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All your local SPORTS stories. Saturday, August 11, 2001
Bridgeport player arrested on drug charges

By MICHAEL RADANO
Courier-Post Staff
CAMDEN

If this year could be considered tough for the Sharks, Thursday night was horrendous for Bridgeport.

Bridgeport won a four-hour nine-inning home game against Atlantic City 15-11 Thursday night. But that came after the arrest of Alex Cole.

The arrest concluded a three-month investigation of Cole on drug trafficking charges. The former major-leaguer was arrested at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard before the game.

Cole, who played six seasons in the major leagues for Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Colorado, Minnesota and Boston and batted .280 with 146 stolen bases, was free on a $100,000 bond and is allowed to travel with the team but only for games. Cole, who was suspended by the Bluefish immediately after the arrest, was not with the team Friday night.

Also in Thursday night's game Atlantic City pitcher Jason Moody punched manager Tommy Helms after being pulled from the game.

Moody gave up three runs in 1 innings. He wasn't the only pitcher to struggle, as Surf pitching allowed 13 earned runs. But Moody was the only pitcher to take out his frustrations on his manager. Maybe Surf pitching coach Mitch Williams isn't doing as good a job as Surf management would have you believe.

Home sweet home: The Sharks will play 29 of their final 37 games at home. Despite the club's second half struggles, a 1-8 start and six consecutive losses before last night, the Sharks are not out of the race for the South Division title just yet.

If the Sharks can play .700 ball over the final month and a half, they can end the second half 35-28. Add in the fact that 18 of the home games are against division rivals Somerset, Atlantic City and Lehigh Valley, all of whom have struggled in the second half and nothing is impossible.

"As poorly as we've played and no matter what some people have said, we're still in this," Shark manager Wayne Krenchicki said. "I'm just looking for consistency out of this team. We haven't been able to do that all year. We have an opportunity to make a run."

Storm Insurance: Shark management was looking forward to Friday's game because of crowd of 5,000 would have pushed Camden over the 4,000 fans per game average the team has been looking for. Friday night games, which include fireworks, have been the Sharks biggest draw. Before the game started, 4,100 tickets had been sold.

But then the rain came.

Yesterday's storms held up the game for 45 minutes and knocked down part of the outfield wall. And only 4,559 were in attendance.

Fans who did not attend Friday's game because of the the weather, will receive a free ticket to another regular- season game this year.

"We had hundreds of calls during the afternoon," general manager John Brandt said. "Many of these fans had tickets to the game but didn't want to risk coming out in the storm and I don't blame them."

Ticket stubs from Friday's game will also be honored in the free ticket giveaway.

Stat Page: Haddon Township graduate Brad Strauss entered the game with a four-game hit streak. That compiled with a team high 13 earlier this season justifies labeling Strauss the most consistent weapon on the Shark offense. Over the last 10 games Strauss has hit .357 with 15 hits in a team high 42 at bats. ... Darrell Nicholas seems to almost be the whole way back from a variety of injuries he suffered in the first half. Over the last 10 games the left fielder has hit .410. Before the rains came on Friday night, Nicholas was 2-for-3 with a home run. The two-run shot to left bounced off the top of the advertising board behind the main fence.

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