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“Utley Rule” Not Invoked on Decisive Run

Lancaster Barnstormers manager Butch Hobson had a lengthy discussion with the three-man Atlantic League umpiring crew in the bottom of the seventh inning. The subject: baseball’s new rule regarding take out slides at second base.

Welington Dotel’s slide into second upended second baseman Lance Zawadzki on a double play pivot as the decisive run crossed the plate as the Bluefish defeated the Lancaster Barnstormers, 7-6, in the rubber game of the three-game series.

Hobson protested the game.

Luis Hernandez grounded a one-out single into left off Ryan Dennick (3-2) and stole second. Adron Chambers drew a lengthy walk. The Barnstormers brought in right-hander Pete Andrelczyk to face Dotel, and the Bridgeport right fielder beat out a single to the hole at shortstop to load the bases. Jose Cuevas also stroked a ground ball to Kevin Ahrens’ right. He fed Zawadzki for the force out. The second baseman then took a spill over Dotel and immediately claimed the rule should have been enforced. Hobson took over the argument, which went on for several moments, and officially lodged the protest.

All of the other runs scored in two innings. Sean Halton boosted the ‘Stormers to a 2-0 lead with his fifth home run of the season in the fourth inning, but the Bluefish countered with five off starter Mike Lee in the bottom of the inning. Dotel got the uprising started with a homer to center. Luis Nunez doubled home two more with a drive over the head of left fielder Josh Whitaker. Rossmel Perez yanked a double into the right field corner for a 4-2 lead. A fifth run scored when Anthony Giansanti, who had singled, was picked off first base but remained in a rundown long enough to enable Perez to score.

Charlie Cutler launched a ground rule double into the left field corner with the bases loaded in the top of the sixth to cut the lead to 5-4. With lefty reliever Brian Moran facing K.C. Hobson, the 1-1 pitch ticked off Perez’ glove, rolling to the catcher’s left. Zawadzki raced home with the tying run. Perez’ throw back toward the plate escaped Moran, and Cutler scored as well.

Josh Vitters tied the game with a one-out solo homer in the bottom of the sixth.

Paul Demny, the only right-hander the Barnstormers faced, got the final two outs in the seventh, to earn the win and improve to 2-0. Taylor Thompson fired a perfect ninth for his fifth save.

Lancaster opens a four-game series against New Britain Friday evening at Clipper Magazine Stadium. The Barnstormers will send right-hander Terry Doyle (2-3) to the mound against lefty Josh Outman (1-3). The game will be carried on Blue Ridge Cable 11 beginning at 7:00.

NOTES: Josh Bell singled in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to nine…Cutler’s two RBI were his first ribbies since June 1…Eight of Halton’s last 12 hits have been for extra bases…Lancaster is 6-14 in one-run games…The loss dropped the Barnstormers 4 ½ games behind York in the division race.