Solano hit a second RBI double to chase Wright and Mike Martinez added an RBI single off Josh Tomlin to give the Suns the 8-0 lead. Daniel homered in the fourth.

Suns starter Jhonny Nunez (1-0) shut out the Captains on three hits over five innings to become the first Hagerstown starter to make it through the fifth inning.

The Captains (5-8) tried to come back by roughing up reliever Greg Bunn for two runs in the eighth and getting to Juan De Los Santos for three runs in the ninth before he left after being hit by a ball. Aaron Jackson closed out the victory.

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