The Potomac bats remained hot, but the pitching was erratic, resulting in a split against the Frederick Keys.
In Game One, Marcos Frias took the hill against a team that he had thrown a quality start against earlier in the month, when Potomac swept the Keys on the road. For three innings, it looked like he might just duplicate that feat, though the signs that this might be short outing were evident: three of the first four Frederick hits were of the extra-base variety, enabling the Keys to get single runs in the 1st and 2nd.
In the fourth, Frias set down the first two batters fairly quickly but then struggled to get the Nos. 8 and 9 batters out, walking them both. This paved the way for the top of the order to make him pay. Xavier Avery* doubled to right, Kyle Hudson singled to left, and Ronnie Welty, who had doubled in his previous two at-bats, completed the scoring binge with a two-run shot to turn a 2-1 lead into a 7-1 chasm.
* If there’s a contest to rank great baseball names, how could MiLB look past this one?
Potomac, however, would not roll over in its half of the 4th. Derek Norris his just his second HR at the Pfitz to lead things off. Following singles by Bill Rhinehart and Jose Lozada, Chris Curran and Francisco Soriano hit back-to-back triples with two outs to rally the P-Nats to within two at 7-5.
Steve Lombardozzi’s third single of the game with two outs drove in Lozada in the sixth cut the lead to one at 7-6. Billy “But He’s Still Young” Rowell connected for a solo HR in the top of the 7th — his 25th for Frederick in 316 games since 2008 — to give the Keys an 8-6 lead.
That run would prove crucial as Potomac rallied one more time in the 7th, as a Moore single, a wild pitch, and a Rhinehart single whittled the lead to 8-7, but that’s as close as the P-Nats would get.
After an announcement of a 20-minute break between games, the nightcap started 39 minutes later with Adrian Alaniz on the mound and he was not sharp. Consistently falling behind hitters, the 26-year-old battled through 4⅓ innings and somehow managed to allow just two runs on six hits and one walk before giving way to Jimmy Barthmaier.
Meanwhile, the Potomac bats, which had peppered the field in the first game with 14 hits, a-salted the Frederick pitchers for 11 hits in the second game. They scored in every inning but the first, highlighted by a pair of two-run blasts by Bill Rhinehart in the third and sixth innings. Jose Lozada led the hit parade with three hits, and had five hits combined in the doubleheader, as did Steve Lombardozzi.
With the split, Potomac gained a half game on first-place Wilmington and remains a game-and-a-half ahead of third-place Frederick, the first-half winner. Recently promoted Danny Rosenbaum makes his second home start for Potomac, with Ryan O’Shea taking the hill for Frederick.