Suns clinch berth in playoffs

August 31, 2012

HAGERSTOWN — The wait is over.

And all it took was the softest of hits.

Cutter Dykstra popped an infield single to the mound in the seventh inning to score Bryce Ortega with the go-ahead run on Friday to lead the Hagerstown Suns to a 4-3 victory over Asheville at Municipal Stadium.

The victory, coupled with Hickory’s 6-1 loss to Greenville, gave the Suns the South Atlantic League Northern Division second-half title as they lead by three games with three to go. Hagerstown will play Greensboro next week in the first round of the playoffs.

But once again, the Suns needed late inning heroics.

The Suns held a 2-1 lead heading into the seventh until the Tourists scored two runs off of Hagerstown reliever Greg Holt.

Jared Simon drew a leadoff walk and scored on Ryan Casteel double to center. Asheville took a 3-2 lead on Tevor Story’s two out single.

The Suns got to Asheville reliever Nelson Gonzalez by constructing a rally. J.R. Higley lead off with a single and Ortega reached on a fielder’s choice before Billy Burns advanced the runners with a bunt.

Khayyan Norfork hit a grounder that tied the game before Dykstra’s game-winner.

Asheville took a 1-0 in the fourth on a triple by Jordan Ribera and double by Samuel Mende.

The Suns grabbed the lead back in the bottom of the inning on a run-scoring single by Justin Miller and a RBI double by Higley.

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