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Star photo by Brit WorganOneonta-s Eric Harryman grounds back to Auburn reliever Robert Leffler for the final out of the fourth inning during Friday-s New-York Penn League game at Damaschke Field. Harryman stranded runners at second and third, part of a 1-for-19 effort with men on base for the O-Tigers.

ONEONTA _ Are the Oneonta Tigers off to a poor start at the plate or are they a poor-hitting team?

Results through 18 games this season confirm the former. Friday's performance at Damaschke Field did little to disprove the latter.

In front of a season-high 3,019 fans, the O-Tigers had seven hits in a 5-2 New York-Penn League loss to the Auburn Doubledays. Oneonta had baserunners in all but two innings but went 1-for-19 with men on.

"The big two-out hit _ that's how you're going to win ballgames," said O-Tigers manager Ryan Newman, whose team came into Friday hitting .236 _ 10th in the 14-team league. "In situational hitting, we were all right tonight, but we need that big hit with two out, especially with men in scoring position, and we didn't get that tonight."

This marks the seventh time this season the O-Tigers (8-10) have scored three runs or fewer. They're 1-6 in those games.

The Tigers will try to get on track at 7 p.m. Saturday, when they begin a three-game series against the State College Spikes at Damaschke Field.

"If we had a few situational hits, we would have been right in that game or would have won that game," said O-Tigers center fielder Ben Guez, who went 1-for-4 with a double and a run. "I think we're close. We're a good bunch of guys and if we had a couple of key hits, we would have won the game."

Auburn center fielder Chris Demons didn't help Oneonta much. He made two running catches of the Grade-A variety on the warning track.

Demons took an extra-base hit away from Keith Stein with two out in the fourth. Stein hit a towering, deep fly to straightaway center off left-hander Evan Crawford. The speedy Demons got an excellent jump and made an over-the shoulder catch one step onto the warning track.

After Carlos Ramirez singled to center to lead off Oneonta's sixth, Bryan Pounds hit a shot toward left-center off winning pitcher Robert Leffler. Again, Demons was off on contact. This time, he reached the warning track and denied Pounds with a leaping catch a step or two in front of the wall.

"He can go get it," Newman said of Demons. "He can run a little bit and in a big ballpark like this, it gives him a chance to show what he can do _ and that's what he did tonight. We hit some balls that in most ballparks in this league, they're gone. They're home runs. (Those plays) could have been game-changers. He played well. I have to tip my cap."

O-Tigers starter Darwin DeLeon allowed four runs in the second inning, all the damage coming after two were out.

DeLeon (1-1) walked No. 9 hitter Chris Hopkins and Demons with two out. Both 3-2 pitches failed to hit the tight strike zone of home-plate umpire Joey Amaral, who barked into the O-Tigers' dugout a handful of times. Newman declined to comment about the Amaral's strike zone following the game.

It appeared the O-Tigers might get out of the inning when Bartolo Nicolas hit a weak, opposite-field fly to left. But O-Tigers left fielder Chris White got a poor jump and his diving effort came up about a foot short. Hopkins scored and Demons advanced to third on the play.

David Cooper followed with a two-run double, a lined shot over Guez in center to make it 3-0. Adam Amar's double into the right-center field gap made it 4-0.

"He got the ball up just a little bit in that one inning and they put up four runs," Newman said of DeLeon, who gave up four runs on six hits and three walks in four innings. "Walks hurt him tonight."

Oneonta got a run back in the third inning, when Guez pulled a double down the left-field line to lead off, went to third on Brandon Douglas' groundout to second and scored on White's groundout to short.

Amar (3-for-4) opened Auburn's fifth with a double off the fence in left against Matt Hoffman. He advanced to third on Bryan Kervin's groundout to second and scored easily on Carlos Vasquez's sacrifice fly to left.

Oneonta's final run came in the sixth. Ramirez led off with a sharp single to center. Demons then robbed Pounds on the warning track in left-center before Mike Gosse grounded to second, forcing Ramirez out at second.

Joe Bowen followed with a triple into the right-center field gap to score Gosse, marking Oneonta's lone hit with men on base.

No. 9 hitter Eric Harryman then walked off reliever Charles Huggins, who then got Guez to ground out to second to end the inning.

