When Alfredo Marte launched a solo home run to start the bottom of the fifth for the York Revolution, it was a no doubter.
However, for the rest of the game, there was plenty of doubt about York's ability to scratch across anymore runs, even when it got runners in scoring position.
In the end, the Revs dropped a 3-1 decision at PeoplesBank Park against the rival Lancaster Barnstormers, falling to 2-5 on the year in the PNC Bank War of the Roses.
"Hitting is up and down, anyways, so I'm not going to say I'm disappointed," Revs manager Mark Mason said. "Sometimes, it doesn't take a base hit to get him in from third, you just have to put the ball in play. But, sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the other team as well."
Until Lancaster (23-19) added an insurance run in the top of the ninth to push the game to 3-1, York (26-18) was one swing away from bringing the game back to level.
On a couple of occasions, the Revs got their leadoff guy on base and couldn't advance him, striking out or producing weak fly balls. There were, however, a couple of moments late in the game, when all the team needed was a well-placed ball in play to get a man in from third base, but it couldn't get the job done. The eighth inning was especially notable, when Joel Guzman executed a perfect two-strike hit-and-run to put Jason Repko on third base with just one out, down by a run, with the heart of the order coming to the plate.
But, instead of getting Repko home, both Telvin Nash and Andres Perez struck out. Some of York's hitting woes could be blamed on the inconsistency of the home-plate umpire's strike zone. The bottom line, however, is that the York batters were swinging at too many bad pitches, while letting strikes go past them without swinging.
"We swung and missed on a lot of pitches," Mason said. "We swung and missed on pitches that were on the ground that I'm sure (the umpire) wouldn't have called a strike. I'm not going to put that on the umpire. That's on us not recognizing pitches in certain situations."
While it would've been easy to chalk it up as an off game at the plate for the Revs, it still may be cause for concern for a team that's shown off the power to hit the long ball, but can ultimately struggle playing small ball. There's little speed on the team, so manufacturing runs is mostly out of the question.
It could also have to do with Lancaster knowing the weaknesses of the York hitters. The two rivals are more familiar with each other than most other teams in the Atlantic League. In the three game series, the Revs were held to just six runs, with five of them coming in the first game on Friday night, a 5-0 York win.
Notes: James Simmons took the loss in the game, pitching 5 2/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on eight hits, two walks and four strikeouts. Until Mariel Checo allowed an insurance run for the Barnstormers in the top of the ninth, a combination of Ron Schreurs, Ricardo Gomez and Julio DePaula pitched 2 1/3 perfect innings in relief of Simmons.
Repko was the only Revs hitter to record a multi-hit game, going 2-for-4, while six other York batters recorded a hit. Marte's solo home run to start the bottom of the fifth was the only offense for the Revs on the day.
Lancaster opened the game's scoring with a two-run top of the fourth, the only inning in which Simmons couldn't work himself out of a jam.
With the loss, York's lead in the Freedom Division is down to just two games over the Barnstormers, with the Revs set to host the Long Island Ducks beginning on Tuesday. First pitch for that game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.at PeoplesBank Park.
Revs to change name: The Revs will change their name later this season. At least for one day.
York announced on Sunday that it will rename itself the Revengers for its June 19 Father's Day game against the Bridgeport Bluefish. The team will wear custom-designed, superhero-themed jerseys and hats for their Superhero Day promotion. After the game, the jerseys will be auctioned off with all proceeds benefiting the York Rescue Mission.
The jerseys will share some similarities to those of other superhero wardrobes, including an armored chest plate with an "R" in the center. There will also be appearances by costumed members of the Central PA Avengers and other superhero-themed activities. A Father's Day brunch will also be held in the White Rose Hall at the stadium.
First pitch for the game is set for 1 p.m.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com