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Lancaster Center Fielder Delivers Walkoff Single

Ariel Sandoval has paid enormous dividends for the Lancaster Barnstormers since his arrival in late July, but, perhaps, never more than Wednesday night.

The Lancaster center fielder lined a single to left, his fourth hit of the night, to drive home the tying and winning runs in the bottom of the ninth as the Barnstormers rallied past the Long Island Ducks, 7-6, in a thriller at Clipper Magazine Stadium.

Lancaster’s victory, combined with a Southern Maryland loss at York, advanced the second half lead for the Barnstormers to 3 ½ games with 23 remaining.

With the score tied at 5-5 entering the ninth inning, Long Island loaded the bases with one out on three straight walks from West Tunnell (4-0).  Alejandro de Aza hit a shallow pop foul behind third base.  Andretty Cordero, on the run, made the catch with his glove extended.  The Ducks took a gamble and turned L.J. Mazzilli loose from third.  He beat the throw home to put the visitors ahead, 6-5.  Tunnell got Deibinson Romero to fly out to end the inning.

Melvin Mercedes opened the bottom of the ninth with a single into right center off Tyler Webb (2-4).  He went to second on a wild pitch, and, one out later, the Ducks opted to walk Cordero intentionally.  Colton Shaver also walked to bring up Sandoval.  He ripped a breaking pitch from Webb over Romero’s head at third.  Mercedes strode home with the tying run, and Cordero easily scampered home with the game winner.

Phil Caulfield opened the night with a home run for the Ducks, but the Barnstormers quickly responded.  Mercedes greeted starter Stephen Tarpley with a bloop single to right and took second on a Trayvon Robinson bunt.  Tarpley left the game with an injury, and Cordero lined a single into left center to tie the game off Chris Cepeda, then stole second.  Sandoval, two batters later, grounded a single up the middle to score Cordero for a 2-1 lead.

Long Island went ahead in the fourth.  Romero picked up the tying run with a broken bat bloop hit to left.  After an error on the return throw moved runners to second and third, Lancaster opted to walk Joe DeCarlo intentionally to load the bases.  Matt Chamberlain picked up another walk to force home the lead run, and Dustin Woodcock made it 4-2 with a sac fly to center.

Sandoval doubled to left center, the ‘Stormers’ only extra base hit of the night to start the bottom of the fourth and scored on a two-out single inside first by Anthony Peroni.

However, the Ducks pushed the lead back to two in the top of the sixth.  Woodcock drove a two-out double into the left field corner off Bret Clarke.  Anfernee Seymour rolled a single just to the left of second, and Woodcock scored when Jake Hoover’s throw was out of the reach of first baseman Colton Shaver.

Jacob Barfield grounded a single through the hole on the left side to score Sandoval in the seventh, and the Barnstormers tied the game in the eighth on a bases loaded sacrifice fly to right by Trace Loehr, scoring pinch runner Chris Proctor from third.

Brooks Hall (3-1) will try to pitch Lancaster to the sweep on Thursday evening.  He will be opposed by right-hander Akeel Morris (5-9).  Fans may tune into the game on the Barnstormers YouTube channel, starting at 6:25.

NOTES:  The win was only Lancaster’s second of the season when trailing after seven innings…Sandoval had been hitless in his previous three games…Peroni extended his hitting streak to 12…Cordero’s RBI in the first was his 99th of the season…He has amassed 154 hits…Mercedes has hit safely in eight straight…Cameron Gann started for Lancaster and struck out seven in five innings…He now has 126 on the year, 14 shy of the club mark, set by John Anderson in 2019.