The stifling heat had driven away all but a handful of the Pfitzner Stadium crowd by the eighth inning yesterday. But those who stayed witnessed late-inning heroics from Potomac's Billy Deck, who tied the game with a two-run homer in the ninth inning, and Frederick's Darnell McDonald, whose 11th-inning grand slam gave the Keys an 11-10 victory.
The Cannons (4-5) staged a three-run rally after McDonald's shot over the left field fence, but Keys reliever Ken Sims ended the threat and his team's five-game losing streak.
Potomac reliever Mike Huffaker pitched well in the 10th inning, but walked three of the first five batters he faced in the 11th and paid for it when McDonald sent his first-pitch fastball out of the park.
"I knew he'd have to come to me, and I was looking for something to hit," said McDonald, who hit his fourth homer of the season.
Overshadowed in the late innings was another strong outing by the Cannons' hard-luck starter, Robert Smith. Since arriving from Class A Peoria on May 31, the 19-year-old from Lakewood, Calif., had seen his team score only seven runs in his five starts. After giving up two runs in the first inning yesterday, Smith shut down the Keys (5-6) with five innings of three-hit ball. But the bullpen failed him twice, and Smith still could not get his first win with the Cannons.