- The Washington Times - Friday, April 15, 2011

HAGERSTOWN, Md | When Bryce Harper stepped to the plate, flashbulbs popped in stands dotted with “Harperstown” T-shirts and No. 34 jerseys.

But Friday night’s home debut of the Washington Nationals’ top prospect fizzled at Municipal Stadium.

Harper went 0-for-3 with a walk as the Hagerstown Suns fell to the Lakewood BlueClaws, 8-4. None of it appeared to faze the 18-year-old.

“It’s just like any other stadium,” Harper said of the atmosphere.

Hagerstown manager Brian Daubach, however, compared it to the playoffs.

Cold, swirling winds chased most of the sellout crowd of 6,017 from the stadium in the early innings. The promise of more at-bats from the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft couldn’t compete with gusts of 30 miles per hour.

Harper grounded out twice and struck out before coaxing a seven-pitch walk in the seventh.

“It’s easier hitting at higher levels where the pitchers are throwing more strikes,” Harper said.

He did show off his powerful arm in right field, zooming a throw 300 feet on a line to the catcher in the third inning.

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