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Suns still winless in second half

June 29, 2007|By BOB PARASILITI

Boom!

That's all you have to know to sum up the second half of the Hagerstown Suns' season.

Thursday night was the classic example. Joe Napoli up with bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth. He locks in on a Cody Bunkelman fastball and ...

Napoli's bat shatters on contact and out of the flying timber came a watered down ground ball to first. Step on the bag. Game over in the seventh straight loss to open the second half.

Hagerstown continued to slump - both offensively and defensively - as Lake County snatched the game early behind Beau Mills' third-inning grand slam to keep the Suns sinking in the quagmire with a 10-4 loss.

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"We aren't very good right now," Suns manager Tommy Herr said, rather matter-of-factly.

Another batch of fielding errors prolonged three innings and Lake County took advantage of the generosity to score their first seven runs - including the grand slam. It was a great "how do you do?" for Mills, who made his debut for the Captains after becoming the Cleveland Indians' first pick in the 2007 draft and eight games in the New York-Penn League.

But it was "What's new?" for the Suns, who booted three plays to run their season total to 130 errors for the season and had a few others instances which could have tacked on to that total.

"We aren't hitting great. We aren't scoring a lot of runs. And we aren't making the plays defensively," Herr said. "All that leads to losing games. The errors hurt tonight. We gave up (three) unearned runs and you can't do that when you aren't scoring much."

It was the theme for the evening for the Suns. Even when Hagerstown made breaks, they broke the other way.

Case in point: The second inning with the Suns trailing 1-0 on an unearned run. Marcos Cabral and Napoli hit one-out singles off starter Hector Rondon to put runners on first and third. Jhonatan Solano stroked a perfectly placed hit-and-run shot to the right side of the infield.

The grounder hit Napoli en route to second for the out. It became a dead ball play, keeping Cabral at third and Solano at first with two outs. And there they stayed.

Lake County took a 1-0 lead on Suns starter Yunior Novoa (5-7) as Matt McBride led off the second with a ground-rule double and scored on Nick Weglarz's single to left that Marvin Lowrance bobbled for the first error.

Francisco Pacheco ignited the third inning by reaching on a one-out throwing error by Cabral. Then, after singles by Jason Denham and Adam Davis loaded the bases, Mills unloaded to right for the grand slam and the 5-0 lead.

The Captains took leads of 7-0, 8-3 and 10-4 to answer every Suns comeback bid along the way.

Francisco Plasencia drove in two runs for Hagerstown, with an RBI single in the fifth and a solo homer in the seventh. Robby Jacobsen had an RBI grounder in the fifth and Cabral scored the final run on a wild pitch in the eighth.

Scott Sumner got the win in relief for the Captains.

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