Baysox's rally falls short in 3-2 loss to open season

Key double play, catch save Phils in final inning

April 05, 2002|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

BOWIE - The night featured the familiar Opening Day trappings, as players emerged from beyond the outfield fence for pre-game introductions, balloons were released into the frigid air and ceremonies honored the patrons of the original Bowie Baysox team that played at Memorial Stadium.

There were the usual fireworks afterward and player autographs as 4,342 fans entered Prince George's Stadium last night for the team's 10th anniversary season. But there also was a giant American flag, a 21-gun salute and an in-game moment of silence at 9:11 for the victims of September's terrorist attacks.

But, on the field, the outcome was disappointing for the Baysox, as Reading held on for a 3-2 win, its 11th straight victory at Bowie and 19th in the past 21 meetings here.

Not that the Baysox didn't flash the kind of promise that has their fans excited about the possibility of the team's first winning season since 1997.

The Phillies needed a game-saving catch by Jorge Padilla in the deep right-field corner on Darnell McDonald's drive to fight off a last-inning rally by the Baysox.

"We're pleased with what happened out there, but not with the result," said Bowie manager Dave Cash. "The guys played a good game all around and it took a great play by their right fielder to end it. If we get that kind of consistent play all season, we'll be all right. We're on the right track."

The Baysox entered the bottom of the ninth down 3-1 after losing pitcher Derek Brown allowed a two-run single by Jason Johnston in the seventh to break a 1-1 tie.

With Eric Weaver on the mound for the Phillies in the ninth, Doug Gredvig singled and advanced on a wild pitch before Keith Reed doubled to bring Bowie within one. Then came the pivotal play of the inning.

Napolean Calzado smacked a hard line drive that Reading shortstop Andy Machado caught and turned into a double play by tagging second.

"That was just bad luck," said Baysox veteran Joey Hammond, a Frederick native. "It's a game of inches and a clutch hit there could have made a difference. I know I was on first later in that inning and I said to myself, `This is exciting. This is no longer spring training. It's baseball the way its supposed to be.' "

Pinch hitter Wes Rachels and Hammonds singled in succession off left-hander Mark Outlaw after the double play. That brought up McDonald, who had singled home the Baysox's first run after a two-out Hammond double in the fifth.

McDonald sliced a deep fly to the opposite field that Padilla caught just before running into the outfield barrier to end the game.

Highly touted left-hander Erik Bedard, a standout at spring training with the Orioles, was removed after reaching his 60-pitch limit. Bedard allowed one run on three singles in 4 1/3 innings, struck out three and walked one.

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