The San Diego Chicken set up shop last night at Memorial Stadium, razzing umpires, imitating Vanilla Ice and putting a chuckle into the crowd of 8,630 -- the largest in Bowie Baysox history.
It was a 22-year-old pinch hitter, however, who stole the show.
With the Baysox trailing the New Britain Red Sox 4-3 and runners on second and third with two outs in the ninth, pinch hitter T. R. Lewis doubled into the gap in left-center to bring home two runs and give the Baysox a 5-4 win.
The hit, a hard liner off reliever Joe Ciccarella and just beyond the reach of a diving Paul Rappoli in left, brought home Edgar Alfonso and Kyle Washington with the tying and winning runs.
The win was the Baysox's third straight and gives them 13 victories in 17 home games this season.
"It's what we all dream of -- getting the game winning hit with two out in the ninth," said Lewis, the youngest player on the team who was pinch hitting for Brad Tyler. "You don't get many bigger than that."
The Baysox (20-12) have developed a knack for comebacks. Four times, they have rallied to win after trailing as late as the eighth inning.
"I think we just have aggressive ballplayers who maintain their attitude throughout the entire game," said manager Don Buford.
Early on, however, the Red Sox played the role of aggressor.
New Britain got to Baysox starter Kevin Ryan for two runs in the second inning.
Jim Crowley walked to leadoff, and Scott Hatteberg followed with a single to right, putting runners on the corners. Mike Beams then singled to left, scoring Crowley to make it 1-0.
Then with one out, No. 9 hitter Bill Norris grounded into what could have been an inning-ending double play, but the relay from shortstop Tim Holland sailed into the dugout, scoring Hatteberg to make it 2-0.
New Britain starter Gary Painter, meanwhile, looked overpowering early, retiring seven of the first eight hitters. But the Baysox caught up with him in the third.
With one out, Holland connected for a home run to left, cutting the Bowie deficit to 2-1. In the fifth, Holland singled home Washington, who had doubled, to tie the game at 2.
But the Red Sox regained the lead an inning later, when Jim Crowley-- a 1987 graduate of Dulaney High and the son of former Oriole Terry -- hit a towering shot over the left-field wall to make it 3-2.
With his team trailing, 4-3, in the ninth, Lewis said he wasn't surprised to get the call against a left-hander. He entered the game hitting .438 against left-hander.
"I don't know what it is about [left-handers]," said Lewis, who bats right-handed. "I guess when you get a few hits off them you get confidence. I was feeling pretty confident."