Crushers shutout by Beach Bums 1-0
Kaminsky pitches well for Lake Erie as offense falters
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.
“We just have to solidify the pitching,” manager Jeff Isom said when asked how the Crushers, now 6-11, can get back to winning ball games. “We don’t want to give up runs first because the team that scores first wins the majority of the time. Until tonight, we’ve put ourselves in big holes because of the starting pitching.
“It was a heck of game and there were a lot of encouraging signs. We just want to build on that and get all the pitching solidified.”
Alex Kaminsky was charged with the loss, although his stat line was good enough to win on almost any other night. The Crushers starter pitched seven innings, giving up just one run on four hits. He walked four and struck out five as he fell to 1-2 on the season.
“He pitched a heck of a game. He did a great job for us. It was nice to see that he went out there, commanded his pitches, and when he did get in trouble he got out of it,” Isom said. “It was very encouraging.”
Unfortunately for the Crushers, he was matched up against the hottest pitcher in the Frontier League in Sabel, who earned the win and improved to 4-0 with a 0.30 ERA on the season. Traverse City improved to 10-7 with the victory.
Sabel came to Traverse City after spending two years in the Detroit Tigers’ organization. He was drafted in the 36thround of the 2011 draft out of Central Michigan. The product of Shelby Township, Michigan, has been a Michigan ballplayer his entire life.
“He kept the ball down and his fastball had a lot of run on it. We just couldn’t square any balls up. He’s a great pitcher in this league,” Isom said.
While credit has to be given to Sabel, the Crushers offense struggled for the second consecutive night. They have been outscored 13-5 in the series and all five of the team’s hits tonight came in separate innings.
“We ran into a good pitcher, we knew it was gonna be one or two runs to win this game. Unfortunately they got the one run,” Isom said.
Designated hitter Anderson Hidalgo, who had two hits, was the only Crusher to have a multi-hit game. He singled to keep the game alive in the bottom of the ninth and was pinch-run for by Guantlett Eldemire.
"He’s done good things for us [since coming off the suspended list],” Isom said. “He understands the strike zone, works for his pitch, and takes advantage of mistakes. He complements our lineup pretty well. We like what we’ve got with the middle of the lineup and he’s a key piece of that.”
Eldemire, coming off a tough week at the plate, was one of three regular starters to have the night off. Shortstop Juan Sanchez and catcher Emmanuel Quiles also were on the bench, although Quiles pinch-hit for left fielder Ricardo Lizcano with two outs in the ninth inning. He grounded out to second to end the game.
"I don’t like guys sitting too long,” Isom said. “We also want to give guys like Sanchez, who have played in every game, a break once in a while.”
Jordan Wellander came on in the eight inning to replace Kaminsky for the Crushers. He retired the side in order and struck out one batter. He is emerging as a reliever whom Isom can plug into the game for the late innings, as he has now pitched 12 innings on the year, accumulating an ERA of just 3.00
“He’s a back end of the bullpen type guy and he’s a guy we’ve gotten consistency out of. It’s been nice to see,” Isom said.
The Crushers will try to salvage the last game of the series against Traverse City on Thursday night. Matt Smith will be on the mound for his second start of the season. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.