AVON, Ohio -- The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy Health, were one strike away not once but twice against River City but could not get the job done. Crushers drop the opening game by a final score of 5-4.
The Crushers (34-27) are now 5-4 in extra-inning games this year. While the Rascals (35-28) win their seventh game out of their last 10 with the win.
A total of 12 pitchers threw innings in this marathon. Evy Ruibal (1-1) walks away with the loss as he gave up the winning run in the bottom of the 12th inning. Yeison Medina (4-3) earned the win after he pitched a scoreless inning in the 12th.
Pat Ledet started for Lake Erie and turned in a gem. Ledet gave up only two runs, walked one, and struck out nine over his 6.0 innings of work. With another quality start under his belt, Ledet now has a stellar 2.34 ERA over his 13 starts. Keenan Bartlett was the starter for the Rascals and turned in a solid start as well. Bartlett threw 6.0 innings where he gave up three runs on seven hits and struck out five in his Frontier League debut.
Lake Erie started the scoring in this one in the top of the second. Brody Wofford and Steven Kraft hit back-to-back singles to start the inning. Jake Vieth grounded out for the first out of the inning a batter later. Bryan De La Rosa then stepped up and hit a bases clearing double to put the Crushers ahead 2-0. De La Rosa continued his hot night in the top of the fifth inning with a solo shot over the left field fence to give the Crushers a three-run lead.
River City cut the deficit down by one in the bottom of the fifth with a two-run blast by James Morisano. Morisano is now one of five people to homer off Ledet this season.
The game cruised along until the ninth inning. Lake Erie threatened to add some insurance runs with a runner in scoring position but failed to get him across. In the bottom of the ninth, the Crushers turned to their closer Logan Lombana.
Lombana got the first two batters out with ease striking out Andrew Penner and getting Zach Lavy to fly out. Morisano then came up clutch again for the Rascals and hit a two out single to get the offense rolling. Nick Anderson followed Morisano's lead and hit a single of his own to put runners on first and second. Lombana and LJ Kalawaia then had an at-bat for the ages. Kalawaia worked himself into a full count and fouled off numerous pitches before he hit an RBI single to score the game tying run. Lombana got the next batter out with a ground out to send it to extra innings.
For a second, it looked as though Lake Erie was not going to make it out of the bottom of the 10th inning. Dalton Geekie was on the bump for the Crushers and gave up a single to Kameron Esthay then walked the next two batters to load the bases with no outs. Geekie got the first out by getting Penner to hit into a fielder's choice to Emmanuel Marrero. Marrero made the smart play and threw home to get the lead runner for the out. Geekie then went on to strike out Lavy and Morisano to end the inning and send the game to the 11th.
In the top of the 11th inning, the international tie breaker rule came into effect and Marrero started on second. With one out on a 1-2 count, Dale Burdick hit a single into left to score the go ahead run and put Lake Erie up 4-3.
River City tied the game a half inning later with an RBI single from Trevor Achenbach to score Morisano and make it a 4-4 game.
The Rascals won the game an inning later with Evy Ruibal on the mound. Ruibal hit the first batter of the inning to put runners on first and second. Ruibal then got Nolan Meadows to ground out for the first out of the inning but both of the runners advanced 90 feet on the ground out. Penner then hit an RBI walk off single to end the game and hand Lake Erie their second consecutive loss.
The Crushers will play a double header with the River City Rascals at CarShield Field on Saturday night. The Crushers will go with lefty Jake Repavich (4-3, 3.92) on the bump for game one and Brock Riley (0-0, 4.50) for game two. While the Rascals will go with righty Brendan Feldman (4-1, 1.40) for game one and Travis McQueen (3-0, 4.32). The first pitch for game one scheduled for 5:05 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.