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LATE CHARGE BY ‘STORMERS FALLS SHORT

Lancaster Eliminated with Loss, York Win

The Lancaster Barnstormers put together one of their best innings of the season in the bottom of the ninth on Thursday evening.

Unfortunately, it was not enough to stave off elimination.

Down, 7-0, heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Barnstormers eventually got the winning run to the plate but still fell, 7-4 to the Bridgeport Bluefish.

The loss, combined with York’s 8-7 win at Long Island officially eliminated the Barnstormers from first half contention in the Freedom Division.

York went on to clinch the first half later in the evening as the Sugar Land Patriots dropped a 3-2, 15-inning decision at Southern Maryland.

With one out in the ninth, Joe Kuzia walked Josh Bell. Kevin Ahrens, K.C. Hobson and Sean Halton added base hits to produce the first run. Lefty Brian Moran was summoned from the bullpen. Charlie Cutler yanked a two-run single into right center. Pinch hitter Jeff Kobernus, batting for the first time in more than a month, singled into center to cut the Bridgeport lead to 7-4 and get Blake Gailen to the plate as the tying run. Gailen worked the count to 3-1 before striking out for the second out of the inning.

Bridgeport went to right-handed closer Taylor Thompson to nail the game down. Justin Jackson reached him for a ground single into right to reload the bases. Thompson was unable to continue due to an injury. After an extended delay, Jose Veras faced Caleb Gindl with the chance for the ultimate grand slam. Instead, the Barnstormers’ center fielder rolled out to second to end the night and the ‘Stormers first half hopes.

The Bluefish broke a scoreless tie with a run off Kelvin De La Cruz (2-1, 5-7) in the sixth. Luis Hernandez, who had five hits on Wednesday, singled to center to start the inning. He moved up on Luis Rodriguez’ sacrifice bunt and went to third when Welington Dotel smashed a single into right. Jose Cuevas produced the run with a sacrifice fly to center.

Four more runs crossed in the seventh. Jonathan Galvez crunched a homer to left, and Josh Vitters followed with a walk, ending the night for De La Cruz. Jose Gil’s bloop hit to left center was the first of three hits off reliever Kevin Munson. Luis Nunez followed with a double into the left field corner, and Hernandez chimed in with a two-run single for a 5-0 lead.

Bridgeport added single runs in the eighth and ninth innings to build the 7-0 lead.

The Barnstormers head to York for the first three days of the holiday weekend. Lancaster will send right-hander Tanner Peters (3-2) to the hill against right-hander Micah Owings (2-3) on Friday night. Fans may tune into the Barnstormers You Tube Channel, beginning at 6:15.

NOTES: Kobernus’ single in the ninth was the first successful pinch hit by a Barnstormer this season…Halton had a double in the seventh, his 14th extra base hit in 23 games…The starting pitcher batted for the second consecutive game with De La Cruz striking out and grounding to third…Munson has recorded 15 of his last 22 outs on strikes.