Crushers even hard-fought series; claim division lead
FLORENCE, Kentucky – The Lake Erie Crushers entered Wednesday night with unfinished business against the Florence Y’alls after falling apart late in the opening game. The Crushers turned to Tyson Cronin in the middle game.
Florence wasted no time asserting themselves on the scoreboard. Luis Pintor hit a solo shot to left field off Cronin to open the scoring. Two batters later, with the bases empty, Trevor Craport went yard to send the advantage to 2-0.
In the bottom of the second, Karl Ellison gunned out two baserunners attempting to steal second. The tandem of Ellison and Bryan DeLaRosa has thrown out 48% of attempted base stealers, the best percentage in the Frontier League.
Lake Erie answered the call offensively in the third inning. Trevor Achenbach would score himself and Isaac Benard. Two errors on Florence’s behalf allowed Achenbach to touch all the bases on a play where the baseball never left the infield. That two-run play tied the contest up 2-2 after the beginning three innings.
A monstrous fourth inning from the Crushers offense saw ten at-bats by men wearing purple. A two-out RBI base knock from Columbus native Eric Callahan extended the frame and ignited the fire that was to come in the fourth. A walk to Steven Kraft loaded the bases for one of the Crushers best hitters in Benard. The fifth pitch of his plate appearance would be a grand slam to right field. It was Benard’s second homer of the season and the Crushers second grand slam of the 2021 campaign. Lake Erie entertained a 7-2 lead after 3 ½ innings.
A double off the center-field wall by Chad Sedio with two men down in the bottom of the fifth pulled Florence a run closer. A gapper into left-center field allowed Sedio to score off the lumber of Trevor Craport. The Y’alls began to claw back into the game as they trailed by three runs following the first five innings.
Cronin recorded his first victory of the season. He allowed four runs on eight hits with a couple of strikeouts and walks. The loss was etched in the column next to Edgar Martinez’s name. Martinez is now 4-2 after lasting 3 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits on the night.
Make it three consecutive games with a Steve Passatempo dinger. He sent a no-doubter out in the top of the seventh inning to extend the Lake Erie lead to 8-4.
The Y’alls again used the seventh-inning stretch to get their stride going offensively. A two-run jack by Joe Lytle snipped the deficit to two runs for Florence.
The score remained 8-6 in favor of the Avon talent. The Crushers turned to Daniel Kight to register the save. Besides allowing a one-out double, Kight shut the door and squashed any hope the Y’alls had.
The victory gives the Crushers (20-17) sole possession of first place in the Central Division following a Schaumburg loss against Windy City.
The rubber match between the Crushers and Y’alls will get underway Thursday evening at 6:30 pm EST in Florence.