Jul 07, 2024

Crushers Win Barnburner in New Jersey for their 5th Straight

Paterson, NJ – The Lake Erie Crushers (33-17) outlasted the New Jersey Jackals (13-36) on Saturday, winning by a score of 11-7. They remain in 1st place in the Frontier League West with the win.

LF Ronald Washington stayed red hot in the opening frame for Lake Erie. With two outs he lined a single into left field to drive in SS Jarrod Watkins for the game’s opening run.

The Crushers would keep the pressure on in the 2nd, putting up a crooked number thanks to a 2 RBI single by 2B Logan Thomason.  The Crushers led 3-0, but New Jersey would push back in the bottom half.

After back-to-back singles off Lake Erie starter, RHP Pedro Echemendia, 3B Ryan Ford launched a 3-run homer to tie the game at three.

Lake Erie would retake the lead in the 4th on a Logan Thomason sacrifice fly. Thomason continues to drive in runs at an astounding rate. He now has 10 RBI in his last 8 games. Then, DH Jack Harris singled in another run to extend the lead just before the big blow. 1B Vincent Byrd Jr. hit his 9th home run of the season to put a cherry on top of a four run inning for Lake Erie, resulting in a 7-3 lead.

The Jackals stayed feisty in the bottom half. 1B Robb Paller led off the inning with a home run to cut the Lake Erie lead to 7-4. His blast jump started the Jackals offense as Ford would reach and steal second base before SS Kevin Rolon would bring him in with an RBI single. LF Trent Taylor doubled high off the wall in right field, but Rolon would get the stop sign at third base with just one out.

With the tying run on 2nd, Echemendia got CF Bryson Parks to ground a ball  to 3rd base. 3B Michel Triana threw home to get Rolon for the second out of the inning. The great play by Triana set up Echemendia to get out of the inning with a strikeout. Lake Erie escaped a sticky situation with a 7-5 lead intact.

In the 5th, Lake Erie would get one of those runs back thanks to a miscue by the Jackals’ defense. With Michel Triana on 2nd and one out, RF Sam Franco grounded a ball to the shortstop, Kevin Rolon, who elected to try to get Triana going to third. His throw was late, and the Jackals failed to get the second out on a routine ground ball. CF Burle Dixon would bring in Triana with a groundout, so the 8-5 Lake Erie lead was due in part to New Jersey’s defensive lapse.

Pedro Echemendia was able to pitch through the 5th inning while limiting the damage. Echemendia eating innings (despite giving up the homers) was a huge lift for the Crushers, who led when he exited the game. His final line: 5 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 8 K on 96 pitches.

The 6th inning proved no rest for the weary for the Jackals’ pitching staff. Ronald Washington started a 2-out rally with a single, then stole second. C John Tuccillo drove him in with a double and the Crushers continued to put up runs, 9-5.

RHP Leonardo Rodriguez relieved Echemendia in the 6th, but he did not have sharp control. He gave up a deep sacrifice fly to 2B Nilo Rijo, which gave the Jackals another run. Rodriguez issued four walks in the inning and left with the bases loaded with the go-ahead run at the plate for New Jersey.

RHP Christian Scafidi was called upon to keep Lake Erie’s 9-6 lead, and he did so. The All-Star reliever induced a weak popup to Logan Thomason to end the inning and strand the bases loaded.

Jack Harris plated the 10th run of the game for Lake Erie with an RBI single in the 7th to score Jarrod Watkins. Watkins scored for the third time in the ballgame. He now has 29 runs scored on the season – a great mark for the Crushers’ leadoff man.

Ronald Washington then laced his third hit of the ballgame to drive in the 11th run for Lake Erie. Washington is now 19 for his last 39 at-bats (.487). Lake Erie matched their season high run total in the 7th, leading 11-6.

LHP Garrett Coe would come in for the 8th inning for Lake Erie on the mound. The Jackals would manage to load the bases with a pair of infield singles and a walk to create a scoring threat against Coe. The former UCONN Husky would buckle down and retire the next two batters without allowing a run to score.

LHP Kenny Pierson came on to put the clamp on the Jackals in the 9th. New Jersey would manage a run off Pierson before loading the bases with the tying run at the plate with just one out. Jared Lemieux would go to the bullpen for his closer, the All-Star RHP Trevor Kuncl.

Kuncl got out number two with an infield fly. It would come down to RF John Daly needing to extend the game for the Jackals. On an 0-2 pitch, Kuncl got Daly to ground out to shortstop, and the Crushers squeaked by with the 11-7 win.

Pedro Echemendia (1-1) would log his first win as a Crusher for his five inning effort. Jackals starter, Edgar Rodriguez would be handed the loss. Trevor Kuncl (13) came in for an abbreviated save opportunity, getting the final two outs in the 9th.

Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Lake Erie Crushers 1 2 0 4 1 1 2 0 0 11 11 1
New Jersey Jackals 0 3 0 2 0 1 0 0 1 7 12 1


The Crushers have one more game against the Jackals on Sunday, July 7th at 4:35pm EST before continuing the New Jersey Circuit against the Sussex County Miners on Tuesday.

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