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King breaks bat to help Suns break through in the 10th

May 21, 2008|By BOB PARASILITI

Stephen King had so much pent up inside of him, his only fitting way to release it all was a sacrifice ritual.

Luckly, the only thing that was put out of its misery was his bat.

King found himself in the middle of a whole host of pivotal plays for the Hagerstown Suns on Tuesday -- most of them going against them. It didn't matter at all once he turned his bat into kindling.

King broke his bat while hitting a soft grounder with the bases loaded and one out in the 10th inning against Lexington. When Legends shortstop Ronald Ramirez fired his throw to second base into right field, Boomer Whiting scored to put an end to an intensely wacky 7-6 victory for the Suns.

"I let my emotions get to me today," King said, holding his broken weapon in his left hand. "Probably more than I should have. All I wanted to do was make contact and I got jammed."

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The final three innings of the game had more twists and turns than a country road.

King was nearly ejected twice and Suns manager Darnell Coles did get sent to the showers early while defending him. The first play was a diving attempt in the top of the ninth to stop Craig Corrado's grounder that was right on the third-base line. The ball was ruled fair by base umpire Roberto Medina, resulting in an RBI double to tie the score at 6-6.

Round two came in the bottom of the inning when King led off with an infield single and took second on a throwing error by Ramirez. Aaron Seuss followed with a grounder to Ramirez with King running on the play. King seemingly beat the throw and the tag -- many claiming it was of the phantom variety -- but he was called out by Medina.

Coles was tossed on the play for firing his helmet into the ground, but saved King before leaving. Cole left his helmet in left field and unloaded a bag of baseballs along the first-base line while leaving the game.

The Suns made sure the game didn't go any further in the 10th when Whiting led off with a walk from Jordan Powell. Powell's errant pickoff throw moved Whiting over to third, setting up a pair of one-out intentional walks to Bill Rhinehart and pinch hitter to get to King.

Powell fired inside and King hit a slow grounder off his fists to the left of the second base bag. Ramirez threw the ball away and King's demons were released.

"I was hoping to get the opportunity," King said. "I was hoping to get a better hit on the ball. It was a fastball and I was having trouble getting around on it the whole game. I just hit this one slow enough to get the job done."

Lexington broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning with three runs off Suns reliever Erik Arnesen. Collin DeLome hit a two-run triple and Eric Taylor added a run-scoring single for a 5-2 lead.

The Suns came back with four in the bottom of the inning, prolonged when Sean Rooney struck out on a wild pitch and reached first. Whiting had an RBI single and Bill Rhinehart added a clutch single for two of his three RBIs for the game to put the Suns ahead.

Then came all the drama and King's sacrifice.

"I didn't care if I smashed it there or got jammed and broke the bat," King said. "I was fortunate enough to hit it and get the job done. It was worth the bat."

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