Hagerstown Ignores Butterflies, Wins Opener
By Jesse Caputo
Volunteer Stadium was filled with anticipation and fans donning the colors of Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic well before gametime Saturday morning. After all, they had only waited an extra 14 hours to see their boys play their first game in South Williamsport due to Friday night's rainout. Once they got on the field, Hagerstown, Maryland beat Jeffersonville, Indiana, 3-2.
And Maryland did it without the benefit of a hit.
Maryland trailed 2-1 going into the bottom of the fifth, and took advantage of three wild pitches, all with two outs, to score a pair of runs for the lead.
“Drew (Ellis) got a little wild and Josh (Burke) had trouble handling some of the fastballs, but what are you going to do,” said Indiana manager Derek Ellis. “Hats off to Maryland for hanging in there. I thought we had it.”
The crowd was into the game from the first pitch, and two hours later the extended wait seemed well worth it.
“It was crazy,” said Maryland's Nick Karlen. “You were under the dugout and you hear nothing and then you come out there and you hear this giant roar. You get all excited and all the butterflies.”
Drew Ellis tossed five no-hit innings on the mound, but surrendered three runs, two of which were earned. In the fateful fifth, Maryland sent Ryan Byard to the plate with two outs and two runners on. Ellis struck out Byard and the batter to follow, but not before the three wild pitches.
Earlier this summer, on June 27, the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 1-0, without the benefit of a hit. That was just the fourth time major league history such a feat was accomplished.
Maryland's Josh Barron closed out the game after relieving starter Andrew Yacyk in the fifth inning. Barron had to work his way out of trouble to secure the win in the top of the sixth. After a leadoff double by Chandler Dale and a sacrifice bunt to move him over to third, Indiana was poised to tie the game at the very least. Barron zeroed in and struck out the next batter on four pitches.
The next batter hit a grounder to Schreiber at third base, but he threw the ball wide of the bag. Yacyk, now playing first, made a spectacular play to cap off the game by recognizing the ball was sailing wide and coming of the bag to catch the ball. He then dove back to tag the bag for the final out.
“He’s be a very solid closer for us,” Indiana manager Bill Abeles, Jr. said. “He’s got a nice little curveball and hits his spots. I know when I call a pitch to Dalton Jobe, he’s going to hit it.”
Despite the powerful Indiana offense being no-hit by Ellis, the team was only down by one run going into the bottom of the fifth. The team took advantage of opportunities and capitalized on the few mistakes Great Lakes made during the game.
“They’ve been very resilient all summer and they really do not quit,” Abeles Jr. said. “They didn’t quit going into the tail end of that game. We knew we had six outs to try to put the ball in play and we stole a game.”
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