AVON, Ohio -- The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy Health, beat the Schaumburg Boomers at Boomers Stadium on Thursday night, by a score of 8-4 to claim sole possession of first place in the East division.
The win for the Crushers (8-4) stops a two-game losing streak and puts them one game up on Schaumburg for first place in the East. While the Boomers (7-5) loss stops a four-game winning streak.
A total of 11 pitchers threw in this game for both teams and combined to throw 38 strikeouts, 19 from both sides. Jared Koenig got the start for the Crushers and threw 6.0 innings, giving up four earned runs off of six hits, walked two and struck out 10 of the batters he faced. The bullpen of the Crushers turned out to be the difference maker in this long game. Michael Stryffeler, Kent Hasler, Ivan Vieitez, and Seth Lucio combined to throw 5.0 innings of scoreless baseball, only gave up three hits, and struck out nine Boomers batters. Vieitez (1-0) is credited with the win after he threw a scoreless 10th inning. Erik Martinez started the game for Schaumburg and threw 4.0 innings, gave up three runs, two of them earned, off of three hits, walked one, and struck out seven of the batters he faced. Dylan Stutsman (2-1) is credited with the loss after he gave up four runs, three of them earned, in the top of the 12th inning.
The Crushers offense put up the first runs of the game in the top of the third inning. James Davison launched his first homerun of the year over the right field fence with Bodie Bryan on base to make it a 2-0 lead. Immediately after Davison's homerun Aaron Hill hit his third double of the Summer. With smart base running, Hill was able to score off a wild turn of events. Emmanuel Marrero flew out to left fielder Jack Parenty right after Hill's double. Parenty thought he would be able to catch Hill in no man's land between second and third base but would air mail his throw over second baseman Julio Gonzalez and into Schaumburg's dugout. During the throw Hill started towards third and by the time the throw was in the dugout Hill had clearly advanced to third. With the ball being thrown out of play Hill was then awarded home thanks to Parenty's throwing error.
The 3-0 lead did not last long as Schaumburg put up four runs in the bottom of the third to answer back. Boomers started off the inning with a single from Alex Polston. Koenig would get Jack Parenty to fly out for out number one but then gave up a single to Clint Hardy and then would walk Julio Gonzalez. With the bases loaded and only one out, Koenig struck out Quincy Nieporte. For a moment, it seemed as though the Crushers would escape unscathed. But Matt Rose had different plans. Rose delivered a two-out two RBI single to cut the deficit to 3-2. Koenig would go on to issue a two-out walk to Rayden Sierra and then give up a two RBI single to Connor Oliver.
The 4-3 score would stay that way for most of the game. In the top of the 7th inning, Hill's baserunning came to be the difference maker. Hill made it to first on a one-out walk. Marrero followed with a walk of his own to put runners on first and second for the Crushers. Both runners advanced off a wild pitch by Joe Dougherty to put themselves in scoring position. Moments later Dougherty would throw another wild pitch and Hill capitalized by scoring the tying run to make it 4-4.
It would stay 4-4 until the top of the 12th inning. The Crushers scored four runs off Stutsman to bust open the score. With the international rule in affect, Dane Hutcheon started off the inning on second. Aaron hill struck out looking to start off the inning, but during the at-bat Hutcheon would advance to third off a wild pitch. Emmanuel Marrero would then reach via a hit by pitch, while Dale Burdick would walk to load the bases. Jake Vieth stepped up and hit a rocket to first baseman Quincy Nieporte. The hit proved to be too much for Nieporte to handle as it hit off his glove and trickled into right field scoring Marrero, and Hutcheon to make it a 6-4 score. Veith was able to advance to second on another wild pitch, and with runners on second and third Zach Racusin delivered a two RBI single to score Veith and Burdick and make the score 8-4.
That lead proved to be enough for Seth Lucio. Lucio came on to pitch the bottom of the 11th and struck out all three batters he faced to seal to victory for Lake Erie.
The Crushers will start a three-game series with the Windy City Thunderbolts at Ozinga Field in Crestwood, IL on Friday afternoon. Left-hander Pat Ledet will take the mound for the Crushers. The Thunderbolts will counter with left-hander Chris Washington. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM CST.
The Lake Erie Crushers, the 2009 Frontier League Champions, and 2011 Frontier League Organization of the year, play ball at Sprenger Health Care Stadium, a 5,000 capacity stadium located in Avon, Ohio. The Frontier League is an independent baseball league with 10 teams operating throughout the Midwest. For more information on tickets, promotions and team news, visit the team website at www.LakeErieCrushers.com or call 440-934-3636