Lake Erie defeats Joliet, 2-1
Joliet, Ill. – The Crushers (42-42) came into the series not being able to afford a series loss with the ground they have to make up for to make the playoffs. On Sunday, Lake Erie’s playoff odds could have gone from slim to none with being swept by the Slammers. The Slammers (44-39) entered the series final as one of the hottest teams in the league as well as a team fighting for that third final playoff spot.
All three games, including todays, included strong starting pitching from the winning team. That was the case once more with Lake Erie starter Joseph Sgambelluri having one of his best starts of the year. It was a close battle between both teams but the Crushers took the lead in the ninth to avoid the sweep with a 2-1 win.
It was a scoreless game until the bottom of the fifth. The Slammers were the first team on the board. Phillip Steering lined an RBI single to left field.
Lake Erie responded with a run to tie the game in the sixth inning. First baseman Jackson Valera provided a clutch RBI single to left field.
The pitching in the series has been a positive outlook for both teams. That theme continued in Sunday’s contest. The Lake Erie starter Joseph Sgambelluri threw a gem in the win. He lasted eight innings, allowed one run on four hits, walked two and struck out four. For the Slammers, Alec Thomas received the start. Although Thomas was outdueled, he had a strong performance. Thomas threw seven innings, allowed one run on six hits, walked zero, and struck out seven.
The game was tied 1-1 going into the ninth inning. The Crushers strung two consecutive singles and Austin White followed with an RBI fielder’s choice to give Lake Erie the lead. Alexis Rivero for Lake Erie was called out in the ninth to record the save. The closer threw a scoreless ninth inning for his 16th save which ranks in the top five of the Frontier League and helped Lake Erie avoid the sweep in the 2-1 win.
The Crushers return to action Tuesday, August 23rd for their final homestand of the season. It’ll be the start of a six game stretch with three against the Windy City Thunderbolts to begin the week. The first game is slated for 6:35 PM ET.