Sep 04, 2023

Crushers drop season finale

September 3, 2023

Box Score:

Record-setting lows in Crushers loss to finalize season

Sauget, IL – The Lake Erie Crushers have set a new all-time record for the fewest wins in a season after falling to the Gateway Grizzlies on Sunday at Grizzlies Ballpark 8-4 in the final game of the 2023 campaign.

The previous low for wins in a season was set by the 2015 Crushers, who tallied a record of 38-47. The Crushers (37-59) were bested by the Grizzlies (59-37) two games to three in their final meeting of the year. Gateway is heading for the playoffs with the No. 1 seed and has earned the first-round bye.

Lake Erie jumped on the board with a two-spot in the opening frame. Todd Isaacs Jr. led off with a single, then stole second base. Jiandido Tromp followed by knocking in Isaacs Jr. with a base hit. Later in the inning, after Jack Harris pinch ran for Tromp and was moved to third on a double from Kenen Irizarry, he scored on a fielder’s choice RBI from Josh Rego. 

Gateway struck back in the third frame with a trio of runs. Mark Vierling blasted a mammoth shot over the wall which plated all three men of the inning giving the Grizzlies a 3-2 advantage.

Another run was added to the home totals in the fifth inning before Lake Erie scored their final runs of the season in the top of the sixth. Harris singled and Rego walked, which preceded a Jarrod Watkins base hit to load up the bases. Sean Cheely doubled into the gap which scored a pair and tied the game at four apiece.

The deadlock didn’t last long, and in the bottom of the frame, the Grizzlies tacked on four more to blow the game open. The bulk of the damage was done on a three-run Andrew Penner bomb, and the Crushers could not come back from the deficit.

The club accumulated just one more base runner on a Watkins single, but aside from the small moment of success, the offense went down quietly.

Brian Eichhorn slammed the door in the ninth inning. Zac Treece (3-0) picked up the win after relieving the starter Parker Johnson in the sixth inning. Treece threw for 0.2 frames and struck out one.

The loss was handed to Shane Gustafson (0-1) who gave up the lead during his second inning of work. His final line was 1.1 innings allowing three to score on a handful of knocks. Irizarry made his second appearance of the year, as a position player, on the mound in the eighth inning. He tossed a one-two-three inning. 

Watkins had the only multi-hit game of the night, and Cheely put together the lone multi-RBI performance.

The season is over — Lake Erie will have to sit on what has been a disappointing season until next summer rolls around to try and turn the tides. The club finished 14-31 while playing on the road. They ended the season losing their last seven of nine games. 

The offense was held to three runs or less on 48 different occasions, averaging 3.94 runs per game. Lake Erie finished last in the league in runs, hits, RBIs, average and slugging percentage.

The pitching staff for Lake Erie finished seventh in ERA at 4.67, and fifth in most walks and fewest strikeouts. The club gave up an average of 5.39 runs and 8.52 hits per game in 835.1 innings of work.

There were positives throughout the season for the Crushers. They began the year winning six out of nine in a three-series home stand. JD Hammer had his contract picked up by the Los Angeles Angels Triple-A affiliate, the Salt Lake Bees. Darrien Ragins and Watkins were dubbed as All-Stars and performed at the mid-summer classic in Windy City. Matt Mulhearn and Harris will also be back next year as viable players after signing an extension with the team this summer. 

The long wait for more Crushers baseball starts now. Lake Erie will be back in action next May.

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