May 15, 2024

Scout Knotts Slams Door Shut on Joliet with 8th Inning Grand Slam

Avon, Ohio – The Lake Erie Crushers played host to the Joliet Slammers to start the second series of the season, coming out on top, 11-5.

The Slammers got on the board first, manufacturing a run with LF Broc Mortensen walking, stealing second, then advancing to third before an RBI groundout from DH Jake Marti broke the deadlock in the top of the 2nd inning. 1B Matthew Warkentin would make his print on the game an inning later, launching a 2-run homer way over the wall in left field, putting Joliet up, 3-0. Warkentin’s long ball was his third of the young season, putting him in a tie for the league lead with Washington’s Andrew Czech.

The Crushers, just as they did in the opening series against Gateway, started chipping away at the Joliet lead in the 3rd. C Alfredo Gonzalez would get Lake Erie on the board with a sacrifice fly, scoring 2B Ethan Skender (who would score four runs in the game). 3B Walner Espinal would log a sacrifice fly of his own in the 4th to make the score 3-2, still in favor of Joliet.

The Slammers pushed the lead back to two runs in the top of the 5th after the leadoff hitter, CF Liam McArthur, doubled into right field before a Warkentin RBI single into left field, giving him his third RBI of the game and the Slammers a 4-2 lead.

Crushers DH Vincent Byrd Jr would get in on the sacrifice fly party with one of his own in the bottom of the 5th to get the Crushers back within a run once more. Each game of the Crushers’ three game win streak they’ve come from behind.

However, the Crushers weren’t done adding to their run total.

RF Jack Harris launched a game-tying solo home run (his first of the season) out to left to lead off the bottom of the 6th, and even that wasn’t the end of Lake Erie’s offense against the Joliet reliever, LHP John Lundgren.

1B Scout Knotts marked a 2 RBI single into center field to score CF Sean Cheely and SS Jarrod Watkins, giving the Crushers the lead for the first time in the game. Byrd Jr. would log his second sacrifice fly of the inning to put the cherry on top of a four-run bottom of the 6th, the score now 7-4, Lake Erie.

Slammers 2B Victor Nova got one of those runs back on a sacrifice fly in the top of the 7th, but with the score 7-5 Crushers heading into the bottom of the 8th, the floodgates were still yet to open for Lake Erie.

Scout Knotts, sitting on 2 RBI coming into his second straight at bat with the bases loaded, decided to slam the door on Joliet, hitting a moonshot grand slam[mer] off RHP Nico O’Donnell, sending home Skender, Cheely, Espinal and himself. The 11-5 score would hold to finish the game.

A 6 RBI day for the 6’6” Crushers 1B puts him in the solo lead of team RBI (8), slashing a whopping .455/.667/.727 in four games to begin the 2024 season.

Crushers reliever, RHP Enrique Ozoa (1-0), got the win, allowing 1 ER on 2 BB in 1+ IP. Joliet’s John Lundgren (1-1) would suffer the loss, giving up 4 R (3 ER) on 4 H in 2.0 IP.

The win moves the Crushers to 3-1 on the season, while the Slammers notch down to 2-2. The two teams will return to Crushers Stadium on Wednesday. First pitch is set for 11:05 a.m. EST. Lake Erie’s Matt Valin will oppose Joliet’s Zac Westcott.

–        Cade Cracas and Zane Bloom

Crushers Gameday Program

See the program from home or on your phone at the game!