AVON, Ohio — The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy Health, saw their season come to an end on Friday night, as they were swept by the Florence Freedom in a best of five series, falling 1-0 to the Freedom at Sprenger Healthcare Stadium.
The loss for the Crushers was their sixth straight post season loss, dating back to 2013. The Freedom punched their ticket to the Frontier League Championship series with the victory.
Lake Erie’s offense was relatively quiet throughout the night, as they were held to just a trio of hits. Two of those hits were two out doubles in the first two innings from Steven Kraft and Bryan DeLaRosa.
In the bottom of the first inning, it looked like the Crushers were going to take an early lead. With runners on first and second and two out, Emmanuel Marrero hit a rocket to the gap in right center field, which appeared as though it would go for extra bases. However, Florence right fielder Brandon Pugh made a terrific diving catch to end the inning.
Florence stranded eight base runners through the first seven innings of the contest, as Lake Erie pitchers continued to work out of trouble time and time again. In the eighth inning, Andre Mercurio walked with one out, then made his way to third on Isaac Benard’s double to left center. Ryan Rinksy then hit a soft chopper down to third, which resulted in an RBI groundout to plate the game’s only run.
Zak Spivy (1-0) tossed seven scoreless innings of two hit ball and struck out three to pick up the win. Jared Cheek (1) worked two scoreless innings in relief and scored the save. Dylan Mouzakes started the game for the Crushers and allowed no runs on four hits over 3.1 innings of action. Kent Hasler worked the next 2.2 innings of action and struck out five while allowing only four hits. Augie Gallardo fanned all four batters he faced, and Dalton Geekie (0-1) took the loss after allowing a run on two hits over 1.2 innings of work.
The contest ended the 2019 season for the Crushers, which marked their first post season appearance in five years. They will return to Frontier League action in May of 2020.