Lexington 5, Southern Maryland 4
(Lexington, KY, April 21, 2022) The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs and Lexington Legends powered five home runs in the season opener. In a tight game that included multiple lead changes, the Lexington Legends edged out the Blue Crabs 5-4 on opening day.
Daryl Thompson (L, 0-1) pitched five innings in his first appearance of the 2022 season. Though Thompson allowed only five hits, he also surrendered four runs in the 5-4 loss.
Lexington’s starting pitcher, JJ Hoover (W, 1-0), ran into trouble in the top of the first inning. Jack Sundberg led off the game with a double to the third-base side. With Sundberg on third and two outs, David Harris roped a double into center field, scoring Sundberg and giving the Blue Crabs a 1-0 lead.
Daryl Thompson worked around a leadoff double in the bottom of the first inning. But in the second inning, Lexington responded. After an error by third baseman Alex Crosby, Montrell Marshall hit an opposite-field two-run home run to give the Legends a 2-1 advantage.
In the fourth inning, the Blue Crabs answered. Jared Walker, who led off the inning, launched a solo home run over the wall in right-center field to tie the game at 2.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Lexington Legends went deep again. After Phillip Ervin worked a four-pitch walk, Courtney Hawkins blasted a home run over the wall in center field, putting Lexington in front 4-2. The homers continued in the sixth, when David Harris destroyed a home run over the center-field wall, cutting the Blue Crabs’ deficit to 4-3.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Lexington Legends hit their third home run of the game. Boog Powell led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a home run off of Dalton Geekie, giving Lexington a 5-3 lead. From there, Geekie settled down, striking out two batters and escaping the inning without further damage.
In the top of the eighth inning, the Blue Crabs rallied. Rubi Silva led off the inning with an infield single that deflected off of the pitcher, Daniel Gibson. With one out, David Harris reached on an error by the shortstop, Cesar Cuevas. After Alex Crosby grounded into a force out, the Blue Crabs had runners on the corners with two outs. The next batter, Braxton Lee, poked a line drive into center field, scoring Silva, and cutting the deficit to 5-4. Daniel Gibson then retired Ryan Haug to end the inning.
Going into the top of the ninth, Southern Maryland trailed 5-4. Austin Adams (SV, 1) entered the game for the Legends. On the first pitch of the inning, Matt Hibbert doubled on a soft liner to center field. But from there, the Blue Crabs’ bats were quiet. Adams recorded a ground out before earning two strikeouts to end the game.
Southern Maryland will play game two of the four-game series with the Legends tomorrow night at 6:35 pm. The Blue Crabs’ home opener is on Tuesday, April 26 at 6:35 pm.
Lancaster 5, Gastonia 2
Lancaster pitching struck out 15 batters opening night as the Barnstormers defeated the host Gastonia Honey Hunters, 5-2.
It marked the second consecutive year that the Barnstormers won the opener at CaroMont Health Park.
Cameron Gann fanned nine in 4 2/3 innings after getting the nod to lead the rotation. Tyler Suellentrop (1-0) fanned two more as did Marc Rzepczynski. Josh Graham and Scott Shuman picked up one strikeout apiece in the win.
LeDarious Clark got the Barnstormers on the board with a leadoff homer in the third off former Lancaster lefty John Anderson (0-1). Anthony Peroni and Jake Hoover reached on consecutive errors before Melvin Mercedes cranked a double off the left field wall. The two-bagger scored Peroni, and Hoover followed when shortstop Jack Reinheimer bobbled the throw back to the infield. Mercedes took third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Trace Loehr.
Lancaster gave a run back in the bottom of the third. Reinheimer reached on a single behind second base and went to third as Gann uncorked a wild pickoff throw. A passed ball allowed the run to score.
The second Gastonia run was built on swinging bunts. Johnny Davis reached with one out in the fifth against Gann, took second on a wild pitch and stole third. Jake Skole greeted Suellentrop with another dribbler up the third base line to drive home the run.
Peroni singled home Mark Zagunis, who had walked, with an insurance run in the ninth before Shuman notched the save despite a walk and a bloop hit.
Lefty Augie Sylk gets the start for the Barnstormers on Friday night against right-hander Deck McGuire. Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube channel, beginning at 6:10.
NOTES: Lancaster is now 10-7 in season openers, 2-3 under Ross Peeples…Mercedes was the only Barnstormer with more than one hit…He was 2-for-5…Clark homered on opening night for the second straight year…The bullpen allowed two hits, on a bunt and a bloop in 4 1/3 innings.
High Point 10, Kentucky 5
HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point Rockers spoiled the debut of the Kentucky Wild Health Genomes, overcoming a 5-0 deficit in the sixth inning and rolling to a 10-5 win on Thursday night in front of an Opening Night crowd of 2,591 at Truist Point.
The Rockers closed the game in remarkable fashion as four Rocker pitchers struck out the final 10 Genome hitters of the game. High Point pitchers mapped the code, striking out a total of 16 Genomes on the night while walking just two.
