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Hagerstown native Binford comes home to pitch vs. Suns in Municipal Stadium

June 27, 2013|By TIM KOELBLE | koelble@herald-mail.com
  • Lexington's Christian Binford delivers a pitch during Thursday night's game against the Hagerstown Suns at Municipal Stadium
Ric Dugan /

HAGERSTOWN — He met well-wishers outside the clubhouse prior to the game and heard the cheers from supporters when he returned to the dugout from his pre-game warmup.

For the first time in his young baseball career, Hagerstown native Christian Binford was about to toe the rubber at Municipal Stadium, this time as the starting pitcher for the Lexington Legends on Thursday night against the Hagerstown Suns.

“I was in one all-star game in high school in the stadium and never pitched, got one time at bat,” Binford said.

There were plenty of fans wearing blue and white along the third-base line. They represented Binford’s alma mater, Mercerburg Academy, and came out in force to support their former student.

Lexington’s pitching rotation prevented Binford the chance to of pitching in Legends’ first trip to Hagerstown. This time, he knew even prior to last Saturday’s start against Savannah he would start in front of hometown fans.

“I wasn’t really nervous. How could you be with a whole hometown section cheering for you?” Binford said after Hagerstown pulled out a 5-4 victory.

“This was absolutely the best game in my life,” Binford said, standing along the third base stands, talking to more followers.

He ended with a 96-pitch outing without a decision, leaving after seven innings with a 4-3 lead.

Binford (4-3) went seven innings for the fifth time this season. He struck out four, walked one and allowed five hits.

He found the visitors bullpen to warmup around 6:34 p.m. Then he found the mound between the lines and his first pitch was a strike to Tony Renda and he retired the Suns in order to start the game.

Lexington’s two errors made for a rocky second inning, allowing the Suns to take a 3-0 lead with three unearned runs.

“(Errors) are part of the game, little league, minor and majors,” Binford said. “I just wanted to get out of the inning because we have good hitters that can get us back.”

Binford mixed his fastball and a breaking ball well as he worked through the rest of his start.

“I mixed it up with the breaking ball trying to keep them on their toes,” Binford said.

Lexington third baseman Michael Antonio atoned for an error in the third with a two-run homer in the seventh, Fred Ford followed with a solo blast and a double and error helped produce the fourth run, and Binford was able to look forward to the seventh inning.

It was a welcomed piece of offense for Binford as the Legends scored for him for the first time in 14 innings.

“I just wanted to come out and leave the seventh inning with the lead,” Binford said. “I just didn’t want to mess up the lead.”

Even though Hagerstown rallied for the win, Binford was not distraught over losing a potential win, which would have been his first on the road.

“It’s OK. Just being home is the win,” he said.

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