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SALT LAKE CITY — A crowd of over 15,000 fifth graders filled Smith's Ballpark Monday morning for the Salt Lake Bees' annual Prevention Dimension Kids' Day, which saw the Bees go down 5-4 to the Reno Aces.
Those in attendance appeared to enjoy themselves in spite of the loss. Pop flies, foul balls and a slew of mascots entertained fans throughout, but the highlight of the day came when the kids sparked an impromptu "Gar-y!" chant to encourage center fielder Gary Brown in his final two at-bats. (He went on to walk and line out to first).
Reno put up the game's first run in the second, thanks to a Jamie Romak solo shot off of Bees starter Drew Rucinski. The Bees responded in the fourth when catcher Jeff Bandy lined the ball inside the third base foul line, driving in Efren Navarro and Alfredo Marte.
Rucinski retired nine-straight following Romak's homer before losing control in the fifth, where he gave up four runs and struggled to find the plate. Manager Dave Anderson pulled him after going 4.2 innings with five earned runs on just five hits.
"I think we'll get better as we go with our starting pitching," Anderson said while commenting on his club's home stand. "They're starting to get stretched out now, a lot of them are going 100 pitches or more. I think they'll improve now that they're going a little bit deeper in the ball game."
Salt Lake added two runs in the sixth on a Bandy hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded and a Daniel Robertson sac-fly, but that would be all for the Bees' offense. A Navarro walk with two outs in the bottom of the ninth gave them a scoring chance, but Marte stuck out to end the game.
Alex Clark is a sports writing intern for KSL.com. He currently studies digital journalism at BYU. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: alclark35