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Kobernus zeroes in as Sun' hero

April 14, 2010|By DAN KAUFFMAN

HAGERSTOWN -- Jeffery Kobernus could not have asked for a better start to his season with the Hagerstown Suns.

Kobernus, a second-round pick by the Nationals in the 2009 draft, went 4-for-5 and delivered a walk-off single in the 10th inning Tuesday as the Suns snapped a four-game losing streak by beating the Lakewood BlueClaws, 2-1.

"He's a guy that hopefully will keep it up," Suns manager Matt LeCroy said. "He knows how to hit the ball on the barrel, he's a good athlete with lots of desire who wants to be the hero, and he did it."

Kobernus hit an 0-2 pitch from Jordan Ellis through the hole at short. Pinch runner Sean Nicol was waved home from second as Leandro Castro fielded the ball in shallow left field, but Castro's throw went straight into the ground and by the time it bounced to the plate, Nicol slid home safely with his left hand for the victory.

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"I was looking for a good pitch to hit," Kobernus said. "He made a couple good pitches and then I got something up. ... We'd lost four in a row, our pitchers were pitching great and we weren't picking them up."

Sandy Leon led off the bottom of the 10th by working Lakewood reliever Luke Wertz for a walk after falling behind 1-2 in the count. Nicol ran for Leon and went to second on Eury Perez's sacrifice bunt. Ellis was brought in to face Kobernus, who has started the season 9-for-16 and leads the Suns (2-4) with his .563 average.

"I'm just trying to hit the ball hard and hit it where they pitch it, and right now the ball is falling in," he said.

Kobernus also drove in the Suns' other run in the third. After Leon led off with a bloop single to right and took second on Perez's sac bunt, Kobernus smacked a double down the left-field line that deflected off the end of BlueClaws third baseman Adam Buschini's glove.

Dean Weaver pitched the ninth and 10th innings to earn the victory for the Suns. In the ninth, he allowed a leadoff single to Sebastian Valle -- who took second on Buschini's sac bunt -- but induced two groundouts to end the threat. In the 10th, Weaver got out of a two-on, one-out jam with a groundout and a strikeout, freezing Castro on a slider on the outside corner to strand runners on second and third.

"It's good to have a guy like him on our club," LeCroy said. "He has a nice breaking ball, throws inside and doesn't panic in jams."

Daniel Rosenbaum was impressive again in his second start for the Suns. He pitched six innings of two-hit shutout ball, walking one and hitting another with a pitch while striking out three. He has allowed no runs on four hits in 11 1/3 innings this season.

"He throws the ball inside real well. Especially on righties, his cutter is dominant," LeCroy said. "He's got a good tempo, and every time he pitches, we have a chance."

Domingo Santana's solo home run off Suns reliever Wanel Vasquez in the seventh gave the BlueClaws their only run.

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