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OFFENSIVE EFFICIENCY PUTS LANCASTER ON VERGE

Lancaster Drops Magic Number to Two with 15-10 Win

An amazingly efficient offense on Wednesday evening has the Lancaster Barnstormers on the brink of repeating as second half North champions.

The Barnstormers scored 15 runs while leaving only three runners on base to defeat the Long Island Ducks, 15-10, in the middle game of a three-game set with the Long Island Ducks.

Combined with losses by Southern Maryland in York, the Barnstormers have dropped their magic numbers to two with respect to both clubs.  Lancaster leads the Blue Crabs by 2 ½ and York by 3 ½ with five games remaining on Lancaster’s schedule.  The other two play four each.

For the second straight night, Long Island scored four runs in the top of the first.  And for the second straight night, Lancaster led by four at the end of the fourth.

Nile Ball started for Lancaster and walked four of the first five batters he faced.  Following a two-run single by Joe DeCarlo, the right-hander hit two straight batters as the Ducks sprinted ahead, 4-0.

The Barnstormers responded immediately, scoring two runs on a Wilson Garcia double down the right field line in the bottom of the inning off Robert Stock (9-4).

Jonathan Guzman’s RBI single in the top of the third gave the Ducks a 5-2 edge before Lancaster charged ahead to stay in the bottom of the inning.  Melvin Mercedes, who had a four-hit night, lined a leadoff single into center and stole second.  Yeison Coca followed with a soft line drive hit into left to send Mercedes home with Lancaster’s third run.  Coca went to second on the throw home and took third on a grounder by Andretty Cordero.  Long Island tried for a play at the plate on Ariel Sandoval’s grounder to second, but Scott Kelly’s throw was late in the attempt to nab Coca, and the relay to first failed to get Sandoval.

Sandoval was put into motion to stay out of a double play on a ground out by Garcia.  Chad Sedio tied the game with a double to left, and Chris Proctor unloaded the game’s only homer, a drive to the tents in right, for a 7-5 lead.

A double by Mercedes an infield single by Coca keyed a two-run Lancaster fourth, but the Ducks trimmed the lead to 9-8 in the top of the fifth off winner Dominic DiSabatino (5-8).  Alejandro de Aza led off with a walk and went to second on DeCarlo’s single to left.  Jonathan Guzman doubled to left center for one run.  Two batters later, Boog Powell scooted a two-run single down the third base line as the Ducks pulled to within one.

The Barnstormers got three runs back in the bottom of the inning, two on a single by Trace Loehr.  Doubles by Ariel Sandoval and Wilson Garcia ripped consecutive doubles in the bottom of the eighth to put the game away.

Lancaster will have the opportunity to clinch the second half title on Thursday with a win over Long Island and losses by Southern Maryland and York.  Brady Tedesco (0-1) will make his Clipper Magazine Stadium debut against fellow lefty Ian Clarkin (3-4).  Fans not at the stadium may tune into FloBaseball at 6:25.

NOTES:  Mercedes had the first four-hit game by a Barnstormer in a month…He scored three times and has reached 100 on the year…It is the second straight season he has scored 100 times…Lancaster stole six bases in the game…Chandler Brierley, Ofreidy Gomez and Nick Duron combined to strike out seven batters in the final 2 1/3 innings.