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Lakewood Blueclaws

Lakewood BlueclawsBlueClaws bats fail to support fireballer Knapp.

Jason Knapp began Friday night's game for the Lakewood BlueClaws blazing a 94 mile-an-hour called third strike past Delmarva lead-off batter Xavier Avery.

Unleashing a fastball that lit up the center field radar gun at 97 and a diving breaking ball in the mid 70's, the 6-foot-6 right-hander allowed three hits, two earned runs, struck out 10, and walked two before being lifted with two away in the sixth inning with the score even at 1.

The magnificent Lakewood debut by Philadelphia's 2008 second round draft pick failed to prevent the BlueClaws from dropping their second game in a row to Baltimore affiliate Delmarva, 3-1, before 7,897 at FirstEnergy Park.

But it at least had to make the Philadelphia scouting department happy.

"Knapp was tremendous," said Lakewood manager Dusty Wathan as he sat at his desk and prepared to file his computer and phone reports of the game to the Philadelphia organization.

"He was under control, I thought, the whole night," Wathan said. "It was nice to watch, fun to watch. All in all, for his first time out, it was very good."

"I felt all right, pretty much like I usually feel," said the graduate of North Hunterdon High School, who will turn 19 August 31.

Knapp is ranked by Baseball America as the 10th best prospect in the Phillies system.

"I don't feel like I dominated like I could have and I don't feel like I got hit around too much," he said. "I would say (for me) an average performance."

After Knapp walked No. 3 hitter Ron Welty in the sixth, Joe Mahoney, a 6-foot-7, 250 pound first baseman, greeted reliever Justin De Fratus with a tie-breaking triple to deep right.

"I wanted to try and get him through that sixth but with that walk I couldn't let him go any further," Wathan said.

Trailing 1-0, Lakewood tied the score in the fifth on a home run by second baseman Jesus Villegas. The shot onto the berm in left field marked Villegas' first long ball in 234 professional at bats.

Lakewood, 2-for-12 in the series with runners in scoring position, got a two-out, line-drive single to left with runners at first and second by Troy Hanzawa in the fourth inning. On the play Wathan, coaching third base, held lead runner Sebastian Valle, a catcher-DH, at third.

Leftfielder Kyle Hudson's strong throw home appeared as if it would have retired Valle had he attempted to score.

''The ball was hit right at their leftfielder and Valle is not our fastest guy on the team," said Wathan. "You want to give yourself a chance (to score) and I didn't think we had a chance there."

Zach Collier fanned to end the inning.

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