BOWIE – A four-run fourth inning and a solid pitching performance by right-hander David Hess pushed the Bowie Baysox past the Erie SeaWolves, 6-5, on Aug. 21.
The win clinched the final series over Erie and kept Bowie in first place in the Eastern League Western Division, one game ahead of the Altoona Curve, with less than three weeks remaining in the season.
Bowie, the Eastern League’s offensive leader in hits, runs, RBI, total bases and batting average, displayed their power in the fourth to mount a comeback after going down 2-1.
Outfielder Austin Hays started the inning off by pouncing on a pitch, slamming the ball into the woods for a solo home run, his 14th for Bowie and 30th of the year.
Three batters later with two outs, infielder Ryan Mountcastle, who hit a sacrifice fly in the second to bring in Bowie’s first run, hit a line drive double to left field, driving in a run and kicking off the rally.
After catcher Audry Perez doubled, shortstop Erick Salcedo dropped a base hit into right-center field over the head of centerfielder Mike Gerber for a ground-rule double and extended the Baysox’s lead by three runs.
One inning later, left fielder D.J. Stewart singled and brought in the game-winning run for Bowie’s fourth victory in five games.
“We’re starting to execute with runners in scoring position, which is vital, and to get a big hit, that was eluding us before. We’re pleased,” Baysox Manager Gary Kendall said.
After being shut out 9-0 in game two of the series on Aug. 19, the SeaWolves started off fast after Gerber slammed a solo home run in the top of the first inning. Left fielder Christin Stewart hit a solo home run of his own in the top of the fourth, temporarily giving Erie the 2-1 lead.
However, despite giving up two home runs, Hess pitched six methodical innings and struck out four batters. Erie got seven hits off Hess, but 64 of his 96 pitches were thrown for strikes.
“Hess got into some deep counts, but executed great pitches,” Kendall said. “He just had a couple of pitches that he threw up and they hit them out. Other than that, he pitched well. He kept us in the ballgame and gave us a good opportunity to win.”
Erie scored two runs in the eighth, looking to regain the lead.
The match almost ended in disaster for Bowie in the ninth inning as right-hander Scott McGough allowed a walk and two singles to load the bases with one out. Ultimately, the Baysox ended the comeback bid with pinch-hitter Harold Castro hitting into a double play to end the game.
Bowie struggled against the Pennsylvania ball club this season, losing four out of the last five series against them this season.
Kendall said battling through one of the best pitching staffs in the league has allowed the Baysox to prepare themselves for the final stretch run of the season before the playoffs.
“Erie is a tough team to play, and it was big for us to get the victory,” Baysox infielder Steve Wilkerson said. “We are in a tight race with those guys and Altoona. It was a big win to keep ourselves in the playoff hunt.”