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Sapp blasts Suns in the 10th inning

July 19, 2007|by TIM KOELBLE

Hagerstown had two late-inning defensive gems, but in the end it was a ball that couldn't be reached that did in the Suns at Municipal Stadium on Wednesday.

After a great diving catch in right field by Joe Napoli in the seventh inning and a snap-crackle-pop 7-4-2 play in the eighth that saved runs for the Suns, Lexington's Max Sapp ripped a two-run homer into the Hagerstown bullpen in the 10th inning to give the Legends a 6-4 victory to take the first two games of the four-game series.

"Those were some great plays and really a great catch by Napoli," said Suns manager Tommy Herr.

The Suns, now 8-18 in the second half, took a 4-3 lead in the sixth inning on an RBI double by Patrick Nichols.

Lexington scored a run in the seventh, but it could have been much more.

With the bases loaded and no outs, Andrew Holder launched a fly to right center and Napoli and his 6-foot-4, 230-pound frame was on the move, fully extending to snare the ball just inches from hitting turf. That catch prevented two runs and the Suns followed with a nifty double play to end the inning.

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In the eighth, with Josh Wilkie on in relief of Suns starter Zach Baldwin and Jordan Parraz on first with two outs, Sapp drilled a shot down the line in left with Parraz on the move.

Suns left fielder Francisco Guzman chased the ball down and fired a perfect relay strike to shortstop Marcos Cabral, who in turn fired a bullet to catcher Nichols, who was awaiting the hard-charging Parraz.

Parraz didn't slide, thundering into a head-to-head collision at the plate with Nichols holding his ground - and the baseball.

"I really thought (Parraz) was going to slide, but when I saw he wasn't, I just clutched the ball hard in my glove to hang on," said Nichols.

Yader Peralta came on in the ninth and survived, leaving two Legends on base, but he couldn't escape the 10th.

With one out, he issued a walk to Parraz, who went to second on a single by Koby Clemens. Peralta picked off Parraz at second, but Sapp then picked off a Peralta fastball.

The Suns scored two in the second for a 3-1 lead. Francisco Plasencia walked and Solano and Nichols followed with singles to load the bases. A fielder's choice by Guzman brought in a run and Robby Jacobsen had an RBI single.

When Baldwin gave up a first-inning home run to Tim Torres, that snapped a string of 17 scoreless innings for the left-hander.

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