Roanoke Times
                 Copyright (c) 1995, Landmark Communications, Inc.

DATE: MONDAY, August 23, 1993                   TAG: 9308230116
SECTION: SPORTS                    PAGE: B2   EDITION: METRO 
DATELINE:                                 LENGTH: Medium


Two hits, two sacrifice bunts, two walks, two double plays, 22 at bats.

That was the terrifying arsenal the Salem Buccaneers unleashed on the Kinston Indians on Sunday night with 1,276 witnesses staring on.

The Bucs may not have needed that much. A walk, a sacrifice, and a hit sufficed.

That and a five-armed mound execution squad was enough to throttle the Indians, who yielded 1-0 in two hours, 12 minutes.

Kinston (33-25) then hopped on a bus for Winston-Salem and a series that will settle the Carolina League's Southern Division second-half title. The Indians, losers of two of three here, were in a poisonous mood when they departed the parking lot.

"What I think is that we didn't want it enough," Indians manager Dave Keller said. "If we'd wanted it, then we would have done some of the things it would have taken to win the game."

Salem (25-33), the bug in the Southern front-runners soup by taking four of six from the Indians and Spirits in consecutive series, did those things in just the necessary quantity. The end came for Kinston in the bottom of the eighth. Until that juncture, Jason Fronio had pitched brilliantly for the Indians, knuckleballing and split-fingering his way to one hit and one walk surrendered. Joe Ronca broke up a perfect game with a leadoff single in the fifth.

But Fronio walked Ramon Espinosa to start the eighth and Trace Ragland promptly delivered him to second with the sacrifice. Then on came Mike Brown, on a 3-for-15 skid, for a rare pinch-hitting stint. Brown said he thought about the knuckler but never saw it.

"The first two were fastballs, one outside and one inside," he said. "After the second pitch, I was picking up the ball coming out of his hand. Then he threw me another fastball. It was probably inside for a ball, but I managed to get enough bat on it."

Just enough.

"He didn't exactly smoke that ball," Bucs manager Scott Little said.

Instead, the ball fluttered down in short center field as Espinosa raced home.

Fronio got one more out and gave way to Ian Doyle, who secured the final out. Salem stopper Marc Pisciotta gave up a leadoff single to Pork Chop Pough, then coerced a groundout and a game ending double play as shortstop Alan Purdy snagged a liner from Tony Mitchell and doubled Pough off second. It was Pisciotta's ninth save.

That was the capstone of a dynamite combined pitching performance from Salem, which had only its second shutout of the year. To think, that was after Dan Jones lasted exactly one inning with an exhausted arm.

"He topped out at 76 [miles per hour]," Little said. "You didn't notice those pitches coming in a little slow?"

Quite a contrast to successor Kevin Rychel, who came in and threw seeds. Eleven pitches buzzed 94 on the gun, a handful higher than that. Two hits, four strikeouts and two walks, and no runs later, Mark Mesewicz took his turn. Two innings, one walk from him, one perfect inning from winner Dennis Konuszewski (4-10), and Little was sending in Pisciotta.

The play of the game came in the fifth, Rychel's last. With two outs, Marc Marini singled to right, John Cotton tried to score from second, and was nailed at the plate by a throw from right-fielder Trace Ragland. Kinston coach Dan Norman was heaved by umpire Scott Stabler for voicing his objections as was pitcher Kevin Logsdon, hollering in from the bullpen.

"Bad call," Keller said. Catcher Marcus Hanel just grinned. "It was close," was all he'd allow. \

see microfilm for box score


 by CNB