Home runs fuel Legends' home-opening victory

mmaloney@herald-leader.comApril 8, 2013 

  • Tuesday

    Asheville Tourists at Legends

    When: 7:05 p.m.

    Radio: WLXG-AM 1300

For openers, not bad.

The Lexington Legends overcame a 3-0 deficit Monday night, getting home runs from Jin-Ho Shin and Fred Ford to win their home opener 4-3 over the Asheville Tourists.

A Whitaker Bank Ballpark crowd of 4,132 was as delighted with the victory as the Legends were with them.

"We can easily play in front of that every night here this summer," Ford said. "The people here in Lexington have been awesome; my host family's been great. ... It's a relief to come home and kind of relax and play in front of people that are on your side. It was a lot of fun."

The Legends' 13th season marks their first as an affiliate of a big-league club other than the Houston Astros.

Now with the Kansas City Royals, the Legends wore new cream-colored pants and jerseys, highlighted by "Bluegrass blue" numbers and letters.

"It was great. The kids fed off of (the atmosphere)," Legends Manager Brian Buchanan said. "The fans were great. It's a nice park. The weather was nice (72 degrees)."

Left-hander Daniel Stumpf got the start, giving up three unearned runs on four hits over five innings.

The three runs all came on a third-inning homer to center field off the bat of Derek Jones, who finished with three of Asheville's seven hits.

"I was kind of nervous getting up this morning. I went and did all my workouts. My arm was feeling good. I stretched and all that, and I was ready to go," Stumpf said. "I just tried to battle back. I had my defense behind me and they were doing a lot of work. I gave up those three runs — I just left it up a little bit, so I was competing for them after they gave me some runs the next inning."

Lexington scored once in the third, getting a two-out infield single by Ethan Chapman, followed by Raul Mondesi's double.

"It felt like we were going to win the game," Buchanan said. "I think the kids felt that, too."

Another two-out rally in the fourth tied the score.

Michael Antonio singled. Shin then crushed a home run over the left-field bleachers.

Shin, the first Korean in Royals franchise history, didn't speak English until signing in 2009. Now, he's well on his way to mastering a language and, on this night, a game. After grounding out to third in the second inning, he was ready in the fourth inning.

"I (was) just waiting for fastballs," Shin said with little hint of an accent. "My first at bat, every pitch is fastball. .. Hit (to) third base first at-bat. The second at-bat, got absolutely the same pitch and I swing it. Now I'm ready. Just swing it."

Meanwhile, Stumpf didn't yield another hit after Jones' homer, and reliever Alec Mills gave up only a single over two innings.

The game-winning run came when Ford led off the seventh with a home run to the base of the main scoreboard in right-center.

"I just went up there, tried to have a clear head from the at-bats before," said Ford, who struck out his first two tries. "And just tried to be relaxed and look for a pitch to drive, and find a way on base to set up the inning. I was able to get enough of one and put it over."

Mark Peterson closed out the Tourists over the last two innings. He gave up a leadoff single in the ninth, but made a self-defense spear of Julian Yan's line shot to start an easy double play. Peterson gave up one more single before getting Jason Stolz to fly out.

Not bad at all.


Asheville Tourists at Legends

When: 7:05 p.m.

Radio: WLXG-AM 1300

Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @markmaloneyhl. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com

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