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New Britain Gains Split, 7-3

The New Britain Bees erupted for five runs in the bottom of the first inning, and Kyle Simon pitched no-hit baseball for five innings as the Bees took a series finale from the Lancaster Barnstormers, 7-3, Thursday evening at New Britain Stadium.

Greg Golson reached on an infield single to the left side and was forced at second by Michael Crouse. The next four New Britain batters did damage to starter Mike Lee (4-4). Jovan Rosa scorched a single off the glove of shortstop Dean Wilson. Craig Maddox lined a single into right, scoring Crouse, and Jon Griffin lined a single into right center to bring Rosa home. Jonathan Roof capped the spree with a booming three-run homer to left center.

New Britain did not score again against Lee until the fifth when Griffin singled to center and Roof doubled to open the inning. James Skelton drilled a single into center for a 6-0 lead. Anthony Hewitt drove in the seventh run with a force play grounder to short. Jake McGuiggan doubled off the wall in left to put runners at second and third, but Lee snared a vicious line drive off Golson’s bat, turning it into a double play to end the inning.

Lee lasted seven, keeping the Barnstormers bullpen out of the game, following Wednesday’s prolonged day-night doubleheader. The right-hander yielded 14 hits and the seven runs. He walked two and struck out three. Japanese newcomer Hitoshi Fujie worked a perfect eighth inning, striking out two.

Simon (5-3) faced the minimum 15 batters over the first five innings, quickly erasing a fourth inning walk to Blake Gailen with a double play ground ball.

K.C. Hobson broke up the no-hit bid with a long leadoff single to right in the sixth, but it was not until the eighth that the Barnstormers reached the scoreboard. Sean Halton reached on a leadoff infield single. Hobson followed with a towering homer to right to snap the shutout. Charlie Cutler singled to left center and took second when the ball bounced away from Crouse. He went to third on a single to right center by Wilson and scored on a sacrifice fly by Yusuke Kajimoto.

Mike Jacobs doubled, and Hobson walked in the ninth, bringing the tying run into the on deck circle, but Shawn Gilblair retired Cutler on a pop up to shortstop for the final out.

The Barnstormers entertain the Somerset Patriots Friday evening with a performance of the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo and the Scout Night Sleepover on tap. Lancaster will send lefty Kelvin De La Cruz (3-1, 6-7) to the mound against right-hander Shaun Garceau (1-1). Fans may tune into Blue Ridge Cable 11 or the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 7:00.

NOTES: Hobson has five home runs and 14 RBI in 13 games…Gailen is 10-for-21 on the last two road trips…The Barnstormers have not won a series since June 3-5 at York.