Curve bash Bowie 13-4

There was a lot of hitting this weekend at Blair County Ballpark in the three-game series between Altoona and the Bowie Baysox. Bowie is only 33-63, but always seems to save up their best days for BCB. This time was no different, although the Curve was able to right a sinking ship with two wins in the series following a disastrous couple of series with Reading and Harrisburg just before the All-Star break and Akron and Binghamton immediately after.
The two teams combined for a total of 45 runs and 85 hits in the series. Under a withering hot sun, The Altoona Double-A Pirates affiliate struck for 11 runs, Sunday, to erase a 2-0 deficit and breezed for a 13-4 win that got the franchise back to .500 with a 49-49 record.
Curve starter Ben Shaffar walked Napoleon Calzado and yielded back-to-back doubles to Ed Rogers and Doug Gredvig to give Bowie a 2-0 start in the top of the first.
Shaffar (7-7) settled down, with the help of a couple big offensive explosions to get the win, pitching seven and 2/3 innings, giving up a total of four runs, three earned, striking out five while walking four. Neil McDade tossed the final inning and 1/3 allowing no runs and just one harmless single.
After the Baysox put their pair on the scoreboard, Altoona came right back to score four times in the bottom of the first to establish a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Tony Alvarez led off the frame with a walk and Shawn Skrehot beat out an infield single. Kevin Sekcik stroked the first of four singles on the day to score Alvarez.
“That’s the way you win games,” said Sefcik. “You don’t win games just getting more hits, you win games by scoring more runs. That’s the way you got to be, coming up with keys hits. Hopefully we can get things going here and get closer so by August 1, we can make a run at the second playoff spot. We still have lots of games left with the guys in front of us.”
Shawn Garrett doubled to continue the first inning, scoring Skrehot. With two outs, J.J. Davis, who was almost scratched from the lineup by Curve manager Dale Sveum, delivered a two-run double for a 4-2 lead. Davis had been mired in a two-for-22 slump and was sick yesterday with flu symptoms, but rebounded with a pair of two-run doubles and his eighth homerun, a solo shot leading off the seventh inning to increase his RBI count to 24.
“I’ve been trying to see the ball better and get my numbers up,” said Davis. “I’ve been working in the (batting) cage with Dale (manager Dale Sveum, who is also the Curve hitting coach), working on seeing the ball, hitting the ball and not trying to do too much.”
The Curve batted around to score seven more runs in the third to blow the game open. Davis’ second two-run two-bagger, a two-run single by catcher John Pachot and a two-run homer by Lock Haven High School grad Joe Caruso highlighted the big inning.
“It’s always great to get to play in front of your hometown fans,” said Caruso. “My mom, grandmother, my uncle and a lot of other friends were here today to see the homerun. You want to go out there and play well and to hit that homerun in front of them was just great. Some of the guys who played on the two district football championships we won at Lock Haven, have already been here to watch me play. I get chills just thinking about it.”
The Curve wrapped up the win with two more tallies in the seventh. Davis bashed his homer over the stones beyond the left field wall to open the inning. Rico Washington, Pachot and Caruso all singled to load the bases and Tony Alvarez brought home Washington with a sac fly to center.