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    Photo courtesy of the Louisville Bats Facebook Page
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    The Force was strong with Ryan LaMarre on Saturday night.

    The Louisville Bats’ center fielder went 4-for-4 at the plate, drove in two runs and scored twice to lead his team to a 6-3 triumph over visiting Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Star Wars Night in front of 9,657 fans - many of whom came dressed in some sort of Star Wars garb - at Louisville Slugger Field.

    David Holmberg might need to have his midi-chlorian count checked too. The left-hander threw seven solid innings to pick up the victory on the mound in helping Louisville (46-49), which wore Darth Vader-themed jerseys, strike down its two-game losing streak.

    However things didn’t start out so well, likely prompting Bats' fans to say, "I have a bad feeling about this." The RailRiders (50-45) tallied three runs in the top of the first inning thanks to one swift swing of the light saber, er, bat.

    After Holmberg issued a one-out walk to Jose Pirela he gave up a single to Greg Bird before Gary Sanchez went all angry Anakin on the Louisville starting pitcher, as if he was a Tusken Raider who had abducted his mother, launching a three-run homer to left-center. And just as quickly as the Millennium Falcon made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs Scranton led 3-0.

    At that point, though, the RailRiders’ overconfidence may have been their weakness.

    LaMarre led off the bottom of the second with a home run to left field to breathe new life (just like Star Wars fans are hoping J.J. Abrams will do with the new trilogy) into the Bats. Chris Dominguez followed with a single, then moved to second on a wild pitch by Scranton starter Bryan Mitchell. The right-handed pitcher, who was sent down by the parent New York Yankees (a.k.a. the Empire) earlier in the day, subsequently walked Juan Silva. The next hitter, Kristopher Negron, then advanced both Dominguez and Silva with a sacrifice bunt before the former plated on Hernan Iribarren’s ground out. Silva scored a short time later on Irving Falu’s single to center. And just as fast as you can say, “Jar Jar Binks was the downfall of George Lucas,” the game was tied. 

    But it didn’t stay that way for long.

    With one out in the bottom of the third Danny Burawa (whose surname coincidentally rhymes with Jawa) was brought in to replace Mitchell. Jermaine Curtis then played the role of Mos Eisley Cantina bartender, greeting the RailRiders’ new pitcher as if he were a droid trying to get served, doubling to center field. Curtis took third moments later on a wild pitch by Burawa, then scored the eventual game-winning run a short time after that on another erratic throw by the right-handed Yankees prospect.

    Louisville tacked on two more runs in the fifth. Chris Berset singled with two outs before LaMarre stayed as hot as Mustafar with an RBI double off the top of the wall (coming within a Wookiee hair or two of his second homer of the game). LaMarre then stole third before scoring on yet another wild pitch by Burawa (1-3).

    That was more than enough offense for Holmberg (6-6), who settled down after a shaky start. The southpaw gave up three earned runs on eight hits while walking one and striking out three in seven innings just hours before he turned 24 (only 876 more birthdays and he’ll almost be as old as Yoda). Jose De La Torre kept the RailRiders' bats as cold as a Hoth winter. The right-handed reliever tossed two perfect innings, striking out two, for his second save of the season.

    In addition to the career-night by LaMarre, who entered with only a .235 batting average, Falu added two hits for the Bats, who totaled 10.

    The Bats and RailRiders will wrap up their four-game series at 6:05 p.m. Sunday night. That’s when Louisville right-hander Keyvius Sampson (1-3, 5.02 ERA) will face off against fellow righty Diego Moreno (3-0, 2.56). We’ll see if the Bats can come up with a sequel as strong as The Empire Strikes Back.

    Photo courtesy of the Louisville Bats' Facebook Page

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