Mapes outstanding, but Senators fall 2-1

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The New Hampshire Fisher Cats rode the hot bat of Rowdy Tellez and the arm of Shane Dawson to a tight 2-1 victory over the Harrisburg Senators in front of 3,145 fans at FNB Field.

“We’ve been in almost every game,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “It’s teaching them a little how to play. A lot of these guys who grow up in travel ball and showcase camps, you don’t ever learn how to play.”

“You get here and it’s a good league. If you don’t pick it up, you get lost. You don’t always look at numbers here because there are guys that have bad numbers but can really play. They can play defense. They can move runners. They can bunt, hit and run. You don’t have to have great numbers to do all that. Guys are starting to understand how to play. Little things like that should help you become a major league player. It helps you enjoy it more.”

The Senators (27-25) jumped out to an early one-run lead as Neftali Soto raced all the way from first base on Spencer Kieboom’s double down the right-field line. New Hampshire evened the score in the fourth inning when Tellez tripled and scored on an infield single as third baseman Adrian Sanchez and shortstop Wilmer Difo got tangled up charging the slow roller.

Despite seven strong innings, Tyler Mapes was the tough luck loser on Thursday night at FNB Field.

Despite seven strong innings, Tyler Mapes was the tough luck loser on Thursday night at FNB Field.

Respective starters Tyler Mapes and Dawson kept the score deadlocked at 1-1 as both pitchers efficiently worked through the opposing lineups into the top of the sixth inning. That’s when the Fisher Cats would get to Mapes (5-3) as Jon Berti led off the frame with a single and Dwight Smith Jr. drew a base on balls. After Melky Mesa struck out, Tellez delivered the big blow with a double into the left-center field gap that scored Berti to take a 2-1 lead.

In the next frame, Mapes worked out of a bases-loaded jam as Chris Bostick fully extended on a ball up the middle and then shoveled to Difo for the inning-ending fielder’s choice. That ended Mapes’ outing as the right-hander worked a season-high seven innings, scattering six hits and walking two while striking out four.

“I thought he did one heck of a job. He didn’t deserve the loss,” LeCroy said. “He’s starting to learn when to slow it down when they’re aggressive and I think it’s helping him. He’s been a big, bright spot for us coming here doing what he’s doing.”

The Harrisburg bullpen held the deficit at one as Wander Suero tossed a scoreless inning and Koda Glover struck out the side. But the Senators failed to cash in on golden opportunities in the final two innings. In the eighth with runners on first and second, Soto struck out and Bostick grounded out to end the threat. And then in the ninth, Harrisburg loaded the bases against New Hampshire closer Wil Browning but couldn’t plate the tying run.

Rafael Bautista, Isaac Ballou, and Shawn Pleffner led the Senators’ offense with two hits apiece.

Harrisburg heads out on the road south on I-95 for a weekend series against the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Reynaldo Lopez gets the ball for the Senators against Richmond’s Kyle Crick at 7:05 p.m. from The Diamond. The Matt LeCroy Show will begin the radio broadcast at 6:50 p.m. on Fox Sports 1460 AM or at senatorsbaseball.com.

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