Walk off Winners
Juan Avila hits a walk off two-run shot in 3-2 victory over Grizzlies
AVON, Ohio -- Juan Avila hit a walk off two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning at All Pro Freight Stadium on Tuesday evening, as the Lake Erie Crushers defeated the Gateway Grizzlies, 3-2.
The win for the Crushers (9-5) was their second this season in their final at bat, coming in their first home game in 11 days, while the loss for the Grizzlies (9-8) was their third in a row on the road.
The game featured the top two pitching staffs in the Frontier League, and it lived up to that billing, beginning with both starting pitchers. Fernando Gallegos allowed only an unearned run on three hits while fanning five over seven strong innings, while Gateway's Trevor Richards also allowed only an unearned run over seven innings on four hits and struck out nine.
Lake Erie fired the first shot, scoring in the bottom of the first inning. Connor Oliver started the inning with a single through the left side of the infield, and Parks Jordan followed with a base hit to left. An error by Cody Livesay in left allowed Oliver to reach third, and he scored moments later on Jose Barraza's RBI groundout.
Gateway tied the game in the top of the fourth, capitalizing on an error as well. Logan Davis and Craig Massoni stroked back-to-back singles, bringing Ben Waldrip to the plate with runners on first and second with one out. Waldrip then hit a ground ball to first, which was booted by William Beckwith, and the error allowed Davis to score.
The Grizzlies took the lead in the in the top of the ninth. Davis reached on a dropped third strike before stealing second base. Massoni then singled to center, putting Davis on third, and Davis came home moments later on Waldrip's sacrifice fly.
In the bottom of the ninth, Beckwith was hit by a 2-2 pitch, bringing Juan Avila to the plate. Avila fell behind early, 0-2, before fouling off a pitch, and then smashed his fifth homer of the season, with a walk off two-run homer to left.
Mike Devine (3-1) struck out two batters on six pitches in the top of the ninth to score the victory, while Ja'Vaun West (0-1) took the loss.
Avila's homer extended his hitting streak to six games, while Oliver went 1-for-3, extending his hitting streak to nine games in the process. Max Casper went 1-for-3 as well, and has now hit safely in nine out of his last 10 games.
The Crushers will continue their three-game series with the Gateway Grizzlies at All Pro Freight Stadium on Wednesday night. Right-hander Jordan Kraus (0-0, 0.00) will start for the Crushers and the Grizzlies will go with right-hander Will Landsheft (1-1, 4.24). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.