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Ground Singles Prove Barnstormers Undoing

Lancaster’s middle infielders just could not get there.

Three ground ball singles and one bad throw produced two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Long Island Ducks scooted past the Lancaster Barnstormers, 3-2, Sunday afternoon at Bethpage Ballpark.

The loss cost the Barnstormers a chance to pick up a game on the York Revolution. Lancaster remains 2 ½ games behind the Revolution in the Freedom Division chase.

With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Anthony Vega grounded a base hit past the diving try of second baseman Lance Zawadzki. Matt Wessinger followed with a hit-and-run single up the middle past the outstretched glove of shortstop Kevin Ahrens. Fehlandt Lentini bounced back to Cory Burns (0-2), who made a play on Vega. The lead runner darted back and forth between the plate and third base long enough to enable pinch runner Carlos Hughes to advance to third and Lentini to grab second.

Delta Cleary, Jr. chopped a 1-2 pitch over Burns’ head. Ahrens darted over and tried to make a hurried throw to get Cleary. The ball skipped past first baseman Mike McDade as the tying and winning runs raced home.

Long Island had taken a 1-0 lead off starter Bryan Evans in the third when Wessinger reached on a bloop double down the right field line and two outs later, Ruben Gotay lifted a pop up that fell in front of the pitcher’s mound.

Meanwhile, Lancaster’s leadoff batter reached base in six consecutive innings, but it was not until the seventh that the Barnstormers scored. Josh Bell’s single up the middle scored Ahrens with the tying run. K.C. Hobson flared a base hit into center to score Josh Whitaker for the 2-1 edge.

That would be the final baserunner for the Barnstormers, who stranded 12 on the afternoon. Kevin Vance (2-1) retired all six men he faced to pick up the win.

Lancaster heads to Bridgeport for a three-game series beginning Monday night. The Barnstormers send right-hander Tanner Peters (2-2) to the hill against lefty Mike Antonini (3-6). Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 6:55.

NOTES: Ahrens and Zawadzki both extended hitting streaks to seven games…The Barnstormers are 6-13 in one-run games…They have lost nine games in their opponents’ final at bat…Bell collected four tying or go ahead RBI in the last three games of the series…Bryan Evans allowed one run in six innings, Lancaster’s sixth quality start in the last eight games.