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Ghost Hounds Keep Lancaster Out of First, 14-4

The Lancaster Barnstormers went into Saturday evening’s contest against the Spire City Ghost Hounds with a chance to take sole possession of first place in the crazy North race.

Spire City would not let it happen.

The Ghost Hounds bashed four home runs over Lancaster’s short right field porch to rout the Barnstormers, 14-4, in the middle game of a three-game series.

As a result, the Barnstormers remain in second place, one-half game behind Southern Maryland and one-half game ahead of York.  Staten Island has moved to within 2 ½ games of the top.

Luke Becker launched the first home run, immediately following Kole Cottam’s two-out single in the second.  The blow came off new Lancaster starter Matt Swarmer (0-1) after the right-hander retired the first five hitters of the game.

Kottam added a pair of homers with a man aboard, one in the fourth and one in the eighth.  Osvaldo Abreu connected for a grand slam, two outs into the ninth inning.

Melvin Mercedes keyed a two-run Lancaster third inning with a triple into the right center field gap, driving in one run and scoring the other.  The Barnstormers also got within a run in the bottom of the fourth when Wilson Garcia doubled to left center, and designated runner Trace Loehr scored on a single by Joseph Carpenter.

Cottam and Abreu both finished the night with four hits for the Ghost Hounds.  Kottam drove in five.

Henry Sosa (1-0) made his Atlantic League debut as well.  The former Astro worked six innings, giving up six hits and three runs while walking two and striking out a pair.

The Barnstormers and Ghost Hounds will meet at 5:00 on Sunday.  Lancaster will send Brent Teller (9-4) to the mound against right-hander Dustin Beggs (3-8).  Fans may view the game on Blue Ridge 11 or FloBaseball.  Sunday will mark the final Blue Ridge 11 telecast of the season.

NOTES:  Mercedes extended a hitting streak to nine and an on-base streak to 14…He has a .497 on base percentage in the last 31 games while reaching base in 30 of them…Andretty Cordero doubled in the first inning, his 33rd of the season…He is eight shy of the club single season record…Spire City clinched the season series with its seventh win…Kottam’s multi-homer game was the 15th given up by Lancaster pitching this season.