Manager Peeples Gambles, Wins
Manager Ross Peeples made a couple of daring moves on Saturday evening. Both paid off and led to a 5-4 Lancaster Barnstormers victory over the Staten Island Ferryhawks at Community Park.
The win kept Lancaster at least 4 ½ games ahead of Southern Maryland in the North race, pending the outcome of the Blue Crabs-York matchup in Waldorf, MD.
In the bottom of the seventh, with the score tied at 4-4, Peeples opted to walk shortstop Angel Aguilar intentionally to load the bases with one out. On deck was lefty batting outfielder Ricardo Cespedes, who had already extended his hitting streak to 14 games earlier.
Peeples summoned right-hander Brandyn Sittinger from the bullpen, and Sittinger coaxed a 6-4-3 double play out of Cespedes. In the top of the eighth, Colton Shaver led off with a single to left off Joe Kuzia (2-4). Peeples used Ariel Sandoval as a pinch runner, and Anderson Feliz bunted Sandoval to second. Chris Proctor pulled a slow ground ball into the right side hole and beat Dilson Herrera’s throw for the second hit of the inning. In the process, Peeples waved Sandoval home, and Sandoval beat Ramon Osuna’s throw to the plate for the deciding run.
Trayvon Robinson gave the Barnstormers a quick 2-0 lead with a first inning home run yanked over the boards in right, but Osuna matched it with a two-run shot of his own in the bottom of the second.
The clubs exchanged bizarre runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Lancaster went ahead, 3-2, as Trace Loehr was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. A dropped third strike allowed the Joseph Monge to score from in the home fourth, tying the game at 3-3. A balk by starter Hector Guance Pena set the Barnstormers up for a run in the fifth, and Shaver produced it with a sacrifice fly to center.
Staten Island scored a more conventional run in the bottom of the inning on a double by Antoine Duplantis and a pair of outs.
Sittinger (1-1) survived a leadoff single by Rusney Castillo in the bottom of the eighth, and Bret Clarke pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his first career save.
The Barnstormers will look for the sweep on Sunday afternoon. Nile Ball (8-4) will make the start for Lancaster against lefty Augie Sylk, recently traded by Lancaster to Staten Island. Sylk is 1-0 since joining the Ferryhawks and 5-9 overall. Fans may tune into the YouTube channel, beginning at 3:55.
NOTES: Kelsie Whitmore started for the first time against Lancaster…She recorded two putouts in left…At the plate, she struck out twice against Erik Manoah before Manoah hit her with his first pitch in the seventh inning…Lancaster struck out 13 in the game, the 48th time the staff has fanned 10 or more in a game…Melvin Mercedes reached a 10-game streak with a leadoff single…Andretty Cordero lost a 10-game streak…It was the 12th straight win for the Barnstormers over the Ferryhawks.