The Frederick Keys were hanging with the Down East Wood Ducks on Saturday at Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium, but the Keys ended up giving up one home run too many.
Sherten Apostel’s two-run home run off the wall in left-center field broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the sixth inning. Down East went on for a 4-2 win over Frederick, which drops the Keys to 18-29 in the second half of the Carolina League season.
“It’s kind of what these games come down to,” Frederick center fielder Cole Billingsley said. “One or two pitches can change the outcome of a game. I thought we played well enough to win.”
Frederick (47-39 overall) had its elimination number in the league’s playoff race cut to 13 with the loss to Down East, who leads the league’s Southern Division in the second half (29-19). The Keys close out this homestand against the Wood Ducks at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
The Keys trailed early in Saturday’s game, falling behind 2-0 after three innings. Frederick tied the score at 2 in the bottom of the fifth.
Cadyn Grenier led off with a triple off the wall in right field, then scored on a Sean Miller single. Miller later scored on a single by Billingsley.
Frederick nearly escaped unscathed in the top of the sixth. Reliever Scott Burke coaxed back-to-back flyouts from Yohel Pozo and Sam Huff, but Julio Pablo Martinez singled, setting up Apostel’s crucial two-run homer, which completed the game’s scoring.
“It came down to one pitch,” Billingsley said.
The Keys were held to two hits the rest of the way.
“Overall, I thought it was a pretty good baseball game,” Billingsley said. “We probably didn’t swing the bats as well as we wanted to as a team.”
Billingsley, Robert Neustrom and Grenier each had two hits for Frederick. Martinez had two hits for Down East. Burke (1-2) took the loss.
Alex Eubanks (9-4) got the win for Down East. Jefferson Medina earned his fourth save, closing out the ninth.
NOTE — A season-best 8,254 spectators attended Saturday’s game.