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Catcher hits two home runs as Yard Goats lose ground in playoff chase

Hartford’s Scott Burcham had a RBI single in Wednesday night’s loss in Altoona to the Curve.

The Hartford Yard Goats lost some ground in their hunt for an Eastern League playoff berth on Wednesday night.

Catcher Jason Delay hit a pair of home runs and drove in six runs for the Altoona Curve in a 8-2 Eastern League victory over the Yard Goats (66-60, 29-30 second half) in Altoona, Pa.

Hartford lost a half game to Reading in the hunt for an Eastern League playoff berth. Reading (74-53, 35-25 second half) had their game with Portland rained out and it won’t be rescheduled.

Reading has 12 games remaining and can clinch a playoff berth with eight victories. Reading has a 5½ game lead over Hartford, which has 13 games left. Trenton won the first half championship in the Eastern League’s Eastern Division.

Reading and the Yard Goats begin a crucial four-game series on Thursday at Dunkin’ Donuts Park at 7:05 p.m. Even with a four-game sweep, the Yard Goats will need some help if they hope to grab a postseason berth.

On Wednesday night, Delay cranked a three-run homer in the fourth inning to give the Curve a 4-0 lead, and then connected on a two-run shot in the sixth to make it 6-0.

The Yard Goats loaded the bases in the first inning against Curve starter Domingo Robles but the left-hander got a double play to get out of trouble.  After pitching around trouble in the first inning, Robles retired 16 of the next 18 batters, including 11-in-a-row from the third through sixth innings.

Altoona scored the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Logan Hill in the fourth inning to take a 1-0 lead against Hartford starter Matt Dennis.  Two batters later, Jason Delay belted a three-run homer just out of the reach of left fielder Vance Vizcaino to make it a 4-0 game.

The Curve added a pair of runs in the sixth as Delay ripped another homer into the left field bleachers and it was a 6-0 game.  Hartford scored a run in the seventh inning on Scott Burcham’s RBI hit, which brought home Mylz Jones to make it an 6-1 game.  However, the Curve came back with two more runs in the seventh inning.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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