Valley Coasts on Freeway


Since opening in 1996, the Hangar has developed a reputation as one of the windiest stadiums in the California League.

So, when the spotlight shone on Lancaster for the league's all-star game Tuesday, it figured that the blustery stadium would be the site of a blowout.

The Valley Division, with six JetHawks on its roster, took advantage of six Freeway Division errors to post a 9-4 victory before 4,714 in Lancaster.

JetHawk pitcher Brian Sweeney struck out the side in the seventh, his only inning of work, and was credited with the victory.

Lancaster second baseman Adonis Harrison had two hits and drove in a run for the Valley.

But it was the sloppy fielding of the Freeway squad and the hitting of Valley right-fielder Juan Dilone that made the difference.

The Freeway committed three of its errors in the fifth inning, when the Valley scored five runs to overcome a 3-2 deficit.

Dilone of the Stockton Ports, who finished the first half tied for the league lead with 13 home runs, was chosen the game's Star of Stars after going three for four with three runs batted in.

He hit a solo shot to left field in the second inning and added RBI singles in the fourth and seventh innings.

The one-sided game was little surprise.

The Valley, with a team average of .301, entered as the the prohibitive favorite over the Freeway, which was batting .262.

Additionally, five Valley Division teams were a combined 36 games over .500 in the first half, while Rancho Cucamonga (36-34) was the only Freeway Division team to win more first-half games than it lost.

The Freeway actually led, 3-2, entering the bottom of the fifth inning. That is when reliever Brent Iddon of Rancho Cucamonga came in and the Freeway defense came apart.

Iddon faced six batters, and five of them scored.

He was tagged for two singles, a double and a triple during a five-run Valley rally that was helped along by three Freeway errors.

Freeway right fielder Luke Allen of San Bernardino committed two of the errors, first turning Josh Klimek's routine line drive into a two-run, three-base error, then bobbling Cody McKay's triple in right-center, allowing the Modesto catcher to come all the way around.

The Valley added two unearned runs in the seventh, one on a run-scoring single by Dilone and the other on an RBI double by Harrison.

The Freeway took a 2-1 lead in the third, when Dionys Cesar led off with a double to left-center and scored on Rich Saitta's bloop single down the right-field line.

Saitta hit a home run on the fourth pitch of the game for a 1-0 lead.

Left-hander Eric DuBose of Visalia, who will pitch his first game for double-A Huntsville on Thursday, retired Valley in the first before giving way to former UCLA pitcher Pete Zamora, the league's ERA leader.


NOTEBOOK: Huntsville's McKay is home-free in home-run hitting contest. C12

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