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Hagerstown’s Huge Start Sends Lancaster to Loss

It was a beautiful 15-game ride for the Lancaster Stormers.

On Thursday night at Hagerstown’s Meritus Park, the car ran out of gas.

Hagerstown struck for nine runs in the bottom of the first inning, routing the Stormers, 17-9, to hand the visitors their first loss since May 25.

For one brief moment early in the night, it looked like the 16th win was in Lancaster’s grasp.  Shawon Dunston, Jr. led off the game with a walk and stole second.  Trace Loehr singled him home and went to third as Joseph Carpenter extended his hitting streak to 19 games with a double inside the third base bag.  Chris Proctor scored Loehr with a grounder, and Carpenter rode home on a double over the head of left fielder Justin Williams by Gaige Howard.

The 3-0 lead did not last long.  Carsie Walker (2-2) walked Demetrius Moorer to start the home half of the inning.  The next three batters singled, bringing up Blake Berry with the bases loaded and no one out in a 3-1 game.  Berry chopped the ball to the first base side of the mound.  Walker attempted to force Cito Culver at the plate, but his throw was behind Jack Conley, trickling away for an error that allowed two runs to score.  Justin Willaims drove home another for a 4-3 lead.

Walker was able to pick up two outs but could not get through Ozzie Abreu, who singled into center for a 5-3 lead.  Moorer, batting for the second time in the inning, singled to center as well, chasing Walker from the start.  Nile Ball took over and allowed a two-run double to right center by Culver.  Two batters later, Welington Dotel drove home the ninth run of the inning with yet another single to center.

If enough damage had not been done in the first inning, the Flying Boxcars used four doubles in the bottom of the second to produce four more runs and a 13-3 lead for Malik Binns (2-4), who carried the game through the fifth inning.

Despite the huge early deficit, the Stormers still managed to amass 14 hits for the game, with everyone but Proctor picking up at least one.  Kyle Kasser led the way with three.

Lancaster heads home to take on the High Point Rockers for a three-game series beginning on Friday night.  Right-hander Noah Bremer (4-1) will make the start against right-hander Neil Ramirez.  Fans may tune into the game on FloBaseball, starting at 6:40.

NOTES:  Carpenter is 30-for-80 (.375) in his streak…He is tied for the fourth longest in franchise history…With a hit on Friday evening, he will tie Caleb Gindl and Matt LeCroy for the second longest…Gaige Howard stretched a streak to six games, and Dunston to five…Hagerstown had scored only 18 runs in the first eight games of the season series…Lancaster finished the night two games behind York in the North race.