(Waldorf, MD, May 12, 2022) Thanks to late-inning heroics, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs defeated the Gastonia Honey Hunters 4-2 on Thursday morning. Southern Maryland plated a trio in the eighth inning and improved to a 15-3 record on the season. In a true test for the Crabs, facing the Atlantic League South Division-leading Honey Hunters, who entered the series with an identical 13-2 record, the Crabs prevailed, winning the final two games of the series. Additionally, Southern Maryland continued an impressive streak, having each of their first six series of 2022.
Eddie Butler (W, 3-0) got the start for Southern Maryland. The MLB veteran allowed two runs in the top of the first inning but proved resilient. Smooth and steady, the former Cub kept humming, blanking the Honey Hunters in each of the next five innings.
The offense started slow for the Blue Crabs, but Austin Rei put the first crooked number in the Blue Crabs column in the bottom of the fifth inning. The catcher doubled to right field, bringing Braxton Lee home to cut the Gastonia lead to one run.
Southern Maryland still trailed with a stagnant offense heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, but suddenly, the Crabs broke through. The inning began with a Raul Shah single and was followed by a Rei sacrifice bunt attempt that saw Shah gunned down at second. With one out and Rei at first, Michael Baca roped a single down the third baseline before Jack Sundberg went down on strikes. Down to their final four outs, the Crabs kept fighting, as Ian Yetsko singled, loading the bases with two outs. After a mound visit, Gastonia’s Sam Bordner issued a wild pitch that allowed Rei to score, tying the game at 2-2. With first base unoccupied, the Honey Hunters elected to walk Jared Walker, bringing up the designated hitter, David Harris. Harris saw four pitches before smoking a liner up the middle to score a pair, giving Southern Maryland a 4-2 advantage.
In the ninth inning, with a newfound lead, Mat Latos (S, 7) came in to close out the Honey Hunters in order. The Blue Crabs’ 15-3 record is the best start to a season in franchise history, giving them a comfortable seven-game cushion in first place in the ALPB North Division. On Friday, the Blue Crabs will begin a three-game set at home with the Charleston Dirty Birds, with a 6:35 PM first pitch to their series opener.