Crushers Fall in Sudden Death
Lake Erie Drops 2-1 sudden death decision to Gateway
AVON, Ohio — The Lake Erie Crushers fell in their first sudden death contest of the season at Mercy Health Stadium on Saturday evening, dropping a 2-1 decision to the Gateway Grizzlies.
The loss for the Crushers (22-28) snapped a season best, five game winning streak, while the victory for the Grizzlies (26-25) was their fourth in their last five games.
Pitching was terrific for both teams all night long. Joseph Sgambelluri turned in one of his best starts of the season, allowing just a run on four hits while fanning five over seven innings for the Crushers. J.P. Williams delivered a great start for the Grizzlies as well, tossing seven scoreless innings, allowing six hits and struck out three.
The Crushers had many chances to score throughout the night, but stranded 11 base runners.
Gateway plated their first run in the top of the fifth inning. Trevor Achenbach and Jay Prather singled to start the inning and Clint Freeman was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Jackson Pritchard then bounced into a 6-4-3 double play which allowed Achenbach to score.
Lake Erie tied the game in the bottom of the eighth inning. On a night with a steady breeze blowing in, Jackson Valera belted a solo homer to left, his sixth of the season to tie the game at 1-1.
The two teams were tied at the end of 10 innings, forcing the Frontier League’s new Sudden Death Rule into play. Lake Erie manager Cam Roth made the decision to play defense in the Sudden Death situation. With a runner on first to start the inning, Cam Touchette walked before Abdiel Diaz laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance both base runners. Andrew Penner followed with a RBI single to right field to end the game.
John Murphy (1-2) picked up the win, tossing two terrific innings in relief for the Grizzlies, where he kept the Crushers off the board. Sam Curtis (2-2) took the loss after allowing the run in sudden death.
Valera, Kemuel Thomas-Rivera and Austin White led the Lake Erie offense with two hits each. Connor Owings extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a single in the bottom of the eighth. Thomas-Rivera’s two hit performance extended his hitting streak to seven games and White extended his on base streak to nine games.
The Crushers will finish their three game series with the Gateway Grizzlies at Mercy Health Stadium on Sunday evening. Right-hander Julio Vivas (1-6, 5.43) will start for the Crushers and the first pitch is scheduled for 5:35 PM.