Stingers fall short in late inning rally

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    By Kyle Hines

    SALT LAKE CITY — Errors and missed opportunities are part of baseball, but they are never easy to accept. The Salt Lake Stingers had too many of both Wednesday night, June 11, as they fell to the Sacramento River Cats, 7-6.

    The hometown Stingers appeared to start the game off right when they loaded the bases with just one out in the first inning. But when the inning ended two batters later, Salt Lake City had stranded all three base runners.

    The Stingers misfortunes continued throughout the game as they left nine runners on base and committed two fifth-inning errors that provided the River Cats with what would prove to be the game-winning run.

    With two-outs and a runner on first base, Stingers second baseman Chone Figgins mishandled an infield groundball. After retrieving the ball, Figgins had to hurry his throw to first and Trent Durrington was unable to scoop up the low throw. Then catcher Wil Nieves, while trying to throw out a Sacramento base runner, threw the ball into centerfield. The second Stingers miscue was costly as Sacramento”s Dave McCarty scored from third to increase the Sacramento lead to four.

    The scoring started in the third inning when Sacramento scored a quick two runs to take the early lead. River Cats second baseman Esteban German initiated and capped off the scoring burst with his RBI triple off the left field wall and his run scored, which he scored on a Jose Flores sacrifice fly.

    The Stingers used back-to-back hits in the bottom half of the inning to halve the Salt Lake deficit. The scoring was made possible by third baseman Keith Johnson, who landed on second base with a hard-hit groundball into leftfield. Robb Quinlan provided the encore to Johnson”s double as his RBI single brought the score to 2-1.

    But Sacramento ignited for four runs in the top of the fourth inning to lengthen its lead to five runs.

    The River Cats scoring burst landed Salt Lake starter Mark Lukasiewicz on the bench after he surrendered his sixth run of the ballgame to Bobby Crosby. Crosby”s two-run homer was the last straw for Lukasiewicz, who fell to 1-1 on the season.

    The Stingers, behind Trent Durrington”s two-run home run, scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to cut into the River Cats lead. Durrington”s shot, his third on the year, was prefaced by an Alfredo Amezaga triple. The rally helped Salt Lake City end the inning in a 6-3 hole, and set the stage for the fifth-inning errors.

    Then in the seventh inning, Salt Lake City started with consecutive walks before Keith Johnson ripped an RBI double into the leftfield corner. Three pitches later Robb Quinlan hit a two-run single that put the Stingers within striking distance of first place Sacramento. But the River Cats bullpen retired the final three Salt Lake batters to preserve the victory and end the game.

    The game, the first in a doubleheader, was limited to seven innings in order to make up for a cancelled game earlier this year.

    The Stingers and River Cats will meet again Thursday night for the series finale before Salt Lake heads to Fresno for a four-game series.

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