Crushers take two against WildThings
Crushers win first game 4-2 before earning a dominant 11-4 win in second contest
Get the brooms out.
In less than 24 hours, the Crushers have completed three different sweeps. On Monday they finished a sweep of the Slammers, and then came home to assert their dominance over the WildThings.
The Crushers swept the double header, winning the second game in blowout fashion 11-4. The shortened, 7-inning affair was close up until the bottom of the sixth inning, when the Crushers took a one-run lead and stretched it to seven with a six spot.
“There were pretty good at bats in that [inning],” manager Jeff Isom said. “This team, once they sense a team down, they kind of jump right on it. It’s fun to watch these guys compete and grind out at bats.”
Sanchez ripped a single to center, driving in both runners and giving him 3 RBIs on the night. He has driven in nine runs in the past two days. Sanchez said it was the first time he’s had such a successful two days at the plate.
“No, no, it’s my first time,” Sanchez said. “I was struggling, but I just kept working and never gave up.”
The Crushers weren’t done. Casper walked, and Hertler was hit by a pitch to load the bases. All three runners moved up on a passed ball and the score grew to 7-4. Bowman walked, and Andrew Davis came to the plate.
Davis drove a pitch into the left field corner, clearing the bases and sending the game out of reach as the three-run doubled capped off the Crushers six run inning.
“That can happen for us at any point in the game,” Bowman said about the inning. “That was big, especially right there in a one run game. That can happen any inning for us. All it takes is a few guys to get on base.”
Dale Dickerson came on the pitch the seventh and set down the side one, two, three in a non-save situation.
The game was back and forth until that sixth-inning, offensive explosion. The WildThings grabbed the first lead of the game in the bottom of the first. Mark Samuelson singled to left to drive home CJ Beatty to make it 1-0. The WildThings wouldn’t see the lead again.
The Crushers answered with two in the second and three in the third. Davis led off the second inning with a solo home run, his 15th of the season. That home run ties his career high.
Later in the inning, Juan Sanchez drove in his first run of the day with a sac fly to center field.
The third inning featured a key two-out rally that would provide a comfortable cushion for starter Dave Middendorf, who didn’t have his best stuff.
After a double play, Bowman hit an infield single, and Davis was intentionally walked. Russ Moldenhauer blasted a three-run home run to right to open up a 5-1 lead.
The home run from the Crushers first baseman was big because the WildThings got to Middendorf again in the top of the fourth with two solo home runs to make it 5-3. Middendorf finished with a line of 5.1 innings, giving up four runs on eight hits. He did earn the victory to improve to 10-6 on the season.
The WildThings pulled to within one in the bottom of the sixth thanks to an RBI single from Jovan Rosa. Brandon Smith, pitching in relief of Middendorf, gave up the hit, but he pitched two-thirds of an inning without giving up a run.
With the two wins, the Crushers extended their win streak to a season high six games. They are now 45-31 on the season, just a game and a half behind Traverse City for the division lead.
“Guys come here and they expect to win,” Isom said. “They’re playing with a lot of confidence right now. There’s a lot of good things happening.”
The third sweep that was eluded to is a completion of the series scheduled to take place from July 31st to August 2nd. The Crushers won the first two games of the series before the third game was postponed.
The Crushers won the rescheduled first game 4-2 behind seven dominant innings from Matt Rein. He allowed just one run on four hits and earned the win in a game that had been suspended from August 7th.
“Rein was outstanding,” Isom said. “He saved the bullpen for us. He was under control and we saw him still executing pitches so we decided to let him continue there in the ninth inning.”
The game had been called due to rain on the 2nd, and play resumed in the top of the third inning with nobody out, a runner on first, and a 2-1 count on WildThings second baseman Shain Stoner. The runner on first reached on a walk from Adam Beach, who started the game on the second and pitched two innings.
Rein only needed two pitches to strikeout Stoner, firing two strikes past him for the first out in the inning. He had four strikeouts in the game.
The Crushers pushed the lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the third when newcomer Vincent Mejia was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in his first plate appearance as a Crusher. Daniel Bowman tacked on the final run with a solo home run that just snuck inside the left field foul pole.
The first two Crusher runs came in the second inning before the game was suspended. Wes Meadows, who is no longer with the team, hit an RBI single, and Craig Hertler drove in the second with a sac fly.
Samuelson hit a solo home run in the top of the 2nd to give the WildThings a 1-0 lead.
Notes: Wes Meadows was traded to Florence last Friday in exchange for pitcher Jason Wilson…Wilson started the final game of the Joliet series on Monday, but only lasted two innings…reliever Michael Jahns was placed on the 7-day disabled list…Infielder Vincent Mejia was signed on Tuesday to replace Meadows as a utility infielder/designated hitter…he appeared in game 1 of the double header as a replacement for Meadows, who was in the lineup as the DH when the game started on August 2nd.