Monday, September 03, 2012
Crushers' Season Ends in 6-2 Loss to Miners
Marion, IL— The team that battled
back all season long finally succumbed, but not before they gave the fans in
Southern Illinois a run for their money. The Lake Erie Crushers (53-42)
lost (what would eventually be determined as their season finale) to the
Southern Illinois Miners (55-39) 6-2 in seven innings.
The Crushers were down 6-2 entering the top of the seventh and in need of a
four run rally to keep their season alive and it appeared like they might just
battle back yet again, but eventually fell short.
The Crushers were the first to get on the board when in the top of the fourth
inning Daniel Bowman (2-3, R, BB) led off with a single against Miners' pitcher
Shawn Gilblair (W, 11-5). Bowman then stole second base for his second
steal of the game. Andrew Davis (0-4) followed with a groundout to short,
which moved Bowman up to third base. After a Russ Moldenhauer (0-3, R)
popup, Brandon Decker (2-3, RBI) came through with a two out RBI single to right
Everything was looking right for the Crushers as Eric Gonzalez-Diaz (L, 7-10)
breezed through his first three innings and was set to take the mound in the
fourth. However, the Crushers’ lead lasted only three pitches.
On the third pitch of the bottom of the fourth inning, Jake Kaase (1-3, HR,
RBI) hit a home run to right. The tie game would last all of one pitch as
Javier Herrera (1-3, HR, RBI) smacked a homer over the wall in right center
field giving the Miners a 2-1 advantage. Gonzalez-Diaz got Ken Gregory
(0-2, BB) to ground out, but Jason Ganek (1-3, HR, RBI) ended his night on the
next pitch, which he deposited over the wall in left.
Gonzalez-Diaz’s night was done, but the Miners were not.
Travis Risser came on to pitch for the Crushers and he quickly got Chad Maddox
(0-3) to ground out. Carlos Mendez (1-3, 2B) then came up and doubled,
and after Chris Anderson worked a walk to put runners on first and second,
Cannon Lester (1-2, RBI) came up and grounded a single through the hole between
first and second.
Jason Taylor came up firing from right field, but Brian Erie (1-1, 2 BB) was
unable to handle the one-hop throw and runners ended up on second and
third. Ben Klafczynski was then brought in to try and staunch the
bleeding, but he allowed a two strike single to Alvaro Ramirez (1-3, 2 RBI),
which drove in both runners and gave the Miners a 6-1 lead.
The Crushers would make things interesting though and chip away at the Miners
lead in the top of the sixth. Moldenhauer worked a two-out walk and Decker
followed with his second hit of the game. That brought up Wally Correa
(1-3, 2B, RBI) who doubled down the left field line to cut the deficit to 6-2.
Kyle Shaffer was next up and drove an 0-1 fastball to deep right center field,
but it fell 20 feet short of the 400 foot fence and Alvaro Ramirez made the
running catch to end the threat and keep the game locked at 6-2.
That was the score when the Crushers came up to bat in the top of the seventh,
trying to extend their season just one more time.
Things got off on the right foot as Erie worked his second walk of the night on
reliever Brandon Cunniff. Cunniff proceeded to strike out Robby Kuzdale,
but then he allowed back-to-back walks to Taylor and Bowman to load the bases.
Immediately after the walk to Bowman, Ralph Santana, hitting coach for the
Miners, was ejected from the game for arguing balls and strikes with home plate
umpire Drew Ashcraft, but it afforded Cunniff enough time to calm down before
facing Crushers' third basemen Andrew Davis.
The Crushers were in the best spot possible as Davis, the longest tenured
Crusher, led the team in both home runs (14) and runs batted in (67).
However, while the Crushers were looking for home run number 15 on the season
from Davis he instead popped out to short on a 1-2 fastball. That meant
the Crushers' final hope was Russ Moldenhauer, the Frontier League Home Run
Derby Champion and had homered earlier in Game One of the doubleheader.
Moldenhauer fell behind in the count 1-2 and with the season on the line
received an elevated fastball from Cunniff, a pitch he had hit so well all
season long. Moldenhauer swung at the fastball and drove it to deep left
field, about 15 feet to the right of the 320 marker, but Chad Maddox, the Left
Fielder for the Miners, made a running catch right at the front of the warning
track to end the Crushers’ hopes and season.
by Jake Donnelly