Crushers fall just short of sweep, lose 3-2 to Greys
Lake Erie fell a few feet short of a four game sweep of the Frontier Greys Sunday in Avon falling 3-2 in a defensive battle.
All star Dave Middendorf just didn't have it in him as he made one crucial mistake in his four innings of work on the mound. In the fourth, Middendorf walked the first two batters of the inning before leaving a pitch over the heart of the plate for the Greys' all star cleanup hitter Balbino Fuenmayor who made Middendorf pay.
"Today was a case where we played very good defense, but the way they scored their three runs, we couldn't defend it," manager Jeff Isom said. "They got us on that one."
The Crushers did fight back and in the sixth got a pair of runs on a heads up move by Daniel Bowman to score on an error.
With Bowman on second and Max Casper on third, Andrew Davis sent a dribbler down the first base line that stayed just fair. Fuenmayor couldn't field the ball cleanly and by the time he tracked down the ball, Bowman had rounded third and scored.
"You put the ball in play and anything can happen," Isom said. "I give all the credit in the world to Bowman who was at second base and gave us that second run. I was caught up watching that ground ball and seeing what was happening, next thing I knew, Bowman came running by me."
"To his credit, he busted his butt to get to the plate and we got our two runs, we had our opportunity late in the game and couldn't make anything of it."
In the bottom of the ninth, for a brief moment, it looked like the Crushers were going to push this one to extras on a long fly ball by catcher Emanuel Quiles. Quiles spanked a ball to deep left-center field that had the appearance of a heroic game tying home run.
But, unfortunately for the Crushers, the Greys' Mark Micowski settled under the ball just in front of the warning track and Juan Sanchez would strike out next to end the ball game.
Now, most of the Crushers have a much needed four days off with the all star break. With a franchise-best six all stars, the Crushers will send Max Casper, Emanuel Quiles, Daniel Bowman, Matt Rein, Middendorf and Andrew Davis, who leads the league in home runs and will participate in the home run derby, to Washington, Penn., for Wednesday's all star game.
"Guys are going to be getting away from baseball for a couple days here, we're going to have a workout on Thursday and then travel to Gateway," Isom said. "It's a well-timed break for us; yeah, we're playing well now, pitching the ball very well, but we've got a few bumps and bruises right now, so these four days will be nice for guys to recoup and recharge their batteries here for the second half."
As Isom has said all year long, the plan for the second half of the season is to make plays on defense and control the game with pitching.
"I think that if we continue to pitch and play defense, like we've been doing, we're going to give ourselves a lot of opportunities to win ball games," Isom said. "If we continue to win, we're going to be right there at the top and be in the playoffs."