By: Shelby Dermer (Cannons' broadcaster and beat writer)
NEW MARKET, VIRGINIA-- The Purcellville Cannons are glad they will not return to New Market this season. After a 10-6 loss on Thursday night at Rebels Park, the Cannons dropped to 0-3 at New Market's home venue this summer and have surrendered 34 runs in that span.
After a Ray Hernandez sacrifice fly to score Andrew Zban gave the Cannons a 1-0 lead in the first inning, New Market responded with six unanswered runs off Purcellville starter Zach Sloan, starting with a 2-run double by Nick Debo in the home half of the game's opening frame. Back-to-back RBI knocks by Bowen McGuffin and Brady Lloyd in the third gave the Rebels a 6-1 advantage and ended Sloan's night on the mound.
Sloan, a left-hander from Buffalo, New York, lasted just three innings for the third time in a start this season and dropped his summer record to 1-2. Of the six runs, only three were earned.
Hernandez once again knocked in Zban with a sac fly in the fifth which cut the Rebels' lead to 6-3, but New Market responded with two runs off Cannons' reliever Daniel Gooden in the bottom of the inning to take back their 5-run cushion.
Purcellville first baseman Charlie Watters had an RBI single in the sixth, then two more runs came around to score when his ground ball led to a throwing error by New Market third baseman Brendan Donovan which allowed Eriq White and PJ Harris to cross the plate and cut the lead to two.
However, New Market once again got those runs back, scoring twice off Cannons' reliever Billy Cox in the bottom of the eighth to take a 10-6 lead, which would prove to be the final.
University of Memphis product Alex Hicks got the victory for the Rebels as they climbed back over the Cannons for the 4th and final playoff spot in the VBL North. Despite an ERA over seven to begin the game, Hicks tossed six innings and allowed four earned runs to pick up his first win of the season.
After a third straight loss to the Rebels and falling to just 2-12 on the road this season, the Cannons (10-18) will be off on Friday before returning home on Saturday to host the Covington Lumberjacks (14-10), who have won 5 of their last 6 contests.
In one matchup against the Lumberjacks this summer, the Cannons lost on the road at Casey Field, 5-1, on June 20th.
Right-handed hurler Kevin Fuentes will become the 8th starting pitcher for Purcellville this season when he takes the mound at Fireman's Field on Saturday, a venue the Cannons are 8-6 at this season. The newcomer was 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in nine appearances last spring at Sante Fe Community College.