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Bell, Halton Double Barnstormers to Victory

The Lancaster Barnstormers had trouble holding leads against a pesky New Britain Bees ballclub on Tuesday evening.

Their third one finally held in the bottom of the tenth as Lancaster won the opener of a three-game series, 6-4.

With the win, Lancaster remained two games behind both York and Sugar Land in the Freedom Division race.

Josh Whitaker opened the 10th with a walk from Craig Stem (1-4).  Josh Bell worked the count to 3-1 before cracking a long double over Michael Crouse’s head in right field to snap the 3-3 deadlock.  Sean Halton followed with a double to left for a 5-3 advantage.  Halton would eventually score on a wild pitch, building the lead to three.

New Britain again fought back.  James Skelton doubled beyond Whitaker in left to open the inning against Cory Burns.  The right-hander retired Brandon Chaves on a routine fly to left, but Steve Carrillo, used as a pinch runner two innings earlier, singled to right to score Skelton.  However, Burns quickly got cleanup batter Craig Maddox to ground into a 3-6-3 double play to end the night, earning his sixth save.

Kevin Ahrens put the Barnstormers ahead with a two-out RBI single, the second of his four hits, in the second inning, but the Bees countered immediately.  Maddox launched a long double off the wall in left to start the home second, moved to third on a single to center by Jonathan Roof and scored on a bad pickoff throw to first by Tanner Peters.

Logan Schafer singled home a run in the fourth, and Bell added his first RBI double, a blast to left center, in the seventh, as the Barnstormers took a 3-1 advantage.

Mike Lee and Al Yevoli combined to hold the 2-1 edge, but the recently-traded Crouse reached Josh Wall for a two-run homer to left center in the bottom of the seventh to forge the tie.

Crouse walked to open the ninth, but Charlie Cutler threw him out stealing.  Pete Andrelczyk (1-0) retired Jon Jones to finish the inning and was awarded the win.

The two clubs meet again on Wednesday evening.  Austin Bibens-Dirkx (2-3) takes the mound for Lancaster against New Britain lefty Josh Outman (1-2).  Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel beginning at 6:15.

NOTES:  Ahrens’ four-hit game was the first by a Barnstormer since April 22…The Barnstormers have gone 47 2/3 innings since their last home run…The Barnstormers are now 2-3 in extra inning games…Tanner Peters allowed three hits and a run in 3 1/3 innings in his first start…Lancaster tied a season high with four stolen bases.