Crushers win 5-4 and advance to Frontier League Championship Series
AVON, OH- After over three hours of rain delay, the Lake Erie Crushers could not be denied a spot in the Frontier League Championship.
Three rain delays later, the Crushers came from behind to beat Traverse City 5-4 and advance to play Schaumburg on Saturday with the team's second league title in sight.
In a game that was the longest in All Pro Freight Stadium history, the Crushers scored three runs in the seventh to beat the Beach Bums. Supplied by clutch team hitting, Lake Erie strung together som big hits to grab the win at 1:11 a.m.
The big hit in the seventh was supplied by Russell Moldenhauer in the form of a two-out two-run double to give Lake Erie the 5-4 lead. From there, Jordan Wellander and Matt Rein shut down the Beach Bums to claim the win.
Things were rocky in this one, but not from the start.
Starter Dave Middendorf was put in a chess match against the Frontier League's winningest pitcher Scott Dunn who was an impressive 15-1 during the regular season.
Giving the Crushers 5.2 innings of solid work, Middendorf's day was cut short by a rocky sixth inning in which he gave up three runs. Manager Jeff Isom called on starter Rein to come in and provide relief in the must-win game.
Half of an inning later, the Crushers would slip into rain delay number one that lasted 27 minutes through rain and lightning.
Trailing 4-2 in the seventh, the rain made a fully-packed comeback, this time lasting 2 hours and 25 minutes.
When play resumed a half inning later, the Crushers took some big hits off Andrew Davis, the hero from game 4 with a late inning grand slam, and Anderson Hidalgo. Emmanuel Quiles also chipped in two huge RBI hits after missing time from a foot injury.
Even with the lead and late in the game, the Crushers and Beach Bums would still have to wait for a victor. A third rain delay was called that held the game off until 1 a.m.
Wellander finished off the save for the team as the team celebrated, but knows the tough task ahead.
Game time will be set later for game 1 in Schaumburg for the league championship series in a best-of-five form.