Newsome's sacrifice fly gives Suns matinee win

April 18, 2011|By BOB PARASILITI |
  • Hagerstown's Brett Newsome watches his game-winning sacrifice fly in the ninth inning against Lakewood on Monday at Municipal Stadium.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — This is one time Brett Newsome gladly settled for second best.

“I would have liked to get a hit, but this was just as good,” said the Hagerstown Suns designated hitter.

It was the best thing that could happen to the Suns. Newsome lofted a sacrifice fly to center field with the bases loaded in the ninth inning to score Michael Taylor on Monday for a 1-0 victory over Lakewood. It put a fitting end to a dazzling pitching performance before a morning matinee crowd of 1,771 at Municipal Stadium.

Newsome, who pinch-hit for Bryce Harper in the seventh inning, is hitting .000 for the season. He flew out in the seventh before his game-winning chance in the ninth. The batting average didn’t rise, but the RBI total did, allowing the Suns (9-3) to engulf him in celebration after the winning run crossed.

“I hit well in the spring, but not playing every day makes it tough,” Newsome said. “You have to be ready to go up whenever you get called. It was nice to be able to reward the pitchers with the win.”

A quartet of Suns pitchers — led by starter Cameron Selik — kept Hagerstown in the game as the Suns managed only two hits. They struck out 18 BlueClaws, led by Selik with 11 in five shutout innings.

“My slider was sliding and the fastball was true,” said Selik, who was lifted after reaching 87 pitches. “I was able to get ahead in the count. Once I got there, I have three out pitches I can use.”

Selik struggled in the first inning, allowing a one-out single to Edgar Duran — the only hit he allowed — and a walk to Jeremy Barnes. After a quick visit by Hagerstown pitching coach Chris Michalak, the right-hander slammed the door, retiring the last 14 batters he faced, 10 by strikeout.

“Selik was big,” said Suns manager Brian Daubach. “He’s been that way in all of his starts.”

After Selik was pulled, Lakewood (4-7) collected three hits off Wilson Eusebio, Paul Applebee and eventual winner Chris Manno (1-0) and got two runners as far as second base. But Hagerstown’s relief trio collected another seven strikeouts to snuff out threats.

The BlueClaws’ Nos. 4-8 hitters combined to go 1-for-17 with 14 strikeouts. The only hit was Miguel Alvarez’s seventh-inning bunt single.

Lakewood starter Ervis Manzanillo was just as effective, holding the Suns to one hit — David Freitas’ second-inning double — over six innings, retiring the last 10 Hagerstown hitters he faced.

The Suns broke through in the ninth. Jason Martinson slapped a leadoff single to right off Lakewood reliever Eric Pettis (0-1), the BlueClaws’ third pitcher of the game. After Martinson stole second, Taylor coaxed a walk after trying to lay down a sacrifice bunt, and Randolph Oduber hit a grounder up the middle that Duran mishandled for an error to load the bases.

Adrian Sanchez grounded to Duran at short to force Martinson at home and bring up Newsome. Pettis got the left-handed hitter to two strikes, the second coming on a lofted foul over the third-base grandstand.

“I was thinking the stress was on the pitcher because the bases were loaded,” Newsome said. “I was just looking for a pitch up and I was trying to keep it off the ground.”

He sent Pettis’ next pitch deep to center field, where Lakewood’s Aaron Altherr caught it and put it in his pocket as Taylor scored.

“I don’t think Brett has a hit yet, but he went in there and did the job,” Daubach said. “He had a good at-bat. He stayed relaxed and had a good two-strike approach.”

Newsome replaced Harper, who served at designated hitter on Monday. The Washington Nationals’ top prospect struck out and flew out in his two at-bats to drop his average to .235 before being lifted. He didn’t appear injured as he sat in the dugout the rest of the game.

“It was a manager’s decision,” Daubach said. “He will be back in the lineup tomorrow.”

As it turned out, going to Newsome was the right decision.

“That would have been a tough one to lose for both teams,” Daubach said. “You just have to give the pitchers credit. A win is a win and we will come back out at it again tomorrow.”

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