Pesky Florence bats overpower Crushers explosive rally
FLORENCE, Kentucky – The opener between the Lake Erie Crushers and Florence Y’alls had everything you could find in a ballgame. A pitcher’s duel transpired through the first half of the contest, while the later innings turned into a hitter’s paradise.
Kansas native Hayden Wheeler went the first 4 2/3 innings against the Crushers. He allowed one run on three hits, and he let up three walks while striking out just one batter.
Steve Passatempo launched his second home run of the season in consecutive games on a moon shot to straightaway center in the top of the fifth to provide the game’s first run.
Paul Hall Jr. squandered a quality shutout performance in the bottom of the sixth after he committed a throwing error to Passatempo, covering the first base bag resulting in a run for Florence. That error altered the momentum of the ballgame in favor of the hometown Kentucky team. After the game was tied at 1-1, Taylor Bryant gave the Y’alls their first advantage of the night on an RBI bloop single to right field. Trevor Craport was the man to score on Bryant’s base hit. Starting first baseman for Florence, Axel Johnson obliterated a three-run bomb over the fence as he was the first batter to face right-handed reliever Taylor Sugg. The score was 5-1 in favor of the Y’alls after six.
Hall Jr.’s line was completed after the home run. Four unearned runs on four hits sided 5 2/3 innings of work with five strikeouts and three free passes.
Javier Betancourt scored on an error by Craport, the catcher, in the top of the seventh inning of play.
Fresh off the seventh inning stretch, Florence tacked on another run. Luis Pintor skied a sacrifice fly to a charging Shawon Dunston Jr. in center field.
The top of the eighth treated Lake Erie kindly. The Crushers trailed 6-2 entering the inning, and when they were finished at the plate, the score was even. Bryan DeLaRosa lined one into center field to score Trevor Achenbach. Isaac Benard was next to cross home on a Brody Wofford base hit. After substituting in for Passatempo, Zack Gray hit a ball into left field that hopped over the head of Joe Lytle. Lake Erie scored all four runs with no outs in the inning. Gray reached third on his whacky hit but never touched home plate to score the go-ahead run.
J.T. Perez entered the battle in the bottom of the eighth. The Crushers’ best reliever had his worst outing of the season. He allowed three runs (all earned) in the inning. Former Crusher Johnny Knight came up with a clutch two-out base knock that set the stage for a couple of RBI singles.
The Crushers were put down in order in the ninth and fell in the end 9-6 to Florence.
Perez was dealt his first loss of the season in his effort Tuesday night. Jared Cheek secured the victory to move to 5-3 overall this year. Andrew McDonald was awarded his third save of the 2021 campaign for shutting down Lake Erie in the final inning of play.
Seven of the 15 runs scored in the game were unearned.
Lake Erie beholds a record of 19-17 following the result of Tuesday.
A Schaumburg defeat against the Windy City Thunderbolts preserved the tie at the head of the division between the Boomers and Crushers.
The middle game of the series will take place at 6:30 pm EST on Wednesday.