AVON, Ohio -- The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy Health, beat the Florence Freedom in game one 5-4 to win their third consecutive game.
The Crushers (16-14) snap a 6-game winning streak for Florence with the win. While the Freedom (19-11) are now 7-3 in their last 10 games.
Jack Granath started for the Crushers and threw 3.0 innings, gave up four runs off of five hits, walked one and struck out one. Jake Repavich (2-2) got the win after he threw 5.0 innings of shutout baseball where he gave up only one hit. Kent Hasler (2) earned his second save of the season after he shut the door on the Freedom in the bottom of the ninth. Zak Spivy (0-1) is credited with the loss after giving up three runs over 2.2 innings in relief.
Both offenses came out swinging early in this game. The top of the first inning seemed like it would finish quickly when Scott Sebald got two outs in seven pitches. But the inning would keep rolling after Dale Burdick reached on an error by the third baseman Luis Pintor. Jake Vieth stepped up and provided the first run of the game with an RBI double to score Burdick and make it an early 1-0 lead.
Florence answered back in the home half of that inning with two runs to take the lead. Pintor got the Freedom's offense started with a one-out single that was followed by a walk from Caleb Lopes. With runners on first and second, Andre Mercurio hit an RBI double to score Pintor to tie the game and put runners at second and third. Tyler Reichenborn then hit an RBI groundout off Granath to give Florence the 2-1 lead.
In the top of the second, Lake Erie tied the game. Aaron Hill led off the inning with a double and scored off an RBI single from Karl Ellison. But Florence retook the lead in the bottom of the same inning thanks to a 2-run homer from Isaac Benard. It stayed a 4-2 game until the top of the fourth inning when Hill provided more offense for Lake Erie. Hill it a lead off home run off Spivey for his second extra base hit of the game to make it a 4-3 game.
The Crushers took the lead in the top of the sixth inning with small ball and heads up base running. Hill drew a walk to start the inning and moved into scoring position off a single by Emmanuel Marrero. Ellison laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both of the runners over into scoring position. Bodie Bryan then hit an RBI single to score Hill and tie the game at 4-4. With runners at the corners and one out, the Crushers called for a hit and run. Bryan took off for second, but James Davison Jr. popped up his hit to the short stop Austin Wobrock. Wobrock made the catch, but in his attempt to double off Bryan he threw it past the first baseman Connor Crane. Marrero seized the opportunity and scored the go-ahead run.
The Florence Freedom's offense started out hot but came to a screeching halt because of one man, Jake Repavich. Repavich dominated the Freedom's lineup for five innings and retired the first 12 batters he faced in a row. The only base runner to reach on Repavich was Connor Crane when he hit a bloop single into left field. Repavich responded to the lazy single by inducing a 4-6-3 double play to get the lone runner off the bases.
No doubt about it, everyone for Lake Erie played well but two guys stood out among the pack. Without Repavich's incredible relief appearance, and Hill's offense the Crushers might not have won that game. Hill finished his day going 2-3 with a double, solo home run, and three runs scored while Repavich shut down one of the Frontier League's most lethal offenses.
The Crushers will continue the three-game series with the Florence Freedom at UC Health Stadium on Saturday night. Right-hander Dylan Mouzakes (2-1, 3.06) will be on the mound for the Crushers. The Freedom will counter with left-hander Mike Castellani (3-1, 2.62) The first pitch is scheduled for 6:05 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.