Crushers Sweep Windy City
Lake Erie comes from behind to win in their final at bat
AVON, Ohio — The Lake Erie Crushers overcame a four run deficit for the second time in their series with Windy City Thunderbolts at Mercy Health Stadium on Thursday night, as they swept the Thunderbolts with an 8-7 win in 10 innings.
Lake Erie (45-42) has now won six straight games at home while the loss for Windy City (31-55) was their seventh on their nine game road trip. Lake Erie is still 3.5 games out of the final wild card spot with nine games to play.
Najee Gaskins provided the heroics for Lake Erie, as he delivered a walk off RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning to score Kenen Irizarry.
The Crushers fired the first shot for the second night in a row. After spoiling a bases loaded threat with one out in the first, Lake Erie plated the game’s first run in the bottom of the second. Austin White started the inning with a single to center. Gaskins moved him to second on a sacrifice bunt before White stole third and he scored on a sacrifice fly from Casey Combs.
Jay Alvarez retired the first six batters he faced and tossed three scoreless innings before Windy City got on the board in the top of the fourth. Jake Boone reached on a one out single and stole second base before scoring on Peyton Isaacson’s RBI single to left.
Lake Erie regained the lead the bottom of the fifth. Combs began the inning with a single to left and scored all the way from first on Sean Cheely’s RBI double off the wall in center to give the Crushers a 2-1 advantage.
Windy City then put up a five run sixth inning to take the lead. Boone reached on an infield single and Jairus Richards reached on Connor Owings’s error at third. Isaacson struck again for the T-Bolts with a two run double to give them the lead. Jonathan Nieves belted a run scoring single later in the inning and Kole Kaler smashed a two run double to bring in the final two runs of the frame.
The Crushers responded with a solo homer from DJ Stewart in the bottom of the sixth inning, his second of the year with the Crushers. Lake Erie added two more in the bottom of the seventh to pull within a run (6-5). Combs began the inning with a double and scored on a RBI single from Owings. Cheely reached on a one out single, advanced to second on the aforementioned single from Owings before stealing third and scoring on an errant throw from the catcher Matt Morgan.
Windy City had the bases loaded with nobody out in the eighth inning, but could only squeeze one run out of the threat. Isaacson led the inning off with a single before Morgan walked and Nieves singled to center to load the bases. Elliot Carney struck out Jalen Greer before he was replaced by Sam Curtis. Kaler delivered a sacrifice fly that scored Isaacson before Curtis struck out Dan Robinson to end the inning.
Lake Erie was down to their final out in the bottom of the ninth inning when Owings belted a single to right. Layne Schnitz-Paxton (3-6) then hit Kemuel Thomas-Rivera with a pitch and did the same to Jackson Valera to load the bases. Kenen Irizarry then smashed a double to the gap in left center which scored Owings and Thomas-Rivera to tie the game, but Valera was thrown out at home plate to send the game into extras.
After Alexis Rivero (2-1) worked a scoreless top half of the inning, Irizarry started the bottom of the 10th on second base. Stewart moved Irizarry to third on a sacrifice bunt and Gaskins drove him home with the game winning RBI single up the middle.
Rivero picked up the win for the Crushers, while Schnitz-Paxton took the loss.
Six Crushers hit safely multiple times. Owings led the way, going 3-for-5 on the night to finish what was an incredible series for him at the plate where he went 9-for-15 with five runs scored and five RBI. Thomas-Rivera, Irizarry, Stewart, Combs and Cheely all turned in two hit games.
The Crushers will continue their final homestand of the season at Mercy Health Stadium on Friday night as they begin a three game series with the Washington Wild Things. Lefty