The Crushers’ Tuesday night opponent was Normal. The first at-bat in the top of the ninth was anything but. CornBelters shortstop Patrick McKenna hit a routine fly ball to straight-away center, but Kevin Berard couldn’t find it and threw his arms up in disbelief as it landed well behind him, all the way back at the warning track. Despite this bizarre happening, the Crushers were able to hold on to win 4-3, as Dale Dickerson struck out the final two batters to earn his third save.
The Crushers continue to get men on base, still second in the league in hitting with a .280 batting average coming into Thursday night’s game against Evansville. The problem has been getting runs across the plate. The Crushers outhit their opponent, accumulating 11 base hits verses the Otters' eight, but ultimately lost 3-2 after wasting away late scoring opportunities.
Ricardo Lizcano delivered a special birthday present to his mother today, as his home run to lead off the fifth started a four-run rally that gave the Crushers the lead for good. It was his first home run of the year. Trailing 3-2 in the fifth, Lizcano’s solo home run tied the game and Andrew Davis’ three run shot to left gave the Crushers (10-13) the lead in a game they would go on to win 8-4 over Evansville (15-7).
Home plate umpire Pete Peederson frantically waved off the run at the end of the fifth inning. Leadoff man Kevin Berard lined a single to center which would have scored Juan Sanchez, but Seth Granger was thrown out trying to advance from first to third before Sanchez could touch the plate. It was that kind of night for the Crushers (9-13), who failed to cash in on scoring opportunities against Otters' starter Bryce Morrow. They managed just two runs on 13 hits as they dropped the series opener to Evansville (15-6) by a score of 9-2.
The Crushers managed another .500 week after dropping their first two games in Traverse City. From the sixth through the eighth they recorded a season high win streak of three, counting their final game in Traverse City and their first two in Washington. They are now 9-12, still in last place in the East Division. Kyle Ferrara details that week that was for the Crushers...
Crushers manager Jeff Isom got exactly what he asked for following the team’s fourth consecutive loss on Wednesday night. For his team to get back to winning, he said they needed their starting pitcher to keep them in the game and their offense to score first. The team answered the call on Thursday, beating Traverse City 5-2 to improve to 7-11. Traverse City falls to 10-8 with the loss.
When Traverse City shortstop Taylor Wrenn smashed a home run in the bottom of the fourth inning, the game was over. A solo home run from the Traverse City shortstop combined with a five-hit, complete game shutout from Jake Sabel led to a 1-0 Crushers loss and extended the team’s losing streak to four games.
After struggling to the tune of a 3-6 start to the season, the Crushers managed a .500 week, taking two of three from Florence and one of three from Joliet over the weekend. The team is now 6-9 on the season, but is still trying to find a level of consistency. The IBI's Kyle Ferrara shares the details in his weekly Crushers notebook.
Just two days ago, manager Jeff Isom critiqued that hitters on his team were trying too hard to hit that a four-run home run when they should just take what they’re given. Today, Freedom starter Brandon Mathes gave left fielder Kevin Berard a pitch in his wheel house, and Berard turned it into one of those four-run home runs previously mentioned. With two outs in the fourth inning, he hit a laser shot over the left field wall, capping a five run inning for the Crushers in which they took a 6-3 lead and never looked back.
Apparently, the Lake Erie Crusher hitters are morning people. After struggling to hit with men in scoring position for the first 10 games of the season, the Crushers (4-7) finally woke up as they pounded out 11 runs on 19 hits in their 11-7 victory over the Florence Freedom (6-5).
Much to the delight of the kids sitting on the hill in left field, Freedom shortstop Junior Arrojo led off the sixth with a solo home run to left field. In hot pursuit, one young boy appeared to be hit by the Florence lead off man’s shot; the Crushers felt his pain the rest of the night.
Two days ago, designated hitter Anderson Hidalgo was on the suspended list for the Crushers. Thursday night, he drove in what was ultimately the game winning run with a bases-loaded single with nobody out in the top of the fourth inning as the Crushers (3-3) went on to beat the Miners (3-3) by a score of 3-1.
Both teams fought until the very end, and even then, manager Jeff Isom kept fighting. First baseman Russell Moldenhauer was originally called safe by the first base umpire on an infield single, but after a chit chat with Miners manager Mike Pinto and a conference with the rest of the crew, he changed the call. Moldenhauer was out and the game was over. The Crushers fell to the Southern Illinois Miners 7-6 in seven innings in game one of Wednesday’s doubleheader. The Crushers were able to win game two 6-3, salvaging a split on the night.
The Crushers are ready to start the regular season after two weeks of spring training. They will be taking on the Gateway Grizzlies in the home opener tonight, and will be doing so with an almost entirely different roster. Just as with any offseason in the Frontier League, the Crushers’ roster faced a lot of turnover as only seven of the ten players in camp from last season made the final roster. The IBI's Kyle Ferrara previews the 2013 version of the Lake Erie Crushers...
Avon, OH is just a 30 minute drive down I-90 west from downtown Cleveland, but the Frontier League is just about as far away as a player can be from Major League Baseball while still playing the game professionally. The IBI's Kyle Ferrara has the story on how the Crushers players hope for a chance to get into affiliated ball.
There are two groups of players that find themselves in the Frontier League, those who were undrafted coming out of college looking for their first opportunity with affiliated baseball, and those who have been cut from a major league affiliate like Sanchez. Both groups have the same desire and dedication to making it to the big leagues.
The 2013 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider book featuring the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is now available. Also, previous editions from 2008-2012 are also available at a discounted rate. Just click on the book image for more information. Thanks again for all the support!