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Walk-off Win For Lakewood

Wednesday in Lakewood, in a game where neither starting pitcher made in through the fourth inning, the Lakewood BlueClaws and the Hagerstown Suns battled it out in a rollercoaster of a contest.

The BlueClaws started the day trailing Hagerstown by one game for second place in the South Atlantic League's Northern Division, and were scheduled to use a substitute starting pitcher in Jonathan Pettibone's (disabled list, shoulder) place in the rotation.


The substitute, Julio Rodriguez, an 8th round draft selection in 2008, seemed to be cruising right along and even struck out the side in both the 2nd and 3rd innings, but he failed to complete the 4th inning, as did his Hagerstown counterpart, Paul Demny.

Lakewood got the scoring started in the 2nd inning, as a lead off double from Jeremy Barnes was followed by back to back RBI hits by Stephen Batts and Adam Buschini. The BlueClaws took their 2-0 advantage into the 4th inning, when Rodriguez would hit a wall. RBI hits from Hagerstown first baseman Brett Newsome and catcher Sandy Leon tied the game at 2. Ebelin Lugo relieved Rodriguez to end the threat. In the bottom of the frame, BlueClaws failed to score, despite getting 3 runners aboard, as Kyle Morrison relieved Demny to thwart the danger from the home team.

The Suns took the lead in the top of the 6th inning when Francisco Soriano hit into a fielders choice that drove home Newsome. Lakewood clapped right back in the bottom of the inning, when they sent 12 batters to the plate and scored 6 runs. The innings started with 5 straight batters reaching base and the big blow was a 2-run single by Jiwan James, who redeemed himself after getting doubled off second base in the 5th inning, on a fly out to right field by Alan Schoenberger.

Riding an 8-3 lead into the 8th inning, the BlueClaws struggled to lock down the victory late in the game once again, as closer Josh Zeid came into to take over for Siulman Lebron, only to surrender a 3-run homer to Suns third baseman Steve Souza on an 0-2 pitch. Hagerstown added a run in the top of the 9th inning on a run scoring double by Leon, to put the Suns ahead by a score of 10-8.

Down to the last 3 outs, the 'Claws got things started quickly, when lead off batter Buschini walked and scored when Kyle Lafrenz drove him in with a double. After a Domingo Santana ground out, Jiwan James was hit by a pitch from Wanel Vasquez, who was promptly relieved by Dean Weaver. Still clinging to a 1-run lead with one out, Weaver induced a dead double ball from Alan Schoenberger that was botched by Hagerstown second baseman Jeff Kobernus, and pinch runner Anthony Hewitt scored the tying run, while James hustled around to third base. Leandro Castro then followed that up with a ground ball right back to a drawn in Kobernus, who fired home too late to catch the speeding James, who slid home for the game winning score. Those remaining from the crowd of 5,859 witnessed the oh-so-rare walk-off fielders choice victory for the home club.

Speaking after the game about his up-and-down day, of being on the hook and then off the hook and ending up the winning pitcher, Zeid stated, "I got ahead and made a bad pitch. I left it right down the middle, it was supposed to be down in the dirt and (Souza) did what a good hitter does, and that's hit it over the fence."

"The team did a great job coming back in the 9th inning. I didn't deserve to win the game. The team, all 24 guys, deserve to win that game. I let them down and they picked me back up."

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