Blue Crabs get swept in Long Is­land

Blow eighth-in­ning leads twice; July 28 makeup to de­cide Free­dom first-half win­ner

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

Long Is­land had leads of 6-0 and 9-2 and went on to se­cure a 10-5 vic­tory on Sun­day night to wrap up a three-game se­ries sweep over the South­ern Mary­land Blue Crabs at Beth­page Ball­park in Cen­tral Is­lip, N.Y.

South­ern Mary­land, which had a two-game lead go­ing into the week­end se­ries, ended up tied for first place with Lan­caster in the At­lantic League’s Free­dom Divi­sion first-half stand­ings with iden­ti­cal 38-31 records.

Sun­day marked the league’s end of the first half, but the Blue Crabs and Barn­storm­ers will make up a May 25 post­pone­ment at 6:35 p.m. July 28 at Regency Fur­ni­ture Sta­dium in Wal­dorf that will count in the first-half stand­ings with the win­ner clinch­ing the divi­sion ti­tle and a play­off berth in Septem­ber.

The sec­ond half of the sea­son kicked off Mon­day with the first of a four-game se­ries in Wal­dorf ver­sus Sugar Land. The se­ries con­tin­ues through Thurs­day with sched­uled 6:35 p.m. first pitches.

“Long Is­land is a very good hit­ting team and you have to throw strikes against a team like that,” said Blue Crabs man­ager John Har­ris, whose team was swept for only the sec­ond time this sea­son. “We were hop­ing to get at least two in the se­ries, but it just didn’t hap­pen for us.”

The Ducks (36-34, fin­ish­ing third for the first half in the Lib­erty Divi­sion) were led by Gio­vanny Alonzo with a 4 for 4 night at the plate with a home run, RBI and two runs scored. Elmer Reyes fin­ished 3 for 4, in­clud­ing a three-run home run in the third off Blue Crabs starter Drew Hayes. Lew Ford added two hits, in­clud­ing a home run that started the scor­ing in the first.

The Blue Crabs looked to mount a come­back, scor­ing three runs in the sev­enth to cut the Ducks lead to 9-5, but did not come any closer.

Michael Sny­der hit solo homers in the fourth and sixth and now has 16 on the sea­son, which leads the team and is sec­ond in the At­lantic League through Sun­day. Zach Wil­son added two hits, in­clud­ing a twoRBI triple in the sev­enth that made it 9-5.

“It’s re­ally dis­ap­point­ing we were swept by Long Is­land, but it’s part of the grind in a sea­son,” Sny­der said. “We’ve been play­ing well and it’s tough we couldn’t clinch the [divi­sion ti­tle] this week­end. But we will bounce back. Good teams put tough road trips be­hind them

and look to the next game.”

Hayes lasted just three in­nings, al­low­ing six runs on five hits and gave up three home runs.

Satur­day, South­ern Mary­land held a 7-1 lead in the sev­enth and 7-2 in the eighth, but Long Is­land ral­lied back to win 10-8. The night prior, the Blue Crabs fell 5-3 spurred an­other eighth-in­ning rally by the Ducks.

The Blue Crabs were 28-1 on the sea­son when lead­ing af­ter seven in­nings un­til the blown leads on Fri­day and Satur­day.

“Not be­ing able to hold leads in the eighth in­ning hurt us,” Har­ris said. “Our pitch­ing has been solid. We just made crit­i­cal er­rors at the wrong time and we have to close games out when we get the lead.”

Just af­ter South­ern Mary­land bat­ted around in the top half of the sev­enth Satur­day to score four runs keyed by a Devon Ro­driguez two-out, two-RBI sin­gle, Ruben Go­tay’s solo homer off Blue Crabs starter Daryl Thomp­son gave Long Is­land its sec­ond run of the night.

Thomp­son was re­lieved by Robert Car­son to start the bot­tom of the eighth and the game un­rav­eled for South­ern Mar yland.

Car­son only got one out, the lead­off bat­ter of the in­ning An­thony Vega, and was out in place of closer Cody Ep­p­ley with three runs al­ready in.

An er­ror by sec­ond base­man L.J. Hoes made it 7-6, then Ep­p­ley un­corked a wild pitch with the bases loaded to tie the game. Dan Lyons fol­lowed with a twoRBI triple that put Long Is­land ahead 9-7 and he came home on an­other Ep­p­ley wild pitch to cap off an eight-run eighth that saw 11 hit­ters come the plate — nine of them reached in a row — and fea­tured six hits and two er­rors.

The Blue Crabs made it 10-8 on Cory Vaughn’s RBI ground­out, but Ed­win Gar­cia popped out in foul ter­ri­tory with the bases loaded to end the game. Vaughn’s on-base streak came to end at 26 straight games.

Thomp­son, a 2003 La Plata High School grad­u­ate, did not fac­tor into the de­ci­sion af­ter the Long Is­land come­back. He tossed seven in­nings, al­low­ing two runs on six hits while strik­ing out three and threw 87 pitches, 65 for strikes. Ep­p­ley suf­fered the loss, giv­ing up four runs (3 earned) on two hits and two walks in two-thirds of an in­ning.

“It’s def­i­nitely im­por­tant to hold leads and we have a ton of con­fi­dence in our bullpen,” Ro­driguez said. “We just have to con­tinue to play base­ball and cut down on our mis­takes. We had two tough losses, but we con­trol our own des­tiny.”

The Blue Crabs, who out­hit the Ducks 15-12, were led by Hoes, Wil­son (3 runs) and Gar­cia with three hits each.

In Fri­day’s se­ries opener, South­ern Mary­land held a 3-2 lead into the bot­tom of the eighth when Long Is­land scored

three runs to take the lead and even­tu­ally hold on for the win.

Zack Thorn­ton came on in re­lief of Blue Crabs starter Pat McCoy with two on and one out and got Alex Burg on a come­backer, but Vega scored to tie the game. Go­tay fol­lowed with an RBI dou­ble to put Long Is­land on top and Delta Cleary Jr. added some in­surance with an RBI sin­gle.

Ducks re­liever David Aardsma earned his sixth save with a per­fect ninth in­ning, strik­ing out two, to com­plete the come­back.

Jose Lozada led the Blue Crabs with three hits and Ro­driguez had two, in­clud­ing a two-RBI sin­gle in the sixth that put the vis­i­tors on top 3-2.

McCoy suf­fered the loss, sur­ren­der­ing four runs (3 earned) on seven hits and two walks with three strike­outs in 7 1/3 in­nings.

Thurs­day, South­ern Mary­land pre­vailed 6-4 over Som­er­set, which had clinched the Lib­erty Divi­sion first-half ti­tle the night prior, to fin­ish the four-game se­ries in New Jersey be­tween the league’s top two teams with a split.

PHOTO BY BERT HINDMAN

Blue Crabs starter Daryl Thomp­son, a 2003 La Plata High School grad­u­ate, pitched a no-de­ci­sion in Satur­day night’s 10-8 road loss to the Long Is­land Ducks af­ter the Ducks scored eight runs in the eighth in­ning af­ter he had de­parted. Thomp­son went seven in­nings, al­low­ing just two runs on six hits with three strike­outs.

PHOTO BY BERT HINDMAN

Blue Crab clean-up hit­ter Michael Sny­der fin­ished with two home runs in Sun­day night’s 10-5 road loss to the Long Is­land Ducks in the three-game se­ries fi­nale.

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