Crushers offense contained in 3-1 loss to River City
Lake Erie's offense was shut down Friday night in Avon as the Crushers (31-28) fell to River City 3-1 in another rightly contested match.
As things heat up for the second half of the year, the Crushers, who sit in fourth place in the east, fell behind a full two games behind Southern Illinois despite getting a solid outing from Alex Kaminsky on the mound.
In seven innings against the Rascals, Kaminsky gave up seven hits, but only allowed two earned runs to cross. Manager Jeff Isom said after the game that he has been pleased with what his starters and bullpen have been able to do.
"It was another well-pitched game, well-defended game, it's just a matter of we need to start getting those runs when we need to," Isom said. "Had a handful of opportunities, just need to cash in."
Andrew Davis was the only Crusher who produced a run in this one. Trailing 1-0 in the sixth, Davis made the Rascals'Andy Urban pay on an 0-2 pitch that scored Kevin Berard who had led off the inning with a double.
From there, the Crushers could not rally to score any more as Davis was the final out of the sixth being thrown out at home plate.
"In that situation, two outs, a base hit up the middle and we forced them to make a play and they made a great throw" Isom said. "The catcher ended making a nice place to block the plate and keep the run from us."
Lake Erie leaked in one more run that was earned to Connor Whalen in the ninth, but the run didn't matter as the Crushers went down in order in the bottom of the ninth.
While the Crushers have found success after the all star break by winning both series the team has played in since, the runs just aren't coming. Despite being 5-3 since the break, the Crushers have been outscored 16-to-23 with pitching doing most of the work for the team.
"There's a lot of pressure when you're not scoring runs," Isom said. "The pitching staff stepped up, three runs, I mean, that's great, we should be able to win those games. Kaminsky goes out and gives up two earned runs and kept it close throughout the rest of the game and he gave us opportunities and we've got capable guys hitting, we showed that early on in the season with the same group of guys who were leading the league for the first month, month and half of the season.
"We've got the guys it's just a matter of putting them into a rhythm because right now we're in a bit of a funk."
Saturday will be another big game for the team after the break with a chance at winning the team's third series in a row. Not only would a win Saturday be a moral booster, but with a Southern Illinois loss, the Crushers would be in prime position to move up a spot in the playoff hunt.
Isom said he is very optimistic about his club's chances of finding the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
"We won the first two series, tomorrow's game is big because we want to continue to win series throughout the rest of this second half," Isom said. "If continue to play the way we're playing, we'll be just find. Keep grinding out at bats, doing what we can, things will start falling in for us.
"We're just a little bit away, so it's just a matter of time until we get the hitting down."