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Stone Crabs show fight in 9-6 loss to Lakeland

Michael Smith homers in High-A debut
Thomas Milone reached base three times in Saturday's defeat.
June 22, 2019

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (June 22, 2019) - The Stone Crabs rallied for runs in three of the final five innings Saturday, but came up short in a 9-6 loss to the Lakeland Flying Tigers at Charlotte Sports Park.After falling behind 7-0, the Stone Crabs' (38-34, 3-3) bats woke up in

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (June 22, 2019) - The Stone Crabs rallied for runs in three of the final five innings Saturday, but came up short in a 9-6 loss to the Lakeland Flying Tigers at Charlotte Sports Park.
After falling behind 7-0, the Stone Crabs' (38-34, 3-3) bats woke up in the fifth inning when Michael Smith pulled a solo home run to right to make it 7-1.
Still down six in the bottom of the fifth, Taylor Walls singled before Jim Haley drew a walk. After a pitching change, Thomas Milone grounded a single into right to score both runners and make it 7-3. After a Kaleo Johnson double, Carl Chester singled into left to chase home Johnson and cut the deficit to 7-4.
However, Lakeland (31-40, 2-4) added singular runs in the seventh and eighth on a Kody Clemens single and a passed ball to make it 9-4.
Despite the five-run deficit, the Stone Crabs continued to put together quality at bats. With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Moises Gomez and Milone both stroked singles put two men on. That brought up Johnson, who ripped a two-run double to the left field corner to make it 9-6.
Charlotte utilized a bullpen day on Saturday, with three pitchers going three innings each. Starting pitcher Jack Labosky (0-4) turned in three scoreless frames before running into trouble in the fourth.
In a scoreless game, Brock Deatherage pulled a double down the right field line before A.J. Simcox reached on a throwing error. The next batter was Clemens, who tripled home both runners to make it 2-0 Flying Tigers. Alex Valverde then entered to pitch, allowing an RBI single to Nick Ames on the first pitch to make it 3-0. Brady Policelli followed with a two-run home run to left to bring the margin to 5-0 Lakeland.
The Tigers added two more runs on a Luke Sherley double and an Ames homer to jump out to their 7-0 lead.
The Stone Crabs will look to salvage the finale of the series at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. Anthony Banda will make a rehab start for Charlotte, against Tom de Blok of the Flying Tigers. Coverage of the game begins at 12:15 p.m. on the Stone Crabs Baseball Network.