“To score six runs with two outs (in the sixth inning) was pretty good,” said Rockers manager Jamie Keefe. When asked if he had ever seen a team end a game by striking out 10 straight opponents, he replied “Never. The back end of the bullpen threw the ball really well. If they keep that up, there are some teams that will have some long nights.”
Austin Glorius earned the win, facing just one batter, Carson McCurdy, and striking him out to end the sixth. That whiff started the Rockers’ K train and was the first of 10 straight strikeouts. Lefty Bryce Hensley fanned all three hitters he faced in the seventh, lefty Adam Choplick did the same in the eighth and closer Jonathon Crawford recorded three more consecutive strikeouts in the ninth to finish the game.
The Genomes got on the board first when catcher Chase Vallot sent a Justin Nicolino offering over the left field fence with Cleuluis Rondon aboard for a 2-0 lead.
Kentucky starter Dustin Beggs quieted the Rockers bats through five, allowing just two hits while striking out six and not allowing a walk. Nicolino was nearly as good, allowing just three hits through 4.2 innings while walking one and striking out six. But Nicolino made two bad pitches: the home run to Vallot and a one out triple in the fifth to Demetrius Moorer who would score on a Riley Mahan single to increase Kentucky’s lead to 3-0. The Genomes extended the lead with two more runs in the top of the sixth, using a sacrifice fly from Luke Becker and an RBI double from Vallot to go up 5-0.
The Rockers blew up for six runs in the bottom of the sixth, all with two outs, while stringing together three hits and capitalized on a pair of errors on Becker, the Genomes third baseman. With one out, Logan Morrison and Jerry Downs drew consecutive walks off reliever Robby Scott. A Tyler Ladendorf single loaded the bases before Scott fanned Quincy Latimore for the second out of the inning. High Point’s Mike Gulino greeted Genomes reliever Jack Weinberger with a slow chopper to third that Becker fielded cleanly but threw wide of first, allowing Morrison and Downs to score and Gulino to move to third. Weinberger then hit Ben Aklinski with a pitch to put runners on the corners. Johnny Field slapped a ground ball to Becker who again threw the ball in the dirt, allowing Gulino and Aklinski to score and give the Rockers their first lead of the night at 6-5.
High Point added four more runs in the seventh. Ladendorf laced a one-out single and Latimore followed with a run-scoring double. Gulino then blooped a single to center to plate Latimore before Aklinski drilled a two-run homer to right to lift the Rockers to a 10-5 advantage.
On the night, the Rockers were led by Gulino with three hits while Zander Wiel had a pair of RBI and Aklinski finished with two hits and two RBI. The bottom third of High Point’s order, Wiel, Gulino and Aklinski, went six-for-11 and drove in five runs.
The Rockers continue on their 13-game season-opening homestand as they host Kentucky again on Friday at 6:35 p.m. at Truist Point. Fans will be entertained with a postgame fireworks show.
Charleston 5, Staten Island 3
The Charleston Dirty Birds kicked off the 2022 season by facing the Staten Island Ferry Hawks in a 9-inning rubber match on Thursday evening. This was the Ferry Hawks first ever recorded game in its organization’s history. The pitching matchup between Kevin Herget and Julio Teheran proved to be a good one as there was very minimal offensive production from either team in the early innings.
Herget got some help on defense in the top of the 3rdwhen Anfernee Seymour threw a laser from centerfield to home to complete the double play and save a run from scoring. Neither team was able to plate across a run until the Dirty Birds Juan Perez ripped a 2 RBI double in the bottom of the 4th.
The Ferry Hawks quickly responded with runs of their own with a solo homer by Kacy Clemens and a 2-run homer by Ricardo Cespedes which gave them the 3-2 lead in the top of the 5th. After a pitching change in the bottom of the 5th, Connor Justus lead off with a single followed by Scott Kelly reaching on an error. Alberto Callaspo then grounded out to first allowing Justus to score tying the game up at 3.
In the top of the 6th, Kit Scheetz came in to relieve Herget after 5 innings of solid work. Scheetz went 1,2,3, and in the bottom of the 6thinning the Dirty Birds were able to reclaim the lead on a Yovan Gonzalez sacrifice fly. After another scoreless top half of the 7th, Anfernee Seymour lead off with a bang as he drove a solo big fly into the night sky to extend the lead to 5-3. Justin Miller entered the game to relieve Scheetz in the 8thand was able to go scoreless.
In the top of the 9th, Staten Island’s Kelsie Whitmore made history as she became the first ever women to play in a league connected to Major League Baseball as she pinch-ran for the catcher.
Tyler Wilson came in for the save and shut the Ferry Hawks down after inducing a tailor-made double play turned by Justus and Kelly. The Dirty Birds were able to secure an opening day victory with the help of timely hitting and stellar defensive play.
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