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Honey Hunters Win, 9-7, in Six-Inning Contest

The umpires called the players off the field, sent them back out after a long discussion and removed them for good two batters later.

When it was all done, the Gastonia Honey Hunters left the diamond with a 9-7 win over the Lancaster Barnstormers Wednesday evening at Clipper Magazine Stadium.  The game was halted in the top of the seventh inning due to persistent rain showers.

Pedro Gonzalez boosted Gastonia to a 4-0 lead with a grand slam to left center field off following three walks from Dominic DiSabatino (3-3) in the top of the second as the rain was already causing mud to cake in the cleats.

Wilson Garcia answered with a solo shot off Zack Godley (3-3) in the bottom of the inning, but a triple by Kevin Santa and sacrifice fly by Carlos Franco rebuilt the four-run lead in the third.

Gastonia appeared to put the game away in the fourth inning.  With one out, DiSabatino hit Steven Sensely with a pitch.  Gonzalez doubled over Joseph Carpenter’s outstretched glove in left, plating Sensely.  Cole Freeman picked up the seventh Gastonia run with a single to left center and stole second.  Santa reached on an error, and Zach Jarrett gave the guests an 8-1 lead with a sac fly to center.

Lancaster stormed back.  Ariel Sandoval cranked a leadoff homer to left in the bottom of the fourth.  Trayvon Robinson and Garcia followed with singles.  The runners were balked to second and third.  Godley struck out Joseph Carpenter.  Jack Conley bounced a ball to third, scoring Robinson, and reached on a bobble by Luis Curbelo.  Yeison Coca grounded to first as pinch runner Jake Hoover scored to cut the lead to 8-4.

In the fifth, the Barnstormers loaded the bases with one out.  Garcia rolled a grounder to first, and Curtis Terry fired home for the fourth.  With a double play looming, catcher Scott Manea fired the relay throw into the first section of seats down the right field line as two runs scored.

The teams exchanged runs in the sixth, and, after Robinson grounded out with the tying runs on base, crew chief Buzz Albert summoned the teams off the field.  Lancaster was hesitant to leave as manager Ross Peeples and GM Mike Reynolds pleaded the case that conditions were no worse than they had been all night.

After repairs to the field, Lancaster went out onto defense.  Sensely singled to right to start the seventh.  Gonzalez followed with a grounder to third and appeared to slip near the first base bag.  He came off the field hobbling, the umpires responded by calling the teams off the field a second time, and the obligatory half-hour wait became a mere formality.

David Richardson, who pitched the bottom of the sixth, got his first save.

Lancaster and Gastonia turn right around and meet for a doubleheader Thursday at 11:00 AM.  Nile Ball (2-1) and Bret Clarke (0-4) will take the hill for Lancaster against Ryan Conroy (0-0) and Sam Gaviglio (0-0).  Fans may watch the first game only on Blue Ridge 11.  Both ends of the doubleheader will be streamed live on FloBaseball.

NOTES:  Sandoval has a four-game hitting streak with a hit in his first plate appearance in each…He went 3-for-3 and is batting .393 but is approximately 20 plate appearances shy of qualifying for the league batting lead…Cordero has 19 RBI in 17 games…The Gonzalez grand slam was the first off Lancaster pitching this season…Lancaster is 5-17 in games decided by two runs or fewer.