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Suns prevail in 11 wild innings

June 05, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — Matt Skole has a reputation for beating teams many different ways.

Using his legs probably falls low on that list, though.

Skole’s running exploits were front and center in three key situations — the last to set up Steven Souza Jr.’s game-winning single in the 11th inning — as the Hagerstown Suns pulled out a 7-6 win over Kannapolis on Tuesday in a South Atlantic League at Municipal Stadium.

The Suns (34-23) kept their firm hold on second place in the Northern Division and closed to within 5 1/2 games of division-leading Greensboro with 12 games remaining in the first half.

The final of Skole’s three trips around the bases might have been the most conventional of the night

Skole led off the 11th with a single down the right-field line off Kannapolis reliever Bryan Blough (1-2). He took third when Blough threw away a pickoff attempt and scored on Souza’s game-winning single to left.

Colin Bates (2-0), Hagerstown’s fifth pitcher, took the victory for the Suns by working the 11th inning.

The entire game took a less-than-conventional route as it was lined with some of the weirdest plays of the season.

Hagerstown used a pair of three-run rallies in the sixth and seventh innings to come back from a 2-0 deficit. The Suns failed to make the most of situations — and even had a run taken away — against Kannapolis starter Scott Snodgress before they turned to their legs for help, scoring all six runs off the Intimidators’ bullpen.

Kannapolis came back in the ninth against Hagerstown reliever Chris McKenzie, who allowed the first three batters he faced to reach base.

McKenzie replaced Christian Meza and allowed a leadoff single to Keenyn Walker, who stole second and third and scored on a throwing error by Cole Leonida.

Ross Wilson walked and Martin Medina hit a single to right to chase McKenzie. Aaron Barrett came on to walk Mark Haddow to load the bases.

Cyle Hankerd cleared the bases and tied the game with a double to left center to prolong the game.

Hagerstown had to work for every single run in its two three-run rallies. Skole sparked the comeback with a daring run around the bases in the sixth.

Skole drew a leadoff walk to greet Kannapolis reliever Chris Devenski, but was stuck at first with two outs. Skole broke for second to start a hit-and-run situation with Caleb Ramsey, who hit the ball through the hole that shortstop Garis Pena vacated.

Skole moved to third and ran right past manager Brian Daubach on his way to home plate, barely beating the throw to the plate. Burns followed with an RBI single and Cutter Dykstra ripped a run-scoring double to give the Suns a 3-2 lead.

The mad dash was a bit of redemption for the Suns’ all-star third baseman, who starred in another one of the most bizarre plays of the season.

With the Suns trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the second, Skole stood on third on the front end of a bases-loaded situation with no outs for Hagerstown.

Kannapolis got the first out when Adrian Nieto hit a grounder in front of the plate that catcher Kaven Smith picked up before tagging home for the force of Martinson.

Caleb Ramsey lofted a fly ball to left center that Walker caught and fired home to Smith to prevent Skole from scoring from third. Smith caught the ball, but lost it when he was leveled on a tackle by Skole.

After Smith was forced to leave the game, Snodgress took the mound to pitch to Billy Burns, but threw to third for an appeal. Skole was called out for leaving the base before the catch for the third out of the inning, removing Hagerstown’s run from the scoreboard.

The Suns added three runs in the seventh for a 6-2 lead, highlighted by Leonida’s two-run double — his first hit since May 8.

Hagerstown starter Matt Purke had a rough start to his second outing as a Suns pitcher.

Kannapolis took a 2-0 lead in the first inning as Purke walked two batters and fought to get comfortable on the mound.

Wilson drew a one-out walk and took third on Smith’s double to the left-field corner before Haddow walked to load the bases. Rangel Ravelo hit an RBI single and Hankerd lofted a sacrifice fly to give Kannapolis the early lead.

Purke pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing the two runs on five hits and three walks while striking out eight.

Washington Nationals first baseman Chris Marrero, a former Sun, played first base for Hagerstown in the first game of his rehabilitation assignment. Marrero is recovering from a torn left hamstring he suffered during winter ball and shoulder problems which have kept him on the shelf the entire season.

Marrero was 0-for-1 with a walk and left in the sixth inning after being hit in the hand by a pitch.

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