Legends: Finally, something to smile about

Russell Dixon broke a bat his first three trips to the plate Sunday.

After the game, hitting coach Stubby Clapp handed Dixon an aluminum bat.

The Lexington Legends had good reason, finally, to yuck it up in the clubhouse.

A 3-1 victory over the Greensboro Grasshoppers gave Lexington its first win of the second half (1-3), snapped a six-game losing streak overall and was their first in 10 tries against the Hoppers.

Four Legends combined to limit Greensboro to three singles and a double, striking out 11.

Lexington had eight hits, including Brandon Barnes' second homer of the year. He, Max Sapp and Cat Everett had two hits each.

Barnes' homer, leading off the seventh, cleared the manual scoreboard in left-center, a shot estimated at 433 feet.

”I sit back on that fastball and just try to hit it where it's pitched,“ Barnes said. ”It feels awesome.“

Greensboro took a 1-0 lead in the third.

Two walks and a single loaded the bases. In his second start since coming off the disabled list, Anthony Bello reached his pitch count at that point and was replaced by Carlos Ladeuth.

A Ladeuth wild pitch scored Emilio Ontiveros.

Another walk re-loaded the bases again, but Ladeuth was perfect after that.

He struck out Ryan Anetsberger to end the inning, then set the Hoppers down in order over the next four innings.

Ladeuth (3-6) finished with four strikeouts, working exclusively from the stretch.

”I pitched my first three years in Venezuela as a closer,“ said Ladeuth, who went to a full windup when he came to the United States in 2006, continuing into this season. ”I feel better now when I throw (from) the stretch.“

Ladeuth moved his fastball in and out, and said his slider and changeup were ”pretty good.“

The Legends parlayed three hits and scored twice in the fourth inning.

Brian Pellegrini walked and Sapp singled. Steve Brown bunted the runners to second and third.

Dixon's broken-bat, high-chop single over the mound scored Pellegrini.

Barnes followed with a sacrifice fly to center.

Barnes was first to face reliever Steve Cishek in the seventh, ripping a 1-1 pitch.

After a slow start, Barnes was demoted from the Legends to extended spring training May 14.

He has hit safely in each of his 11 games since being recalled June 8.

”I just worked on a lot of things when I was down there, mainly just hit — I DH'd every day pretty much. And just kind of got my confidence back up, hitting guys at a lower level and just letting everything else go that's been happening to me lately,“ he said. ”I've come back with a little fire now. I've got something to prove.“

And, for at least a day, something to laugh about.