After spending much of the first half of last season atop the Atlantic League Freedom Division standings, the York Revolution found itself in a familiar spot entering Wednesday's game —first place.
However, York's stay at the top didn't last long.
The Revs ended their six-game, season-opening home stand at Santander Stadium with a one-sided defeat to the Lancaster Barnstormers, 11-5.
Little went right for York (3-3) and starting pitcher Corey Thurman early. Lancaster (2-5) jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the opening inning, aided by two errors by second baseman Eric Patterson, silencing the majority of the 2,584 fans on hand. Another run in the second from the Barnstormers meant that from that point forward, all the Revs could do was attempt to play catch up.
"Before we knew it, we were down 5-0," York manager Mark Mason said. "It takes you a little bit out of your offensive game plan."
To the Revs' credit, they continued to scratch across runs over the next few innings, putting up two in the second and then one each in the third and fourth. But, each time they cut into the Lancaster lead, they would give the runs right back, stalling any realistic comeback attempts.
"I thought for the most part, the pitching was a little short tonight, compared to the last four or five nights," Mason said.
This was by far the worst pitching performance of the young season for York. Not only were the 11 runs given up a season high, but so were the three home runs that the staff surrendered. Tyler Bortnick and Dan Coury each had solo shots, while Brian Cavazos-Galvez hit a two-run shot for the Barnstormers.
Brandon Jones hit his third home run of the season for the Revs, a solo shot in the second inning. He was one of five York batters to record multi-hit games, but was the only member to drive in more than one run.
"He has a pretty good swing," Mason said of Jones. "He doesn't have a lot of flaws in his swing in terms of getting to the ball. So, he can get to the ball pretty easy."
Lancaster scored in six of the nine innings and each batter recorded at least one hit. Cavazos-Galvez had the big offensive day, driving in five runs in a 2-for-5 performance.
Making his first start of the season, Thurman only lasted three innings, giving up five runs, two earned, on six hits, with three walks and two strikeouts in the losing effort. Three relievers closed out the loss for the Revs — Ian Durham, Shawn Teufel and Leyson Septimo.
Durham gave up four runs, all earned, in three innings, surrendering seven hits. Teufel gave up one earned run in two innings, striking out two, while Septimo allowed one unearned run in the ninth, striking out two.
With Thurman's start, York has now gone through its six-man rotation once. That means, beginning with Shawn Hill's start on Thursday, each starter will have his pitch threshold bumped up by about 10 or 15 pitches, to around 85, as Mason works them into regular-season condition.
Despite the lopsided loss, Mason remained level-headed.
"We're not disappointed," he said. "A loss is a loss. You want to win every night, but obviously that's unrealistic and whether you get beat by seven or one, it's one loss."
The Revs now hit the road for seven consecutive games, starting Thursday at Lancaster. It's the Barnstormers' home opener and they will unveil their 2014 Atlantic League championship banner. Then, it's off to Somerset for a three-game series and then back to Lancaster for three more next week before returning home next Friday.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org