Septem­ber base­ball in South­ern Mary­land

Blue Crabs out­last York in 10, now 3 1/2 games out in Free­dom Di­vi­sion stand­ings

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­

To keep their play­off hopes go­ing in the right di­rec­tion, the South­ern Mary­land Blue Crabs need to keep win­ning.

Wed­nes­day night at Peo­ples-Bank Park in York, the Blue Crabs bat­tled back from a onerun deficit in the top of the ninth to force ex­tra in­nings, took the lead in the 10th and pulled off a wild end­ing in the bot­tom half to win 5-4.

York, trail­ing by a run, loaded the bases with one out against right-han­der Craig Stem. Stem then pro­ceeded to strike out An­dres Perez and Michael Burgess to end the game and bring the Blue Crabs to within 3 1/2 games of Sugar Land and York, who share first place with the Rev­o­lu­tion hold­ing the top spot by one per­cent­age point, with 11 games left to play in the At­lantic League’s Free­dom Di­vi­sion sec­ond-half stand­ings en­ter­ing Thurs­day.

With one out in the top of the ninth, Al­fredo Marte ad­vanced to first on a fielder’s choice then went to sec­ond base on an er­ror as Zach Wil­son came home to tie the game at 4.

Cody Ep­p­ley, in his sec­ond in­ning of re­lief, al­lowed backto-back walks with two outs in the bot­tom of the ninth, but got Bran­don Chaves to ground out to send the game to the 10th.

Bryant Nel­son sin­gled with one out in the 10th and moved to third on an An­gel Sanchez sin­gle. Michael Snyder de­liv­ered with an RBI sin­gle to cen­ter field off of re­liever Ri­cardo Gomez, scor­ing Nel­son for the even­tual game-win­ning run.

“It felt great to get that knock for the team,” said Snyder, who was 0 for 4 at the plate be­fore the big hit. “I had to step up and it was a great team win. The bats came alive and our pitch­ers threw well.”

Ep­p­ley got the win on the hill for the Blue Crabs as he pitched a score­less eighth and ninth. Stem picked up his first save of the sea­son with blank­ing York in the 10th. Scott Sn­odgress re­lieved starter Brian Gren­ing and threw a score­less sev­enth.

“I re­ally like where this bullpen is right now,” Blue Crabs man­ager Jeremy Owens said. “They un­der­stand sit­u­a­tions and guys are an­swer­ing the bell. The play­offs have started for us right now. We are real ex­cited and it was a big win tonight.”

The Blue Crabs (54-75 over­all, 28-31 sec­ond half en­ter­ing Thurs­day) fin­ished the fourgame series at York (71-57, 3127) on Thurs­day and kick off a three-game week­end series with Sugar Land (67-63, 32-28) at 7:05 tonight, then wrap up its home sched­ule with three games ver­sus New Bri­tain start­ing Mon­day be­fore fin­ish­ing the sea­son with four games in Sugar Land start­ing Sept. 15. The Skeeters were swept by Som­er­set in three games this week and have lost 11 of their last 13 dat­ing back to los­ing two of three in late Au­gust at Re­gency Fur­ni­ture Sta­dium in Wal­dorf.

South­ern Mary­land struck first as Gary Brown led off the game with a home run. Af­ter York scored three runs in bot­tom of the sec­ond, Brown hit an­other solo shot in the third to bring the Blue Crabs to within 3-2.

Wil­son, who fin­ished 3 for 5 at the plate with two runs scored, hit his 18th home run of the sea­son in the fourth to tie the game at 3. How­ever, a solo homer from Bryan Pounds put York up 4-3 in the bot­tom of the fourth.

Blue Crabs starter Brian Gren­ing pitched a no-de­ci­sion, go­ing six in­nings, al­low­ing all four York runs on six hits to go along with a walk and five strike­outs. The Ore­gon na­tive has nine wins, tied for fourth most in the At­lantic League en­ter­ing Thurs­day.

“It was a to­tal team ef­fort tonight. I wasn’t at my best, but the bats kept us in it and that’s a sign of a good team,” said Gren­ing, who is in his ninth sea­son as a pro. “The bullpen was ex­cep­tional and it’s al­ways nice to see them lock in a win, es­pe­cially when your closer goes [two].”

Tues­day, South­ern Mary­land was on the wrong side of a onerun fi­nal, fall­ing 4-3. The Blue Crabs scored all three of their runs in the third.

Eric Gar­cia hit an RBI dou­ble, scor­ing Marte. The next two bat­ters, Brown and Nel­son, tried to lay down sac­ri­fice bunts, but back-to-back York er­rors al­lowed a pair of Blue Crabs runs to score.

Jared Mitchell’s two-run sin­gle in the bot­tom of the third brought the Rev­o­lu­tion to within 3-2, which stood un­til Isa­ias Te­jada led off the sev­enth with a homer that tied the game. Later, Michael Rock­ett scored on a sac­ri­fice fly to left from Josh Wil­son to put York in front.

The Blue Crabs had the ty­ing run at third with one out in the eighth but could not score. In the ninth, Ja­mar Wal­ton reached on an er­ror, but was stranded as the vis­i­tors lost by a run.

York out­hit South­ern Mary­land 9-4. Af­ter the three-run, three-hit third, the Blue Crabs did not have an­other hit un­til a Nel­son lead­off sin­gle in the eighth.

Blue Crabs starter Daryl Thomp­son, a 2003 La Plata High School grad­u­ate, lost his third straight start, go­ing 6 1/3 in­nings, al­low­ing four runs on nine hits with no walks and eight strike­outs.

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