BOWIE -- The announced attendance at Prince George's Stadium was 1,118, but the in-house count was probably in the neighborhood of 500.
Still, Peter Kirk, chief executive of Maryland Baseball Limited Partnership, was not deterred by the slender turnout for the Maryland Fall Baseball League opener last night.
"I'm very encouraged," said Kirk. "Our target was the Arizona Fall League where they average about 250. Considering the rainstorm before the game and limited promotion time, this is satisfying.
"With scout nights and some other promotions, we'll put some people in here on our next homestand."
In its maiden season, the league has assembled leading Double-A and Single-A prospects from 26 of the 30 major-league organizations. They wear the big-league uniforms of their respective parent teams.
The Bowie Nationals and Frederick Regiment demonstrated that there are likely to be numerous close games because of the evenness of the talent.
Frederick took its first lead on a 10th-inning, two-out home run by Maurice Bruce (Mets) off Orioles farmhand Derek Brown. Bruce, the Regiment leadoff man, went 3-for-5 and also reached on an error.
But the Nationals answered with a two-run uprising against Gabe Sollecito (Rangers) in the bottom half, winning, 4-3, on a game-tying single by Oriole Jayson Werth and a game-winning hit by Tike Redman (Pirates).
Bowie seized a quick 2-0 lead by the third inning against Josh Bradford (Blue Jays) on a run-scoring single by Jon Heinrichs (Marlins) and a ground ball by Allen Butler (Yankees). Butler reached on an error on the play but was granted an RBI.
But the Regiment fought back on a bases-empty home run by Jeff Deardorff (Brewers) in the fifth and an RBI double by Shawn Gallagher (Rangers) in the sixth.
Tyler Walker (Mets) pitched four one-hit innings for Frederick.
Pub Date: 9/23/98