AVON, Ohio – The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy Health, drop game one to the Joliet Slammers on Tuesday night, by a score of 3-2.
The Crushers (13-14) are now 3-7 in their last 10 games with the loss. While the Slammers (11-17) get their second consecutive victory.
Alex Romero started for Lake Erie and turned in another solid start in the process. Romero threw 6.0 innings, gave up two runs off of five hits, walked four, and struck out seven in his outing. Romero's four walks are the most in any of his starts this season. Before this start, Romero had only walked seven batters in his previous five starts. Kent Hasler (1-2) is credited with the loss after giving up the winning run in the top of the ninth inning. Ryan Koziol (2-1) gets the win after pitching a scoreless ninth.
It was a pitcher's duel the entire game as both starting pitchers threw well for their squads. Keegan Long started for the Slammers and threw 6.1 innings, gave up two runs off of four hits, walked three, and struck out five. The opportunities to score were there for Lake Erie, and when it was all said and done, the Crushers left eight runners on base; with two extremely important ones in the top of the ninth inning.
The scoring for Lake Erie started in the top of the first inning. The inning started off with Steven Kraft reaching on an error by the first baseman Riley Krane. Kraft stole second to put himself in scoring position and would advance to third on a wild pitch. Zach Racusin then scored Kraft with an RBI double to give the Crushers the early lead.
The lead vanished within a matter of minutes when Joliet answered with a run in the bottom of the first. London Lindley hit a lead-off triple and scored on the very next batter. Riley Krane hit the RBI ground out to score Lindley and tie the game at 1-1.
The scored stayed 1-1 until the bottom of the fourth inning when Joliet took the lead. Jared Morello drew a one-out walk off Romero then advanced to second off a wild pitch. Morello would advance to third off a different wild pitch to put himself 90-feet away from scoring. With a runner on third and two outs, Lindley hit a ground ball to Dale Burdick that he could not handle cleanly. Morello scored off the error from Burdick to make it a 2-1 lead.
In the top of the seventh, Lake Erie made things interesting by tying the game 2-2. Aaron Hill started off the inning being hit by a pitch and would score thanks to an RBI triple from Bodie Bryan but it would be the only run of the inning. The Crushers offense had a massive opportunity in the top of the ninth to take the lead but failed to capitalize on the opportunity. Emmanuel Marrero and Hill hit back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second with no outs. Bryan De La Rosa advanced both runners with a ground out. With both runners in scoring position, Bryan and James Davison Jr. both struck out swinging to end the inning.
Joliet came out swinging in the home half of the inning. Lindley hit a lead-off single that was followed by a single from Riley Krane. Lake Erie then chose to intentionally walk Chaz Meadows to set up the force out. Hasler struck out Peyton Isaacson but then gave up the walk-off single to Ridge Hoopii-Haslam to end the game.
The Crushers will continue the three-game series with the Joliet Slammers at DuPage Medical Group Field on Wednesday night. Left-hander Jared Koenig (1-0, 2.86) will get the start for the Crushers. While right-hander Darin Osby (0-1, 2.16) will be on the mound for the Slammers. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.
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