FREDERICK -- The home opener was rolling along ideally for the Frederick Keys last night before Kinston almost ruined the festivities.
From the opening inning until just before the post-game fireworks, the Keys dominated before their own defensive shoddiness contributed to a five-run Indians ninth inning that was almost enough to erase all that had happened.
Fortunately for Frederick, the six-run lead it had built was enough to stave off the visitors, 8-7, before 4,130 at Grove Stadium.
Reliever Rodney Ormond sailed through the seventh and eighth innings without damage before Kinston nailed him for a walk, an infield single and consecutive doubles by Luis Gonzalez and Brian Benefield to create a monstrous jam.
"He had thrown extremely well and used only 23 pitches, so I thought we could get another inning out of him," said Keys manager Dave Machemer.
Chris Weidert replaced Ormond and faced one batter, who reached when Joey Hammond's throw was high to first for an error. Machemer then called on his closer, Derek Brown, to squelch the uprising.
But on a tap to the mound, Brown fired high to second and the ball went into center ield to close the gap to 8-6. Victor Martinez hit a sacrifice fly to the wall in right field before Brown finally escaped after a line-drive out, a single and a closing strikeout of Jesus Hernandez.
"Brown had a little brain cramp," said Machemer. "That was an easy ground ball he threw away and a lot of times that opens up the door. It almost did."
The rally nearly spoiled an excellent start by Steve Bechler, who lasted six innings and allowed three hits, including a two-run homer by Hernandez.
Frederick (3-1) maintained its lead in the Carolina League's Northern Division with a 10-hit attack that included a two-run homer and a triple by Pappy Ndungidi, a 3-for-3 night (with two walks) for Richard Paz and three runs batted in from Franky Figueroa.