Saturday's afternoon game at Academy Park featured two teams who have gotten off to very different starts. The Hurricanes (3-6) have been fighting to get on track after a 1-6 start. Since then, they have turned things around with wins over the Conquistadors and the Sea Dogs and find themselves within striking distance of teams above them in the standings. The Marauders (7-2) were delighted to see the results from earlier in the day. The Manatees, who started the day 6-1, (percentage points ahead of the Marauders) lost both games in a hard fought double-header with the Sea Dogs. The Manatees double header loss gives the Marauders a chance to open up a 1 1/2 game lead with a win.
The visiting Hurricanes struck first when Chris Solis ripped an RBI single into left field to score Eduardo Sanchez, who walked earlier in the inning. Austin Holbrook and Joey Pinney also singled in the inning but the Hurricanes only had one run to show for their efforts. In the bottom half of the frame, the Marauders struck back with three runs. Dan Lee singled and stole a base and would eventually score on a ball that skipped away from the catcher to even up the score at one. The offense didn't let up as Randy Talhammer crushed a double and after a Tyler Helphenstine walk, Alex Linebarger cleared the bases with a triple. Linebarger was stranded at third but the damage was done with the Marauders taking a 3-1 lead.
The second and third innings were scoreless thanks to good pitching. John Sakellariadis struck out two in the top of the second and got out of a bases loaded jam to end the top of the third without allowing a run. The Hurricanes starter, Sawyer Wilson, settled in after a shaking first to retire seven in a row.
The Hurricanes narrowed the gap in the top of the fourth with singles by Kyle Matis and Carlo Buonopane. Sawyer Wilson helped his own cause with an RBI single. The Marauders fired back with a run of their own. Talhammer lead off with a single and Linebarger hit a sacrifice fly to make the score 4-2.
Phillip Dilandro came on in relief and quieted the Hurricanes bats for 4 innings without allowing a hit. While Dilandro held the opposition, the Marauders pushed two runs across to widen the gap to four. Tyler Helphenstine delivered a RBI double in the bottom of the 6th inning. Alan Nahigan added a RBI single in the 7th that made the score 6-2.
The four run lead appeared to be safe in the top of the ninth, but after a couple of walks and a fielding error, the Hurricanes offense came to life. An RBI single by Brendan Babino cut the lead to one run, and moved the tieing run in scoring position. However Randy Talhammer preserved a victory for the Marauders by way of the strikeout.
With the win, the Marauders improved their league leading record to 8-2, while the Hurricanes fall to 3-7.
Both teams have situational games Monday, 7/12. The Marauders put their league leading record on the line against the Conquistadors (4-6) while the Hurricanes take on the Manatees (6-3).
In other league action:
Sea Dogs 2 3 0
Manatees 0 1 0
WP - Travis Connolly - 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 9 K, 2 BB
Top Performer - Travis Connolly
Manatees 5 6 0
Sea Dogs 7 10 4
WP - Trevor Peterson - 7 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 K, 2 BB
Top Performer - Luke Miller - 1-1, 2 R, 3B, RBI, 3 BB
Lightning 6 7 4
Conquistadors 9 7 0
WP - Conor Andrews - 8 IP, 9 H, 4 K
Top Performer - Andrew Wilkes - 2-3, 2 R, 2 SB
Marauders 6 9 2
Hurricanes 5 10 0
WP - Phillip Dilandro - 4 IP, 0 H, 4 K
Top Pefrormer - Randy Tallhammer - 2-2, 3 R, 2B, RBI
League Standings: (thru Monday, 7/12)
Team W L GB
Marauders 9 2 0
Manatees 7 3 1.5
Lightning 5 6 4
Sea Dogs 4 6 4.5
Conquistadors 4 7 5
Hurricanes 3 8 6