A few weeks ago, York Revolution right-hander Shawn Hill was still building up arm strength.
The right-hander came to York just three months removed from undergoing vascular surgery to take out a rib near his neck, which corrected a blood circulation issue with his right throwing elbow.
In relief appearances for York on May 5 and May 12, Hill gave up a combined eight runs in two innings. But those were just the second and third relief appearances of his pro career. Revs pitching coach Mark Mason said Hill likely wasn't used to coming out of the bullpen. Mason thought he would return to normal as a starter.
Mason turned out to be right.
Making his fourth start of the year on Thursday night against Camden, Hill fired another gem. The former big leaguer held Camden scoreless in seven innings of work, giving up just three hits to go along with five strikeouts and one walk.
Hill stretched his scoreless streak to 21Ò innings with the performance. He has yet to give up a run in his four starts to improve his ERA to 3.04. With a pro scout watching from the press box at Sovereign Bank Stadium, Hill likely helped his cause in an effort to get picked up by a big league club.
But he wouldn't be helped out by the bullpen. He left the game with his team up four runs, which all came in the third inning, when York scored on four hits and a walk.
By the end of the top of the eighth inning, the 2,931 fans in attendance could be heard booing after Camden brought 13 hitters to the plate and collected seven runs on six hits and four walks. York relievers Stephen Penney (1-1) and James Houser were charged with the runs, which proved to be the difference in York's 7-5 loss to the Riversharks.
Eighth inning: The previous two games, York (19-20) had turned to set-up man Adam Thomas and closer R.J. Rodriguez to finish out the final two innings. For that reason, Revs' manager Andy Etchebarren wanted to give the duo some rest. He figured Penney, who hadn't given up a run in seven straight appearances since May 21, could get the job done.
"The guy I brought in (Penney) had a 1.72 ERA and had done a nice job for us all year," Etchebarren said. "I have no problem with that game."
The inning may have ended earlier, when Travis Scott took a throw from left-fielder James Shanks after an RBI single by Marquez Smith and fired the ball to third in attempt to get base-runner Lloyd Turner out as he slid into the bag. It would have been the second out of the inning, but third-base umpire Buzz Albert called Turner safe - a call that Etchebarren argued.
"It was a bad inning," Etchebarren said. "You don't plan on losing games like that, but you lose some. And we've won a couple like that. Am I upset? No, I'm not upset."
Camden (19-21) closer John Lujan gave up a solo homer to Scott in the ninth inning before getting the final two batters.
With Lancaster (23-17) losing to the Somerset Patriots, 6-0, on Thursday, York stayed within 3½ games of the Barnstormers for first place in the Atlantic League Freedom Division. York's loss snapped a season-best four-game winning streak.
Game notes: York saw the 11-game hitting streak of Brandon Haveman (0-for-5) and nine-game hitting streak of James Shanks (0-for-4) snapped. ... Tessa Goddard, a toddler from York, and her family won York's "Fewest Teeth" promotion on Hockey Night. Her family gets four tickets to the Hershey Bears' 2012-13 season home opener. ... York will host Long Island in the first of a three-game series on Friday night. Revs' right-hander Corey Thurman (4-1, 4.39 ERA) will face righty Mike Loree (2-1, 4.15).
- Reach John Walk at email@example.com.