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Dramatic Rally in Ninth Not Quite Enough

The Lancaster Barnstormers and Long Island Ducks appeared to be playing out the string of a 6-0 game in the late innings on Tuesday night.

All of a sudden, the Barnstormers got a rookie pitcher and took advantage of some poor Long Island defense to fight back to a 6-6 tie.

Then, Jose Sermo, guilty of one of the bad fielding blunders in the top of the inning, atoned with a walkoff home run in the bottom of the ninth as the Ducks took the opener of a three-game series, 7-6.

The story of the game, though, was the top of the ninth.  Against newcomer Nick Trabacchi, a local product, Melvin Mercedes drew a leadoff walk.  Trayvon Robinson followed with a single up the middle to put two men on.  Andretty Cordero hit a chopper to third, which was handled cleanly by Deibinson Romero, but he missed a tag on Mercedes, then was late on his throw to second, allowing Lancaster to load the bases.

Chris Proctor was walked to force home Lancaster’s first run of the game.  With a save now in order, closer Matt Carasiti marched in from the bullpen.  He was greeted by a two-run single by Colton Shaver.  Anderson Feliz walked to refill the bags, bringing up pinch hitter Jacob Barfield.  Barfield hit a bounder to first, but Sermo made a high throw, allowing the fourth run of the inning to score.  Jake Hoover made it 6-5 with a ground out to third, and Trace Loehr tied the game with a sacrifice fly.

Romero lined to deep left to open the home ninth.  Sermo worked ahead of West Tunnell (5-1) before launching the ball out of the yard to right center for the game winner.

The Ducks got to Lancaster starter Cameron Gann for six hits and five runs in two-plus innings.  L.J. Mazzilli singled to right, plating Anfernee Seymour from second on a close play at home in the second.  In the third, Romero picked up a walk, followed by four straight singles  Joe DeCarlo drove in one run, and Dustin Woodcock knocked home two more with a single to center, chasing Gann. 

Bret Clarke finished the third, allowing one more run on a sacrifice fly, then threw three more innings, allowing only a home run to DeCarlo.  Clarke fanned seven.  Donald Goodson and Dominic DiSabatino pitched a scoreless inning apiece.

Lancaster will send Brooks Hall (3-1) to the hill on Wednesday night against right-hander Joe Iorio (9-4).  Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube channel at 6:30.

NOTES:  Clarke’s strikeout of Carlos Castro in the fifth innings was the staff’s 1000th of the year…The walkoff homer by Sermo was the first either by or against the Barnstormers this season…Mercedes lost an 11-game hitting streak.