Power show pushes win streak to six
BY BURT WILSON, Sports Writer
Travis Denker and Daryle Ward hit back-to-back homers in the fifth inning to lead the Lancaster Barnstormers to a come-from-behind 6-5 victory over the Long Island Ducks Wednesday night at Clipper Magazine Stadium.
The victory keeps the Barnstormers (6-0) undefeated and the Ducks winless (0-6) early in the 2013 season.
Long Island starter John Brownell was cruising. The right-hander had allowed just two unearned runs and held a 4-2 lead going to the bottom of the fifth. He had not walked a batter.
But in the fifth, with rain falling, Brownell walked two. And with two outs, Denker made him pay.
Batting from the right side, Denker hit a 2-0 down-and-away fastball onto the red picnic canopy above the right-field wall, giving Lancaster a 5-4 lead.
"I was just looking for something to hit hard," Denker said. "That's pretty much my approach every time, just swing and hit it hard and let it go where it goes. He threw a pretty good pitch the pitch before. … And then he came back (to) pretty much the same spot, just brought it up a little higher, and I put a good swing on it."
Ward followed Denker's homer with one of his own to right to make it 6-4. It was the first homer of the season for both infielders.
Ward, who also hit a double Wednesday and had a two-RBI night Tuesday, appears to be coming around after a slow start.
"Guys that played affiliated ball get six weeks (in spring training)," Ward said. "You come to independent ball and you get one week to get yourself ready. It's not that I wasn't ready, just a little jumpy and excited to get started playing.
"And I was trying to do too much. Today, I was just able to relax and hit the ball where it was pitched."
Dwayne Pollok (2-0) started for the Barnstormers and got the win despite giving up three home runs (solo shots to Adam Bailey and Joash Brodin and a two-run homer to Danny Perales).
"The three home runs were off-speed pitches," 'Stormers manager Butch Hobson said. "Change-ups and I think one might have been a slider. They were just up. In this ballpark, that's going to happen. The ball was really flying to right field."
All five of the game's homers were to right field.
Pollok pitched 5s-c innings, allowing the four runs, striking out four and walking one.
The Ducks pulled within one with a run in the seventh. Derrick Loop replaced Pollok to get the final out of the sixth and the first out of the seventh. The lefty then gave up a double to Rian Kiniry and was relieved by Tim Dillard.
Kiniry took third on a groundout and then scored when Dan Lyons hit a ball that ricocheted off Dillard and trickled into the grass between the mound and first for a base hit to make it 6-5. But that ended the scoring.
Jason Urquidez pitched a perfect eighth and Yoslan Herrera a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save of the season. Urquidez and Herrera each struck out a batter and both hit 90-plus on the radar gun.
"We're trying to get some momentum going," Denker said of the 6-0 record. "The guys here are great team-(first) guys. Everybody is doing their part trying to get off to a good start. The people are good people and they're all battlers."
Notes: Pollok had never given up three home runs in a game as a Barnstormer and had only allowed two homers in a game on one occasion . … Aaron King, who is converting from a pitcher to an outfielder, will be leaving to play for Grand Prairie in the American Association on Friday. King walked once but went hitless in five at-bats.