"We've been swinging the bats OK," said Newman, whose team lost two of three games against defending NY-Penn champion Auburn. "We've been hitting the ball hard right at guys. You saw it tonight. We hit some shots out there, but it's just a big ballpark and they have a pretty good outfield and can run them down.

"We're swinging the bats all right," he continued. "We're getting our hits. "They're not necessarily timely hits right now, but they'll fall. We just have to keep swinging."

___

Rob Centorani can be reached at rcentorani@thedailystar.com or 607-432-1000, ext. 209.

___

Doubledays 5, O-Tigers 2

{"Sports agate MLB teams"/}AuburnOneonta

{"Sports agate MLB batting"/}abrhbiabrhbi

Demons cf4100Guez cf4110

Nicolas rf5131Douglas ss5000

Cooper 1b4122White lf4011

Amar dh5131Stein rf4000

Kervin ss4000Ramirez 1b4020

Vasquez 2b3001Pounds 3b4010

Condotta 3b4010Gosse dh3100

Collins c4000Bowen c4011

Hopkins lf3110Harryman 2b3010

Totals365105Totals35272

E_Vasquez (2), Kervin (4), Douglas 2 (3), Harryman (3). DP_Auburn 1, Oneonta 1. LOB_Auburn 9, Oneonta 9. 2B_Cooper (9), Amar 2 (5), Guez (6). 3B_Nicolas (1), Bowen (1). SF_Vasquez. SB_Pounds (1), White (2). CS_Kervin (4).

{"Sports agate MLB 9inning"/}Auburn040010000""5

Oneonta001001000""2

{"Sports agate MLB pitching"/}AuburnIPHRERBBSO

Crawford321111

Leffler W,2-02¤31111

Huggins2ª10011

Daly S,2110000

{"Sports agate MLB pitching"/}Oneonta

De Leon L,1-1464431

Hoffman331112

Brackman210000

WP_Hoffman. Umpires_Home, Joey Amaral. Field, Doug Vines. T_2:32. A_3,019.

___

New York-Penn League STANDINGS

{"Sports agate body centered"/}McNamara Division

{"Sports agate International League"/}WLPct.GB

Staten Island (Yanks)117.611""

Brooklyn (Mets)108.5561

Hudson Valley (Rays)99.5002

Aberdeen (Orioles)810.4443

Pinckney Division

WLPct.GB

Jamestown (Marlins)115.688""

Auburn (Jays)126.667""

Batavia (Cards)108.5562

Williamsport (Phillies)710.41241/2

Mahoning Valley (Inds)711.3895

State College (Pirates)512.29461/2

{"Sports agate body centered"/}Stedler Division

{"Sports agate International League"/}WLPct.GB

Vermont (Nationals)108.556""

Lowell (Red Sox)99.5001

Oneonta (Tigers)810.4442

Tri-City (Astros)711.3893

{"Sports agate body centered"/}Thursday's Games

{"Sports agate body text"/}State College 9, Vermont 6

Auburn 8, Oneonta 5

Batavia 5, Hudson Valley 2

Aberdeen 4, Lowell 3

Staten Island 10, Mahoning Valley 1

Jamestown 7, Tri-City 4

Brooklyn 12, Williamsport 3

{"Sports agate body centered"/}Friday's Games

{"Sports agate body text"/}Auburn 5, Oneonta 2

Brooklyn 9, Williamsport 2

Batavia9, Hudson Valley 2

Tri-City9, Jamestown 2

Lowell 10, Aberdeen 7

Staten Island 11, Mahoning Valley 9

State College 12, Vermont 0

{"Sports agate body centered"/}Saturday's Games

{"Sports agate body text"/}Aberdeen at Williamsport

Batavia at Vermont

Jamestown at Lowell

Mahoning Valley at Brooklyn

State College at Oneonta

Staten Island at Auburn

Tri-City at Hudson Valley

{"Sports agate body centered"/}Sunday's Games

{"Sports agate body text"/}Aberdeen at Williamsport

Batavia at Vermont

Jamestown at Lowell

Mahoning Valley at Brooklyn

State College at Oneonta

Staten Island at Auburn

Tri-City at Hudson Valley

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