Game 100: York 9, Southern Maryland 4

While the York Revolution will surely take wins any way they come, a weekend sweep over Liberty Division cellar incumbent Camden lacked a little luster. 

York needs to prove it can hang with the Atlantic League’s best. And that quest continued Monday night with the first tilt in an important four-game series with Southern Maryland — the league’s hottest team in the second half. 

The Revs passed the first test against the Blue Crabs, solving Southern Maryland starter Ryan Bicondoa in a 9-4 win before an announced crowd of 3,773 at Sovereign Bank Stadium. Bicondoa entered the night second in the league in wins (10) and fifth in ERA (4.15) but he was overmatched from the start against York (16-14, 46-54). The Revs plastered 17 hits on the board — 14 against Bicondoa — and regained sole possession of first place in the Freedom Division for the first time since July 9. 

Chris Ashby (pictured) also continued his torrid hitting stretch, mashing three extra-base hits in a 3-for-4 performance and Matt Esquivel, Matt Padgett and Kennard Jones all had three hits. Ashby’s first-inning double gave him a 26-game hitting streak, which is two games shy of tying the Atlantic League’s all-time mark established by Newark’s Joe Jiannetti last season. 

And while some players opt to play down the hype of a hitting streak or prefer to never acknowledge it exists, Ashby is enjoying the moment. 

“Everybody tells me every day,” Ashby said of the streak, a York franchise record. “It’s not like every other day. I was telling Chris (Hoiles), I can feel it now. I can really feel it. But ultimately it comes down to playing the game in between the lines and I’m just trying to have fun with it now.” 

Aaron Rakers, July’s Atlantic League Pitcher of the Month, was scratched from his start Monday with soreness in his throwing arm and Wayne Franklin (pictured) returned to the starting rotation in his stead with a solid outing. Franklin — pitching with an acrylic finger nail on his thumb after his nail split recently — worked both sides of the plate efficiently and finished with seven strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. 

He also got two impressive double plays from the York infield to end the fourth and the sixth to pick up his first win since July 6. 

“I didn’t want to emasculate myself and go to a nail salon (for his acrylic nail),” Franklin joked. “I wasn’t even going for the strikeouts (Monday), I just went for quick innings.” 

Southern Maryland (18-11, 54-45) now holds a one-game lead in the second-half Liberty Division standings and has owned the league’s best team ERA for most of the season. Both facts are only a couple reasons why York is hoping to make a statement in the series’ remaining three games. 

“I think this series is very important,” Hoiles said. “They’re playing well, we’re playing well. They’re leading their division and we’re trying to get the lead in our division. We’ve got some very tough games (coming up). … I think it’s very imperative that we play well against them here.” 

Notes: York placed veteran right-hander Dave Veres on the inactive list Monday. Veres, who has battled numerous nagging injuries and was attempting a comeback with an artificial hip, drove home to Colorado and is unlikely to return to the Revs this season. He posted a 1-2 record with a 2.27 ERA in 35 appearances. … The Revs are close to re-signing last year’s closer, Franklin Nunez. Nunez saved 12 games for York last year before being picked up by the Milwaukee Brewers. Nunez posted a 2.86 ERA with 19 saves in 44 innings for Saltillo of the Mexican League earlier this year. … Padgett is now 14-for-29 on the current homestand. … Travis Phelps got a huge out to end the eighth. He entered the game with the tying runs in scoring position and struck out George Sandel to squash the threat. … Luis Taveras went 2-for-3 including a big sacrifice bunt in the second that keyed York’s big, four-run inning.

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