Crushers drop game one of playoffs, 8-0
After winning the team's first division title in team history, the Lake Erie Crushers came out flat against the Traverse City Beach Bums by dropping game one of the playoffs 8-0 Saturday night in Avon.
Struggling to get the key hits needed in a big series, manager Jeff Isom said his team needs to refocus for the shortened season.
"We had opportunities and we didn't take advantage," Isom said. "I thought against [Scott] Dunn we had him against the ropes a couple of times, but we couldn't get anything off of him. We've got to come up with that key hit"
Starter Dave Middendorf didn't have the start that he was capable of having after a successful regular season campaign. One big event worked against Middendorf as early in the ball game he took a line drive to his forearm and would later be removed from the ball game.
As most high-meaning games go, the momentum was crucial for each team, though it seemed the Crushers lost out on it too early. In the second inning, Lake Erie had men on second and third with one out, but it was the Frontier Leagues' winningest pitcher in the regular season who worked his magic to leave the inning unscathed.
"That's a momentum thing right there," Isom said. "The momentum is hanging out there. We're down 1-0 and all of a sudden we don't take advantage of the situation. They started to get momentum at that point and just continued it all game long. We couldn't get it away from them."
While the Crushers bats were calmed, it was the pitching that had been so excellent in the second half of the season that let the team down. There was no big run inning for the Beach Bums, but allowing runs in every inning but four really set back the team's chances.
Ace of the bullpen Mickey Jannis even struggled in his 2.2 innings of work by letting in a pair of runs in the seventh after.
Jannis had an uneasy couple innings of work as in the sixth, the veteran loaded the bases in the sixth with no outs, then worked out of his jam to allow no runs to cross.
Offensively, the Crushers had a nice performance from Anderson Hidalgo. Hidalgo, who was a huge bat for the team all season long, finished his day 3-for-4 and was one of two hitters with multi hit games.
Short stop Juan Sanchez also chipped in two singles on the night.
They’ve got to come out there and get ahead of hitters,” Isom said. “We had a few walks there and worked behind counts and we gave up a couple of two-hit innings. We’ve just got to refocus and get it back where it needs to be."
Lake Erie and Traverse City will meet for game two of the best of five series tonight at All Pro Freight Stadium.