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STUKA SAVES STREAK

Crazy Finish Gives Lancaster 15th Straight Win

Lancaster withstood a bizarre finish on Wednesday evening at Meritus Park to win its 15th consecutive game, 4-3, over the host Hagerstown Flying Boxcars.

The Stormers streak ties the 2000 Somerset Patriots for the longest string of successes in the 27-year history of the Atlantic League.

Until the bottom of the eighth inning, the Stormers led a well-pitched, well-defended game, 2-1.  Lefty Phil Diehl (1-0) was summoned to hold the lead, but allowed a rolling single up the middle by Demetrius Moorer and a two-run homer to Jaylyn Williams to start the inning, and the Stormers found themselves three outs from the winning streak ending, one short of the league mark.

However, the Stormers turned it right back around in the top of the ninth.  Gaige Howard greeted Rafael Kelly (0-1) with a single to left.  Kelly fell behind Jordan Howard, 3-0, got to a full count, then the Lancaster second baseman cranked a 400+-foot home run over the boards in right as the Stormers would take the 4-3 edge.

Ross Peeples went to his closer, Kyle Johnson, who struck out pinch hitter Justin Williams to start the inning.  On a 1-0 pitch, Ozzie Abreu popped up a bunt along the third base line.  Johnson sprinted to grab the ball and collided with third baseman Trace Loehr.  The right-hander took a few warmup throws, but his continuation in the game was deemed not possible, and the Stormers rushed lefty Justin Kelly in from the pen.  Kelly was wild, walking the next two batters and hitting the third, giving Hagerstown the tying and winning runs in scoring position with only one out.

Enter Ted Stuka.  The flame-throwing right-hander needed nine pitches to fan Jaylyn Williams and Dariel Gomez to send the Stormers to their share of league history.

Shawon Dunston, Jr. provided the early thrust for the Stormers, tripling twice.  He scored on a Trace Loehr grounder in the first and drove in Kyle Kasser with his second three-bagger in the fifth inning.

Cito Culver homered off Max Green’s first pitch, but the lefty starter settled down, lasting 6 1/3 innings, allowing only five hits and one walk while striking out seven.

Carsie Walker (2-1) will try to pitch the Stormers to sole possession of the record on Thursday evening against right-hander Malik Binns (1-4).  Fans may tune into FLoBaseball, beginning at 6:25.

NOTES:  The win kept Lancaster within one game of division leading York…Joseph Carpenter had a pair of singles to extend his hitting streak to 18…Utility player Payton Robertson, who was acquired in a trade with Lexington, made his Lancaster debut…Howard’s homer was his first hit as a Stormer…He joined the club yesterday.