While the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs continue to wait for the 2020 Atlantic League of Professional Baseball season to begin, Southern Maryland Newspapers will take a look back at some top games and moments over the franchise’s history.
In today’s edition, we look back at the franchise’s first home game and series at Regency Furniture Stadium as the Blue Crabs played host to the Lancaster Barnstormers from Friday, May 2 to Sunday, May 4, 2008.
The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs scattered three runs over their final three at-bats to defeat the Lancaster Barnstormers, 3-2, in the inaugural game at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf on May 2, 2008.
Lancaster scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to take a 2-0 lead. Southern Maryland answered with runs in the sixth through eighth to come from behind and win its third game of the year.
“One thing about this team and we first saw it down in spring training, but we don’t give up,” said Blue Crabs third baseman Patrick Osborn to Southern Maryland Newspapers staff writer Stephen Demedis after the game on May 2, 2008. “We knew that the game was in our grasp and we did what we had to do to pull it out.”
Southern Maryland broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the eighth when first baseman Clinton Johnston singled to right field with two outs to score left fielder Eric Crozier, who doubled earlier in the inning.
Johnston was 3 for 4 with three singles and an RBI.
“Clint Johnston has been coming up with some pretty big hits for us and he had a decent night tonight,” Blue Crabs manager Butch Hobson said to Demedis. “He just puts the ball on the ball and doesn’t try to do too much.”
Southern Maryland got on the board with two outs in the sixth when Osborn hit a fastball from Lancaster starter Eric Ackerman onto the tent covering the picnic pavilion in left field.
“We have been struggling offensively, but that’s just the game of baseball,” Osborn said to Demedis. Osborn would be the team’s manager from 2011 to 2013. “You just have to keep believing in yourself, you have to get a good pitch and get a good swing on it, and that’s what happened.”
Adam Shorsher led off the Blue Crabs seventh with a solo home run to left that cleared the picnic pavilion to tie the game at 2. It was Shorsher’s second homer of the year, his first came a week earlier at Somerset which was also the franchise’s first.
Lancaster threatened to score in the top of the eighth against Southern Maryland reliever Matt Hammons by loading the bases on a walk, single and hit batsmen.
After a visit from Hobson, Hammons pitched his way out of the jam. Hammons ended the inning with a strikeout of Ian Bladergroen, who was traded to Lancaster after originally signing with the Blue Crabs a couple of months before the 2008 season began.
Derrick DePriest worked the ninth and picked up his second save of the year.
Southern Maryland starting pitcher John Halama threw seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts. The left-hander left with the game tied and earned a no-decision.
Halama pitched for seven major league teams, including the Washington Nationals in 2005 and Baltimore Orioles in 2006, and was a Blue Crab in parts of three seasons from 2008 to 2010.
“I thought I did all right tonight,” he said to Demedis on May 2, 2008. “I was able to keep the team in the game until we were able to score runs. That first home run kind of put a spark in us and we livened up a little bit. The past few games we have had some good at-bats, but the breaks just haven’t come our way. We have always been one hit away from putting something together. Maybe this is a sign, the way we came back and won the home opener.”
The home-opening win was the start of a three-game sweep in the Blue Crabs’ first home series.
On May 3, Shorsher hit a game-winning double to right field with two outs in the bottom of the 13th, driving home Crozier and Curtis Pride to give the Blue Crabs an 8-7 win.
After six hours of play and seven straight scoreless innings, Southern Maryland scored three runs in its final at-bat to win after Lancaster plated two in the top of the inning.
“Anytime you play 13 innings, it’s especially nice to be on the winning side,” Hobson said to Demedis. “You don’t want to wind up losing after all of that. But I am really proud of the guys. They stepped it up a notch in that final inning, and Shorsher really came through for us.”
The Blue Crabs earned the sweep with an 8-7 win on May 4 in a contest that needed just the regulation nine innings.
Southern Maryland hit three home runs and held on as starter Adam Johnson picked up his first win of the year.
The Blue Crabs took the lead for good with a four-run fifth. Osborn drove in two runs with a ground-rule double, then scored along with Crozier on a single by Johnston.
“It felt really good to take those three games, especially because of the way the games went,” Crozier said to Demedis. “There were no blowouts and each win took a complete team effort. Each had a great finish.”