June 16, 2023
POMONA, NY – The Lake Erie Crushers were winners in Game 1 of a three-game-set versus the New York Boulders taking the contest by a score of 9-6. The Crushers (15-16) rallied late and battled from behind to beat the Boulders (17-13) in what was an impressive hitting display.
The Crushers fell behind early after a run came across to score in the bottom of the first for the Boulders, but the Grapes came right back.
Sean Cheely stepped to the dish and delivered a knock that drove home two to give Lake Erie their first lead of the night. Todd Isaacs Jr. came to the dish later in the second inning and roped a two-out double that one-hopped the center field wall to score Cheely.
The 3-1 lead was short-lived though. In the bottom of the third inning, the Boulders led off with a single before Pat Kivlehan launched a two-run blast over the left field wall to tie the game. Thomas Walraven then doubled and was later scored on a sacrifice fly to take the lead.
The Crushers tied the game in the fourth inning when Sean Lawlor hit his first homer in a grape uniform this season. It was a missile that came with two away and the solo blast squared the duel at four a piece. But in the bottom of the frame, the Boulders retook the lead after David Vinsky scored on a wild pitch.
In the fifth inning, the Rocks got one more run after Kivlehan scored on an error from the catcher Mike Blanke. New York held the lead for multiple innings afterward and things were looking bleak for the Crushers.
But, the good guys had some more fight in them. They put together a rally in the eighth inning, and after having the bases loaded with two outs, Isaacs Jr. hit a single up the middle to score two runs and tie the game at six.
In the top of the ninth inning, Kemuel Thomas-Rivera led off with a walk followed by a Jack Harris single. After John Tuccillo, who subbed in for Blanke in the fifth inning, walked to juice the bases full, Santiago Chirino, who came in as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning, hit a ground ball to Walraven at third.
His throw home went in the dirt and all the way to the backstop on what was a really difficult play that not only allowed Thomas-Rivera to score but also Harris. It was a fielder’s choice RBI for Chirino with a throwing error for Walraven, and that was all Lake Erie needed.
Tuccillo also came in to score on another fielder’s choice RBI for insurance from Cheely, and just like that it was a 9-6 ballgame.
Sam Curtis came on to slam the door in the ninth inning. He allowed a pair of base hits but got the job done and picked up his fifth save of the year as he slammed the door on the Boulders without allowing a run, securing the win.
There were four Crushers to have a multi-hit game tonight, as the team totaled a dozen. Cheely and Isaacs Jr. each had three RBIs a piece, and the combined efforts of all 11 guys who saw an at-bat tonight were able to come back and lift themselves against the Boulders on a night that ended a two-game slide for the Grapes.
Thomas Bruss picked up the win, his first as a Crushers after throwing a scoreless inning in the eighth before Lake Erie would take the lead in the top of the ninth inning and seal the deal.
The Lake Erie Crushers will again battle with the New York Boulders tomorrow night with a 7:00 PM ET first pitch.